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Low-Cost iPhone Hearing Test for Newborns

A new test uses cheap earbuds and a smartphone app to detect hearing loss in newborns.

Newborn Hearing Test Result
University of Washington

Because newborn babies are non communicative, it’s difficult to diagnose issues with hearing. According to a recent Medgadget article, researchers at the University of Washington developed an accessible new hearing test for newborns that uses a smartphone and cheap earbuds. The earbuds are connected to a small microphone that can listen to the vibrations of hair cells. The sounds are relayed to a smartphone app for analysis and instructs the user to visit a specialist in the case of abnormal results.

“As you can imagine, these sounds that are coming out from the ear are very soft, and sometimes it’s hard to hear them over noise in the environment or if the patient is moving their head,” said  Justin Chan, a scientist who worked on the study. “We designed algorithms on the phone that help us detect the signal even with all that background noise. These algorithms can run in real time on any smartphone and do not require the latest smartphone models.”

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