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Development and Evaluation of a Portable Audiometer for High-Frequency Screening of Hearing Loss From Ototoxicity in Homes/Clinics

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8 Author(s)
Jacobs, P.G. ; Nat. Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Res., Portland VA Med. Center, Portland, OR, USA ; Silaski, G. ; Wilmington, D. ; Gordon, S.
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Cancer treatment often requires patients to be exposed to drugs that can damage hearing. Drugs such as cisplatin can cause permanent damage to hearing if not detected early. Damage typically occurs first in the more basal regions of the cochlea which are specific for high-frequency (HF) hearing and progresses to more apical regions that are relevant to speech understanding. Monitoring of HF hearing loss can be an effective means for early detection of ototoxicity caused by chemotherapy. Once ototoxicity is detected, the oncology medical team could adjust the drug dosage or switch to medications that are less ototoxic. Telehealth technology may improve access to ototoxicity monitoring. Patients could monitor their own hearing using a device that alerts healthcare professionals in the event of a change in hearing. A portable audiometer is currently not available that is 1) capable of automatic or manual (by an audiologist) operation; 2) designed with precision pure-tone functionality up to 20 kHz; and 3) able to remotely transfer health status information to a healthcare professional. This paper describes the design of a technology, the ototoxicity identification (OtoID), that includes a portable audiometer with HF test functionality that meets ANSI/ASA S3.6-2010 standards and is capable of reliably detecting a person's drug-related hearing changes relative to a baseline period (i.e., before ototoxic drugs) using an automated test. The system includes a wireless cellular modem capable of notifying a remote healthcare professional in the event that a significant change in hearing has occurred in the patient. The system was evaluated on test subjects within a sound-proof booth, a noisy hospital ward, and within their homes. Results indicate that the OtoID system can be used by patients to effectively monitor hearing changes remotely within their home or in a hospital ward, ultimately enabling early detection of ototoxicity and potentially avoiding hearing loss.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 11 )