Publicaciones científicas

Realistic Environment Audiometric Booth: Development and Clinical Validation

01-sep-2021 | Revista: Audiology & Neuro-Otology

Melisa Vigliano  1 , Alicia Huarte  2 , Diego Borro  3 , Unai Lasarte  2 , Manuel J Manrique Rodriguez  2

Background: Technological developments to treat hearing loss with different types of hearing aids and auditory implants have improved the auditory perception of patients, particularly in highly complex listening conditions.

These devices can be fitted and adapted to enhance speech perception. Audiological tests that assess hearing with and without auditory devices have traditionally taken place in sound-attenuated audiometric booths.

Although the insights gained from these tests are extremely useful, they do not accurately reflect everyday listening situations, and accurate information about the potential benefits of the hearing device in real acoustic scenarios cannot be established. Consequently, it is difficult to optimize this technology since fitting cannot be customized.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to validate an audiological testing method using a new development, the Realistic Environment Audiometric Booth (REAB), in clinical practice.

Materials: We used specifically designed software to perform audiological tests in an 8 m2 sound-attenuated booth. The REAB was designed to conduct audiological tests in standard testing conditions and in new hearing scenarios that simulate real-life situations since sound can be emitted simultaneously or alternately 360° around the patient, along with 3D images.

Methods: Prospective study in which subjects were tested randomly in the REAB and the conventional booth (CB) in free field.

Results: 150 subjects were recruited, mean age 56 ± 20.7 years. Auditory outcomes for pure-tone audiometry showed a high correlation; this was also the case for speech audiometries in quiet and in noise.

The outcome of the new scenarios with real-life noise was plotted, including the mean values and their confidence intervals. A decreasing trend was observed in the results obtained by the different groups, according to their hearing levels.

Conclusions: We have developed and validated a new audiological testing method that enables hearing ability to be assessed in listening conditions similar to those found in real life. The REAB complements the tests performed in CBs, thereby aiding the diagnostic process by reproducing acoustic and visual scenarios that conventional tests do not offer.

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO  Audiol Neurootol. 2021;26(5):317-326.  doi: 10.1159/000512759.  Epub 2021 Feb 25