Clinicians can register for access to the Sound Scouts Clinical Portal. The Clinical Portal provides details of each patient’s test results. Clinicians can view the three components of the test - speech-in-quiet, speech-in-noise and tone-in-noise - along with other key test information. Contact the Sound Scouts team to register!
Sound Scouts at your health centre
Sound Scouts Chief Scientist Professor Harvey Dillon explains how the game works:
“The Sound Scouts hearing game looks and feels like a game when it is played by a five-year old (or older) child on a tablet. However, it incorporates several advanced scientific principles that enable it to detect a range of hearing problems. These problems include conductive hearing loss arising from infections or other disorders in the middle ear, sensorineural hearing loss, auditory neuropathy and central auditory processing disorder (of which there are several varieties).
The game comprises three interleaved tests of hearing; two based on perceiving speech - one in noise and one in quiet - and one based on perceiving tones against a noise background. Each of these constantly adapts so that the child is always listening at the edge of his or hearing capability. Algorithms within the game check that the child is responding reliably, as well as measuring the child’s actual ability. The results from the three tests are combined to automatically display a test result as soon as the game is completed.”
Applications of Sound Scouts
Although the principal use of Sound Scouts is to detect previously undiagnosed hearing problems in school aged children, the test has other potential applications.
Following detection of significant conductive loss, there is a need to determine whether treatment (antibiotics or ear ventilation tubes) or watchful waiting have resulted in correction of the hearing loss. This is usually achieved by an audiologist assessing hearing by tympanometry or hearing thresholds, or by a medical practitioner otoscopically examining the eardrums. Both of these involve significant expense to the health system and/or to parents. Sound Scouts provides a more convenient method by which hearing status after treatment can be monitored.
Auditory processing disorder
It is known that protracted otitis media in early childhood strongly pre-disposes children to acquire spatial processing disorder (Cameron et al., 2014; Tomlin & Rance, 2014). Sound Scouts has been specifically designed to be sensitive to this condition, so its use after treatment for otitis media will likely also detect those children for whom otitis media has resulted in spatial processing disorder, for which separate remediation is needed, is already available, and is highly effective (Cameron et al., 2012). The test can be used for this purpose for any children over 5 years of age, which is considerably lower than is achievable by any other tests of auditory processing ability.
Use by hearing professionals
Test of auditory processing disorder
There are no existing tests for auditory processing disorder (APD) that are usable for children below 6 years of age, and all but one test requires the child to be at least 7 years of age. Some clinicians will not test children below 8 years of age. Sound Scouts has been designed to be usable down to 4 years, and normative data exists down to 4.2 years. Consequently, Sound Scouts potentially provides a means for professionals to detect APDs in an age range for which no other test exists. Further research is required to evaluate the sensitivity of Sound Scouts for this purpose. However, the realistic nature of the Sound Scouts speech-in-noise task makes it very likely that any abnormalities Sound Scouts detects have functional significance for the child, and so can be compared against child-, parent- and teacher-report measures.
What do our users think?
Teachers, parents and healthcare professionals have seen the benefits of Sound Scouts firsthand.
It is fantastic to have access to something like Sound Scouts that is evidence-based and doesn’t require teachers to travel long distances.
Regional in Teacher Victoria
Even when I knew that Summer had speech problems, I didn’t really think it would affect her too much at school. However, seeing the hearing test results on the screen for myself after she had played Sound Scouts, it brought home the importance of the situation, and made it easier for me to accept that Summer would need a hearing aid to help her hear in the classroom.
Parent of Summer, 9 years old
Sound Scouts HQ
Tel:+61 2 9460 6768
Crows Nest NSW 2065