Children’s Mercy Develops New App to Improve Pediatric Hearing Testing
Children’s Mercy Kansas City has recently released an innovative app called HearPlay™. The app is a suite of games designed to make hearing testing in children more fun and engaging. HearPlay is used under the supervision of professional audiologists and supports conditioned play audiometry (CPA) for measuring speech reception thresholds and pure tone thresholds, with children, on average, from 2 1/2 to 5 years of age and those with developmental delays.
The app was created by Sherry Ralston, AuD, a Pediatric Audiologist with Children’s Mercy Kansas City, who has been diagnosing and treating hearing loss for over 30 years.
Dr. Ralston recognized the shortcomings of the more traditional physical tools in the audiologist’s “toolbox,” including printed drawings and plastic objects, such as cookies, which have been used for audiologic testing for decades.
She also recognized the potential of mobile apps in addressing the shortcomings of these more traditional tools, collaborating with the Children's Mercy Center for Pediatric Innovation and app developers to build HearPlay™.
HearPlay features and benefits
- HearPlay can be used by one or two audiologists with a single patient, with two iPads, one used by an audiologist and one used by the patient.
- In some situations, HearPlay may remove the need for a second audiologist.
- iPads communicate with each other via peer-to-peer connection (Bluetooth). This means Wi-Fi or internet connectivity is not required, allowing the app to work in settings where Wi-Fi alone may not, such as sound booths.
- iPads are paired with one another through a quick and simple process at the first of each test session.
- The audiologist controls the presentation of sounds (via an audiometer) and the delivery of rewards for correct responses. HearPlay is not an automated testing tool.
- HearPlay works seamlessly with existing audiometric tools and methods, without any integration or additional costs.
- The audiologist’s iPad displays a view of the patient’s iPad, and audio feedback, effectively providing an “eyes-free” user interface.
- HearPlay may provide better testing engagement than more traditional tools, for children ages 2 ½ to 5 years old or for developmentally delayed patients.
- HearPlay was designed by an audiologist and has been tested in clinical settings with pediatric audiologists and children.
HearPlay is now available for purchase for only $99.99 per account on the Apple App store. Click here for more information about HearPlay.