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It is estimated that hearing loss affects one in five people in the world. One of the realities of people struggling with hearing loss is that those living in low and middle income countries don’t have access to hearing healthcare. Within the developing world the equipment is expensive and resources, such as trained audiologists and otolaryngologists are scarce, making it nearly impossible to provide affordable care to those that are in need of it.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Laryngology and Otology, the authors summarised information on currently available hearing screening platforms and provided reviews of the scope and capabilities of these portable hearing screening platforms. hearX Group’s products, hearTest™, hearScreen®, hearScope™ and mHealth Studio were part of this article.

Similar to the other products that were included in the review, hearX’s solutions are HIPPA compliant. The hearX solutions are portable and come in a convenient carry case, are easy-to-use and offer central data access and storage, like the products it was compared against. The solutions, hearTest™ and hearScreen®, also consist of a hardware component with an electrical outlet for battery charging and uses the standard routine testing technique to ensure reliability, similarly to the products it was compared against.

hearTest™ and hearScreen®, compared favorably against the other products due to having the longest battery life which can sustain up to 2 days with moderate usage, hearX offers the cheapest annual calibration of headphones and no disposable ear inserts are required. The hearScope™ smartphone video-otoscope can also be added additionally to make ear examinations possible as part of the portable audiometer.

It should be noted that the incorrect reference was made in the review regarding the inability to limit false positive referrals in high ambient noise settings. The hearTest™ solution has automated quality measurements which are captured throughout the automated test method. These include a false positive count tracker, the monitoring of noise concerns at tested frequencies, as well as the recording of the response times and logging any deviations from the standard response times for each test subject. The pre-tone waiting period is also randomized which ensures a high test reliability is achieved. It should be noted that the hearX solutions are currently only available on Android and not on iOS as mentioned in the paper.

The ongoing need to screen adults and children for hearing loss in low- and middle-income countries continues to be a challenge. To meet those demands, affordable, sustainable and portable technologies need to flourish, and luckily the platforms currently available provide many opportunities for reaching patients in these countries.

For the full paper, click here.