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Simulation education for medical and health professional training bridges classroom learning and training in a clinical environment. Its use has been increasing over the past two decades. Guidance to avoid in-person contact due to SARS-CoV-2 has further increased demand. Pure-tone audiometry is part of an audiometric test battery used to evaluate the auditory system. At Case Western Reserve University, students typically learn to conduct audiometry in COSI 370: Introduction to Audiology. Under current pandemic circumstances, students are unable to gain in-person experience using standard hardware (an audiometer and calibrated headphones). AvatarAudiometer solves this problem via an interactive online tool that mimics a real audiometer and simulates patient responses. The system consists of a simulation of pure-tone audiometry and a tool for graphing results on a standard audiogram interface. AvatarAudiometer allows students to measure unmasked air- and bone-conduction thresholds for each ear at octave and interoctave frequencies, 250-8000 Hz. The virtual patients' responses to tones are based on their individual hearing level thresholds. Because real humans are inconsistent in their responding, AvatarAudiometer patients differ from one another in their frequency of false positive/negative responses, range of reaction times, and duration of holding down the virtual response button. Two sources of patient audiometric profiles are included: 1) curated audiograms simulating specific types, configurations, and severities of hearing loss, along with a description of each virtual patient's case history, and 2) a sample of 5470 audiograms representative of the United States' population by age and sex selected from the CDC's NHANES database. AvatarAudiometer includes a tutorial that demonstrates functions and settings of a standard audiometer. Students can complete numerous pure-tone audiometric exams and screen large cohorts of virtual patients to simulate a hearing-screening protocol. After testing is complete, an interface for plotting, editing, and downloading corresponding pure-tone audiometric results on an audiogram is shown. A professor may have students self-grade their audiograms by comparing the student-measured audiograms with those of the patient's "true" simulated pure-tone thresholds.

Symposium Date

Fall 12-1-2012


audiology, distance learning, simulation training


Engineering | Psychology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

AvatarAudiometer: An Online Simulation Platform for Pure-tone Audiometry