J. Med. Internet Res. - Biological calibration for web-based hearing tests: evaluation of the methods.

Tópicos

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Resumo

CKGROUND: Online hearing tests conducted in home settings on a personal computer (PC) require prior calibration. Biological calibration consists of approximating the reference sound level via the hearing threshold of a person with normal hearing.OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to identify the error of the proposed methods of biological calibration, their duration, and the subjective difficulty in conducting these tests via PC.METHODS: Seven methods have been proposed for measuring the calibration coefficients. All measurements were performed in reference to the hearing threshold of a normal-hearing person. Three methods were proposed for determining the reference sound level on the basis of these calibration coefficients. Methods were compared for the estimated error, duration, and difficulty of the calibration. Web-based self-assessed measurements of the calibration coefficients were carried out in 3 series: (1) at a otolaryngology clinic, (2) at the participant's home, and (3) again at the clinic. Additionally, in series 1 and 3, pure-tone audiometry was conducted and series 3 was followed by an offline questionnaire concerning the difficulty of the calibration. Participants were recruited offline from coworkers of the Department and Clinic of Otolaryngology, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland.RESULTS: All 25 participants, aged 22-35 years (median 27) completed all tests and filled in the questionnaire. The smallest standard deviation of the calibration coefficient in the test-retest measurement was obtained at the level of 3.87 dB (95% CI 3.52-4.29) for the modulated signal presented in accordance with the rules of Bekesy's audiometry. The method is characterized by moderate duration time and a relatively simple procedure. The simplest and shortest method was the method of self-adjustment of the sound volume to the barely audible level. In the test-retest measurement, the deviation of this method equaled 4.97 dB (95% CI 4.53-5.51). Among methods determining the reference sound level, the levels determined independently for each frequency revealed the smallest error. The estimated standard deviations of the difference in the hearing threshold between the examination conducted on a biologically calibrated PC and pure-tone audiometry varied from 7.27 dB (95% CI 6.71-7.93) to 10.38 dB (95% CI 9.11-12.03), depending on the calibration method.CONCLUSIONS: In this study, an analysis of biological calibration was performed and the presented results included calibration error, calibration time, and calibration difficulty. These values determine potential applications of Web-based hearing tests conducted in home settings and are decisive factors when selecting the calibration method. If there are no substantial time limitations, it is advisable to use Bekesy method and determine the reference sound level independently at each frequency because this approach is characterized by the lowest error.

Resumo Limpo

ckground onlin hear test conduct home set person comput pc requir prior calibr biolog calibr consist approxim refer sound level via hear threshold person normal hearingobject object studi identifi error propos method biolog calibr durat subject difficulti conduct test via pcmethod seven method propos measur calibr coeffici measur perform refer hear threshold normalhear person three method propos determin refer sound level basi calibr coeffici method compar estim error durat difficulti calibr webbas selfassess measur calibr coeffici carri seri otolaryngolog clinic particip home clinic addit seri pureton audiometri conduct seri follow offlin questionnair concern difficulti calibr particip recruit offlin cowork depart clinic otolaryngolog wroclaw medic univers polandresult particip age year median complet test fill questionnair smallest standard deviat calibr coeffici testretest measur obtain level db ci modul signal present accord rule bekesi audiometri method character moder durat time relat simpl procedur simplest shortest method method selfadjust sound volum bare audibl level testretest measur deviat method equal db ci among method determin refer sound level level determin independ frequenc reveal smallest error estim standard deviat differ hear threshold examin conduct biolog calibr pc pureton audiometri vari db ci db ci depend calibr methodconclus studi analysi biolog calibr perform present result includ calibr error calibr time calibr difficulti valu determin potenti applic webbas hear test conduct home set decis factor select calibr method substanti time limit advis use bekesi method determin refer sound level independ frequenc approach character lowest error

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