Detecting Hearing Loss with Sound Scouts
What is Sound Scouts?
Sound Scouts is the hearing check designed to make testing easy by incorporating the science of a hearing test into a fun mobile game. Sound Scouts is downloadable as an app to any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet through the App Store or Google Play. It checks for three different types of hearing issues:
1.Conductive hearing loss (middle ear issues)
2.Sensorineural hearing loss (inner ear issues)
3.Difficulties listening in noise (potentially caused by processing issues, attention or language issues including ESL
Developed in collaboration with the National Acoustic Laboratories and recommended by Hearing Australia, Sound Scouts generates a report as soon as the test is complete which includes guidance on next steps if a problem is detected.
How does Sound Scouts work?
Sound Scouts includes three separate tests that are combined to give an overall result.
The first test is a test of speech in quiet using two syllable words. Both the supervising adult and the child complete this activity.
The second test is a tone test which is largely language independent, helpful when testing children who are bilingual or multilingual.
The third test is a test of speech in noise. This test measures a player’s ability to hear speech when there is background noise present. People with permanent hearing loss and in some cases temporary hearing loss (caused by middle ear infection) are likely to perform poorly in this section of the test in addition to the other two tests within the game.
What else should I know before I get started?
How long does it take?
Sound Scouts takes approximately 6-8 minutes per player.
What equipment is required?
-1 x pair of Good Quality Adult Headphones
-1 x Apple or Android tablet or smartphone
Where should the test be taken?
Test in a quiet place free from distractions. It is recommended that an adult with known good hearing completes the speech in quiet test (after set-up) for any child or adult taking the test.
What age group can use Sound Scouts?
Sound Scouts is appropriate for children aged 4+ and all adults 18+.
Sound Scouts For Children:
Sound Scouts has been designed to test children’s hearing from 4+ years and is free for all Australian school children aged 4-17 years. Two Sound Scouts fail results for the same child (aged 4-17 years) is accepted as a referral by Hearing Australia when an indication of sensorineural hearing loss is received. Any responsible adult, ideally with good hearing, can set up and supervise testing. Read more about how to set up and play Sound Scouts for children here.
Sound Scouts For Adults:
Sound Scouts can be used to test an adult's hearing. For adults using the test to check their own hearing, the report provides useful recommendations for the next steps in the care pathway depending on the type of hearing loss detected. Read more about how to set up and play Sound Scouts for Adults here.
What are the benefits of Sound Scouts as a Hearing Test Solution?
- Accessible & immediate - Test & results delivered on tablet or mobile phone.
- Tests for the 3 main types of hearing issues - Provides clinically reliable results for conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and an indication of auditory processing disorder.
- Care pathway advice when a problem is detected.
Does Sound Scouts detect auditory processing disorder?
Auditory processing disorder is not a single thing, but rather an umbrella term that covers a range of deficits in the way a person processes sound. Consequently, there is no gold standard test for auditory processing disorder against which Sound Scouts can be compared. The most commonly reported and important consequence of an auditory processing disorder is excessively reduced speech understanding in challenging listening situations (like some classrooms). Because of the importance of this symptom, Sound Scouts includes a test of speech understanding in noise.
One of the best understood, and most diagnosable types of auditory processing disorders is spatial processing disorder. This condition refers to an inability to focus on sounds coming from one direction while suppressing sounds coming from other directions. It is mostly caused by the child having prolonged or repeated middle ear infections during the first year of life. It is one of the auditory processing deficits that can be completely remediated, by giving the brain practice at focussing on spatially separated sounds. The training tool for this is called Sound Storm.