Tablet-based Hearing Screening in Children Aged 5 to 17 in Rural Dominican Republic

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The principal aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of hearing screening using tablet audiometry among a cohort of school-aged children in rural Dominican Republic. The authors hypothesized that the tablet audiometer would serve as an expeditious means for hearing loss screening in various remote locations.

Study Design:



Twenty-three remote locations in and around the city of La Romana, Dominican Republic. The quietest location available in each site was used for testing.


Inclusion criteria comprised children aged 5 to 17 currently residing in the testing location. Children aged <5 years or >18 years were excluded.



Main Outcome Measures:

For each subject, air conduction thresholds were obtained bilaterally at 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz; testing duration was also measured. Hearing loss was suspected if any threshold measured ≥30 dB.


In this cohort of 423 subjects, 44 (10.4%) failed the screening protocol. The mean thresholds for 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz frequencies were 26.05, 22.73, 17.57, and 17.15 dB, respectively. Of the 658 thresholds obtained at ≥30 dB, the majority were at 500 or 1000 Hz. The mean testing duration was 494 seconds.


These results suggest that children living in remote communities can be screened quickly for hearing loss using a tablet audiometer. However, significant background noise during testing negatively impacted the low-frequency measurements, thus compromising test reliability. Despite extending the reach of existing audiological services, the value of tablet audiometry is not entirely clear in rural environments with uncontrollable background noise.

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