NIU Professor and Audiology Program Coordinator King Chung will present her research at the World Congress of Audiology, Cape Town, South Africa this October. She will present “Cognitive Functions of Older Adults and their Ability to Complete Different Automatic Hearing Screening Applications.”
Here is the abstract, written by Chung, Au.D students Jennifer Hwang, Lynn O’Boyle, Sarah Morgan, and NIU Clinical Assistant Audiology Professor Diane ScheckLong.
Introduction: It is essential to provide hearing screening services to older adults because hearing health affects mental health, quality of life, and a person’s ability to communicate with others. This study examined whether the cognitive functions of older adults affected their ability to complete automatic hearing screening tests. Methods: An iPad-based hearing screening application (iPad Audiometry) was created based on the three-alternative forced choice paradigm. The cognitive functions of 48 older adults aged 73-100 years old were tested using the Mini-Mental State Evaluation (MMSE). Their hearing thresholds were tested using a) Standard Audiometry; and b) iPad Audiometry, which were designed to have two identical objects flashed three times in series but only one was accompanied by three pulsed tones. The participants were instructed to tap the object that made sound or the “No Sound” button. All participants completed a practice session prior to testing. Those who could not complete the iPad task were subsequently administered an Automatic Standard Audiometry test in which they pressed a button whenever they heard a tone. Results: Most older adults (83.8%) could perform the iPad Audiometry tasks and their hearing thresholds were within +/-10 dB of Standard Audiometry. Participants with old age and MMSE scores of ≤26 often reported being confused with the iPad task but could complete the Automatic Standard Audiometry. Conclusions: Automatic hearing screening applications can be an efficient mass screening tool for older adults. It is, however, important to consider individual cognitive abilities to ensure the validity of the test results.