Original Research

Clinical utility of smartphone-based audiometry for early hearing loss detection in HIV-positive children: A feasibility study

Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Andrew J. Ross
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 13, No 1 | a3077 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v13i1.3077 | © 2021 Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Andrew Ross | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 June 2021 | Published: 30 September 2021

About the author(s)

Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, Department of Rehabilitative Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Andrew J. Ross, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Paediatric human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) often manifests with hearing loss (HL). Given the impact of HL, early detection is critical to prevent its associated effects. Yet, the majority of children living with HIV/AIDS (CLWHA) cannot access hearing healthcare services because of the scarcity of audiologists and expensive costs of purchasing screening equipment. Alternative solutions for early detection of HL are therefore necessary.

Aim: The overall aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of using self-administered smartphone-based audiometry for early HL detection amongst CLWHA.

Setting: This study was conducted at the paediatrics department of a state hospital in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa.

Methods: This was a feasibility study conducted amongst twenty-seven (27) CLWHA who were in the age group of 6–12 years. The participants self-administered hearing screening tests using a smartphone-based audiometric test. The primary end-points of this study were to determine the sensitivity, specificity and test-retest reliability of self-administered hearing screening.

Results: The sensitivity and specificity for self-administered screening were 82% and 94%, respectively, with positive and negative predictive values of 90% and 88%, respectively. Moreover, a strong positive test-retest reliability (r = 0.97) was obtained when participants self-administered the screening test.

Conclusion: Six- to 12-year-old CLWHA were able to accurately self-administer hearing screening tests using smartphone-based audiometry. These findings show that self-administered smartphone audiometry can be used for serial hearing monitoring in at-risk paediatric patients.


paediatric HIV; hearing loss; early detection; self-administered; mHealth


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Crossref Citations

1. Availability of resources for paediatric hearing care in a South African province
Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Khomotjo Kgare, Ashley Flynn, Sinelihle Kotelana, Siphesihle Mfeketo, Sinovuyo Njiva
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine  vol: 16  issue: 1  year: 2024  
doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v16i1.3952