The development of hearing diagnosis methods and hearing screeningmethods are not isolated phenomena: they are intimately relatedto changes in the cultural background and to advances in fields of medicineand engineering. In the recent years, there has been a rapid evolutionin the development of fast, easy and reliable techniques for lowcosthearing screening initiatives. Since adults and elderly people typicallyexperience a reduced hearing ability in challenging listening situations[e.g., in background noise, in reverberation, or with competingspeech (Pichora‑Fuller & Souza, 2003)], these newly developedscreening tests mainly rely on the recognition of speech stimuli innoise, so that the real experienced listening difficulties can be effectivelytargeted (Killion & Niquette, 2000). New tests based on therecognition of speech in noise are being developed on portable, battery-operated devices (see, for example, Paglialonga et al., 2011), ordistributed diffusely using information and communication technologies.The evolutions of e-Health and telemedicine have shifted focusfrom patients coming to the hearing clinic for hearing health evaluationtowards the possibility of evaluating the hearing status remotelyat home. So far, two ways of distributing the hearing test have primarilybeen used: ordinary telephone networks (excluding mobile networks)and the internet. When using the telephone network for hearingscreening, the predominantly test is a speech-in-noise test oftenreferred to as the digit triplet test where the subjects hearing status isevaluated as the speech-to-noise threshold for spoken digits. This testis today available in some ten countries in Europe, North America andAustralia. The use of internet as testing platform allows several differenttypes of hearing assessment tests such as questionnaires, differenttypes of speech in noise tests, temporal gap detection, sound localization(minimum audible angle), and spectral (un)masking tests.Also, the use of the internet allows audiovisual presentations as wellas visual interaction and cues in the tests for a more ecologicalapproach. Even if several new and novel approaches for hearingassessment using the internet are surfacing, the validated tests arebased on questionnaires or speech-in-noise. Although the internetallows for a broader flora of pure auditory and audiovisual tests forhearing health assessment, calibration problems such as timinguncertainty, output levels and modes of presentation (speakers or earphones)limits the usability at present.
PAGEPress , 2011. Vol. 1, 55-57 p.