Hearing loss can be caused by ageing, environmental noise exposure, genetic disorders, andinfectious diseases. It is a disabling condition that becomes more prevalent as the populationbecomes older (Cruickshanks et al., 1998). In 2013, The World Health Organization estimatedthat 360 million people worldwide have a disabling hearing loss (WHO, 2013), and in 2021,the estimate was 466 million people (WHO, 2021). User-operated audiometry allows for partsof the diagnostic efforts in hearing healthcare to be performed by patients/users (participants)themselves without spending personnel resources for achieving equal results as manual testswhich must be operated by trained professionals. User-operated audiometry still facesbarriers to entry in the medical field despite years of research. The UAud project seeks toovercome or dispel these barriers, by researching the concerns of patients and professionalsand improving upon a user-operated audiometry based on these. The UAud project will alsoestablish the medical efficacy of hearing aid treatment based on user-operated audiometrythrough a randomized controlled trial. Shortly after the beginning of the UAud project theCorona pandemic happened, further helping with moving opinions in a favourable directionfor implementation of user-operated audiometry.
This thesis firstly investigates the field of user-operated audiometry through a systematic mapping study. The mapping study showed that the field of user-operated audiometry has
seen a stark increase in research with varied topic areas this last decade. The thesis contributes new research to resolve still existing concerns from clinics with regards to validity due to
aspects of the nature of user-operated tests. To enable this kind of research, technologies like REDCap and Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) were explored. The architecture for our implementation to connect with the REDCap API is also detailed in the thesis. Finally, the thesis details the development and results from the first study on a new testing methodology, which is suspected to be significantly different from the two historically dominating test methodologies in user-operated pure-tone audiometry. The new test methodology was well liked by the participants, and found significantly lower thresholds for the lower-to-middle test frequencies and equal thresholds for middle-to-higher test frequencies in the sample.
- User-operated audiometry
- Automated Audiometry