A Smartphone National Hearing Test: Performance and Characteristics of Users

Karina C. de Sousa, De Wet Swanepoel, David R. Moore, Cas Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The smartphone digits-in-noise hearing test, called hearZA, was made available as a self-test in South Africa in March 2016. This study determined characteristics and test performance of the listeners who took the test. Method: A retrospective analysis of 24,072 persons who completed a test between March 2016 and August 2017 was conducted. User characteristics, including age, English-speaking competence, and self-reported hearing difficulty, were analyzed. Regression analyses were conducted to determine predictors of the speech reception threshold. Results: Overall referral rate of the hearZA test was 22.4%, and 37% of these reported a known hearing difficulty. Age distributions showed that 33.2% of listeners were ages 30 years and younger, 40.5% were between ages 31 and 50 years, and 26.4% were older than 50 years. Age, self-reported English-speaking competence, and self-reported hearing difficulty were significant predictors of the speech reception threshold. Conclusions: High test uptake, particularly among younger users, and high overall referral rate indicates that the hearZA app addresses a public health need. The test also reaches target audiences, including those with self-reported hearing difficulty and those with normal hearing who should monitor their hearing ability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-454
JournalAmerican Journal of Audiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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