J Am Acad Audiol 2013; 24(10): 992-1000
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.24.10.10
American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved. (2013) American Academy of Audiology

Diagnostic Pure-Tone Audiometry in Schools: Mobile Testing without a Sound-Treated Environment

De Wet Swanepoel
Felicity Maclennan-Smith
James W. Hall
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
06 August 2020 (online)

Purpose: To validate diagnostic pure-tone audiometry in schools without a sound-treated environment using an audiometer that incorporates insert earphones covered by circumaural earcups and real-time environmental noise monitoring.

Research Design: A within-subject repeated measures design was employed to compare air (250 to 8000 Hz) and bone (250 to 4000 Hz) conduction pure-tone thresholds measured in natural school environments with thresholds measured in a sound-treated booth.

Study Sample: 149 children (54% female) with an average age of 6.9 yr (SD = 0.6; range = 5–8).

Results: Average difference between the booth and natural environment thresholds was 0.0 dB (SD = 3.6) for air conduction and 0.1 dB (SD = 3.1) for bone conduction. Average absolute difference between the booth and natural environment was 2.1 dB (SD = 2.9) for air conduction and 1.6 dB (SD = 2.7) for bone conduction. Almost all air- (96%) and bone-conduction (97%) threshold comparisons between the natural and booth test environments were within 0 to 5 dB. No statistically significant differences between thresholds recorded in the natural and booth environments for air- and bone-conduction audiometry were found (p > 0.01).

Conclusions: Diagnostic air- and bone-conduction audiometry in schools, without a sound-treated room, is possible with sufficient earphone attenuation and real-time monitoring of environmental noise. Audiological diagnosis on-site for school screening may address concerns of false-positive referrals and poor follow-up compliance and allow for direct referral to audiological and/or medical intervention.