Objectives: The aim of this study was to validate a novel iPad-based rapid hearing loss screening tool (SHOEBOX QuickTest) in individuals with cognitive impairment.
Design: Cross-sectional validation study.
Setting: Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.
Subjects and Methods: Twenty-five individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild dementia from the Bruyère Memory Program were included in this study. The study consisted of two components: (1) SHOEBOX QuickTest hearing screener and (2) a conventional hearing test (pure tone audiometry).
Measurements: Hearing was assessed at 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz separately for each ear. The agreement between hearing ability groupings (good vs. reduced) from conventional hearing test and SHOEBOX QuickTest was determined. Specifically, accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, as well as alignment between conventional thresholds and hearing threshold ranges.
Results: An overall accuracy of 84% was observed for SHOEBOX QuickTest, and a sensitivity and specificity of 100 and 66.7%, respectively. 72% ([95% CI], 60.0–84.1%) of conventional audiometry thresholds were within the pre-established 10 dB SHOEBOX QuickTest.
Conclusion: SHOEBOX QuickTest is a valid hearing loss screening tool for individuals with cognitive impairment. Implementing this iPad-based screening tool in memory clinics could not only aid in the timely diagnosis of hearing loss, but also assist physicians in providing a better assessment of cognitive impairment by ruling out hearing loss as a confounding variable.
Investigator, CHEO Research Institute