29 Hearing Test Apps Rated

March 19, 2015 Dave Weber No Comments

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Hearing Test Apps Rated

 

Many employers who have noisy work areas spend thousands of dollars each year on audiometric testing of their employees’ hearing.  Some other employers with noisy work areas would like to test their employees’ hearing, but are unable to do so because they either can’t afford it or there are no audiologists in their local area.  For the latter employers, is there any other option that might help them?

As we already know, there are many apps currently available that will turn your iPad/iPhone into a sound level meter.  But did you know that there are also dozens of apps that will turn your iPad/iPhone/iPod-Touch into a hearing testing machine?

Hearing test apps range in price from free to $799.00 (see below graphic)!  But which of these hearing testing apps are the best value?  Are any of the more inexpensive ones fairly accurate?  To answer these questions, I reviewed and tested 29 affordable hearing test apps.

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For all of my tests I used an iPad 4 and new “Ergofit” insert type earphones by Panasonic .  

In the real world, it would be unsanitary to allow employees to share the same earbud insert headphones.  Of course earbud headphones could be sanitized between tests, but a better alternative might be to give each employee their own set of earbud headphones.  These earbuds are inexpensive ($10) and could be used for future tests on that employee.  

To make sure the ambient sound in the test room was acceptable, all testing was done in a quiet room with less than a 60 dBA noise level (peak).

I only evaluated inexpensive (affordable) hearing test apps.  The most expensive app tested cost only $38.99.  

I compared the hearing levels measured by each app to a recent, $200 audiometric evaluation (see image below) that was performed by an audiologist (AuD, Fellow in the American Academy of Audiology).  

Hearing Test

 

Summary Of Our Findings

A. Outstanding Hearing Test Apps

The following apps were found to have nearly identical results to my $200 professional audiogram.  I definitely will be using these apps in the future for my hearing testing.

  • Hearing Test & Ear Age Test by Yuichi Sakasnita (free tone audiometry hearing test) ♥♥♥♥
  • AudCal HD ($2.99 tone audiometry hearing test) ♥♥♥♥

B. Pretty Good Hearing Test Apps

The following apps had results that were pretty good.  While there are better apps out there (see above), the below listed apps did provide results that were roughly “in the ballpark”.

 

C. Unacceptable Hearing Test Apps

For a variety of reasons, I found that the following apps were either not suitable for serious hearing testing or required off-app registration:

  • Audiogram Mobile ($38.99 – far too complex for non-hearing care professionals to use)
  • Siemens Hearing Test  ♥♥
  • MFA Hearing
  • Absolute Ear
  • Hearing Check
  • Hearing Test (by Cateater)
  • Age Test (by Cateater)
  • Hearing Test (by Hurryforward Ltd)
  • Hearing Test (by University of California)
  • Hearing Handicap Calculator
  • Ear Werx Free Edition
  • Ear Werx Pro Edition
  • Eq  Hear Aid
  • Hearing Test Pro
  • Hearing Exam (by Park Hyunmin)
  • Shoe Box Audiometry
  • Shoe Box Pro
  • Spacial Release
  • iAudiogram (by Ken ITO)
  • Petralex Hearing Aid
  • NIHL Calculator
  • Hearing Exam (by Park Hyunmin)
  • iA-Lite (by MelMedtronics)
  • iA-CS Lite (by MelMedtronics)
  • Hearing Check (by Bxtel)

 

The Two Best Apps Reviewed

 1. Hearing Test & Ear Age Test by Yuichi Sakasnita 

This free app is currently available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod-Touch.  Its’  iTunes’ description says –

“Hearing test at home!   This is a simple hearing test app.  This app can test frequency of 125hz to 8000hz and plot the result on charts.  You can save the results and compare them to find daily change of your hearing.”  

The Hearing Test & Ear Age Test app is very easy to use.   I set my iPads’ volume to its’ maximum.  It’s test consists of three beeps at each of seven frequencies.   The test is fully automatic and takes only about 5-minutes to complete.

The test is similar to a clinical audiogram, but unlike an audiogram, this app does not test at either 3,000 or 6,000 hertz.   

The results are plotted on a graph that looks very similar to a professional audiogram.  All test results are archived within the app itself.  While you can not email the results of a hearing test, you can do a “screen save” (by holding down two iPad buttons) and forward the saved photo to your email address.  

The results from hearing tests performed by the Hearing Test & Ear Age app (illustrated below) were very similar to the results from my professional $200 audiometric test (see above graph)!

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2. AudCal HD by Jorge Alberto Rey Martinez 

This $2.99 app is currently only available for iPad.  Its’ iTunes’ description says –

“AudCal HD is a complete application for graphical represent of audiometric tests and audiometric calculations, designed for physicians and audiologists.  AudCal HD results has been published from a multi-center clinical trial ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26144548 ).  You can use AudCal HD with the data obtained from a pure tone audiometry or use a simulated audiometric test performed with your iPad.  A pure tone synthesizer is built-in with AudCal HD.  NEVER use the simulated audiometric test for diagnostic purposes.   Export your results and share with other devices, such as computers, printers.”

The AudCal HD app is difficult to learn and offers only the most basic instructions.  It took me an hour of experimentation to roughly determine how to use it.  If I were to use it extensively in the future I would either review this app with a consulting audiologist, or contact its’ developer (Alberto Rey Martinez) and ask for additional instructions.

One setup tip – be sure to set your iPads’ volume so that the “circle” is in the center of the horizontal “volume line” in the app.  

This is a completely manual test that is very slow.  It takes about 15-minutes to complete just one test.  

My test results are plotted on the below graph.  Test results can be saved as a photo on your mobile device – this photo can then email to yourself.   The results (below) are similar to my professional $200 audiometric test results (see above graph)!  

Overall, I was impressed with the precision and repeatability of the results obtained by the AudCal HD app.  This makes this apps’ long learning curve and lengthy test time more palatable.

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Conclusions & Recommendations

Please remember that I tested all of these hearing test apps with an iPad 4 and Ergofit earbuds.  If you use any other mobile device and/or headset, your results may be different.

These apps should only be used for a hearing screening purposes, they are not intended to replace a hearing test by an audiologist or other licensed hearing care professional.  

None of the hearing testing apps we reviewed either meet the ANSI audiology-related standards or allow for “pre” or “post” test calibration.   None of these 29 hearing test apps should be used to either meet OSHA’s audiometric testing requirements or for legal, medical or compliance purposes.

The above app reviews were based on informal and unscientific evaluations of  these hearing test apps.  I’d like to see a university, an audiologist association, or a government agency with the proper lab and testing facilities conduct thorough/rigorous/scientific testing on all iOS and Android hearing test apps.  

If you liked this app review,  check out my hundreds of other occupational safety and health app reviews here!

 

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