Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. For the elderly, it can lead to social isolation and frustration with trying to communicate. For children, it can cause a serious barrier to learning, especially in a classroom setting. As a result, it is important that people be tested to make sure that they can hear clearly. The problem is that audiometry equipment is expensive, bulky, and difficult to operate.
Clearwater Clinical has developed SHOEBOX Audiometry: an application that runs on an iPad. When paired with recommended headsets, the system performs clinically-proven hearing tests that have received FDA clearance. The result is a system that “fits in a shoebox,” is relatively inexpensive, and easy to take to patients in settings from schools to care facilities. It’s so easy to use that it can be set up in a kiosk mode that lets patients test themselves. The data is stored in a HIPAA-compliant database in the Cloud, which includes a patient portal to access the results.
In partnership with the University of Ottawa Medical School, the company has created an iHear program that uses medical students to go to elementary schools to test children for free. Initially limited to the Ottawa area, the program has been expanded to Montreal, Halifax, and Saskatoon. The program has identified students with significant hearing loss that might otherwise have gone undetected. Eventually, the company hopes to take the program nationwide throughout Canada.
SHOEBOX is a perfect example of how advancing technology provides off-the-shelf platforms that are capable of clinical-quality measurements. The result is lower-cost access to diagnosis which can lead to treatments that will save money and improve the quality of life for patients.