Objective: To validate a smartphone-based Rinne test employing the vibration application of mobile telephones. Study design: Prospective controlled clinical study. Setting: Tertiary referral medical center. Methods: Twenty consecutive patients hospitalized in the otolaryngology department of a tertiary medical center due to unilateral hearing loss (HL study group), and 30 consecutive inpatients on the same ward who had no otological history (controls) were enrolled. Each participant underwent the traditional 512 Hz tuning fork-based Rinne test, as well as a smartphone-based Rinne test by means of a single uncovered smartphone with a vibration application. The test results were compared to those of formal audiometry. Results: The overall agreement between the traditional Rinne test and the smartphone-based test was 98%. The Sensitivity was 85% for both tests, specificity was 90% and 93% for smartphone and tuning fork tests, respectively. The smartphone-based Rinne test could correctly discriminate between patients with an air–bone gap ≥ 25 dB at 512 Hz from patients with a lower or no air–bone gap at 512 Hz. The smartphone-based Rinne could not evaluate two patients with a moderately severe/severe sensorineural hearing loss due to their inability to detect the vibrations. Conclusion: A smartphone-based Rinne test was validated for the detection of an air–bone gap ≥ 25 dB at 512 Hz in the clinical setting. The validity of patient-operated smartphone-based Rinne test awaits further study. Level of evidence: 2B.
- Conductive hearing loss
- Hearing loss
- Rinne test
- Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
- Tuning fork