Invitation to participate in a research study

If you have been diagnosed with a suspected vestibular schwannoma or acoustic neuroma you are invited to partake in a research study.

Digits-in-Noise Test for patients with vestibular schwannoma

A vestibular schwannoma

If you have not undergone surgery or radiotherapy yet, or is being followed up, this quick and non-painful hearing test may help researchers of the University of Pretoria in validating the Digits-in-Noise Test (DIN) for smartphones. This test aims to look at hearing loss originating from the hearing nerve (retrocochlear hearing loss) as is typically seen in patients with vestibular schwannoma or acoustic neuroma.

What is a digits-in-noise test?

The DIN test measures one’s ability to accurately hear speech (spoken digits 0-9) in the presence of background noise. Speech-in-noise tests are an important asset to the diagnostic audiometric test battery as tone-based hearing tests at different frequencies are not able to determine or mimic the everyday challenge of listening to speech-in-noise.

The purpose of the study

The purpose of the study is to determine the sensitivity and specificity of a smart phone-based digits-in-noise test to detect retrocochlear pathology, such as acoustic neuroma’s or vestibular schwannoma. Results of this study may help to increase the effectiveness of this smartphone test in hearing loss detection, surveillance and intervention. Hearing loss, specifically unilateral hearing loss is one of the most common presenting symptoms in patients with vestibular schwannoma. Other retrocochlear pathology that may present with hearing loss includes vestibular paroxysmia (vascular loop syndrome) and meningioma.

What will I need to do?

The DIN hearing test is a short, easy-to-use smartphone-based hearing test. You will be required to wear headphones, connected to a smartphone. You will hear a voice reading a sequence of three numbers in the presence of background noise and will be required to type the three numbers that you hear in on the application on the smartphone. The background noise will get louder as the test continues. Prior to completing this test, the audiologist will conduct a conventional pure-tone audiometric hearing test with you, in which you will be seated in a soundproof booth and be required to respond to tones at different frequencies while wearing headphones.

Are there any risks or benefits for me if I participate in this study?

Participants will not be exposed to any risk or experience any discomfort during this test. There are no direct benefits of participating in this study and no reimbursements will be given to participants. However, information obtained from this study will assist in increasing the effectiveness of smartphone technologies in hearing loss detection.

Will my personal information be shared with anyone?

All your results will be recorded under an anonymous research code; therefore, all your identifying information and results will be kept confidential. Only the research coordinators and primary investigators will have access to your information. The results of the research study will be archived at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology for 15 years.

Who will have access to the results from this study?

The results obtained from this research study will be reported in the form of a scientific article and dissertation, which will be available to professionals in the field of audiology. The results from this research study may be used by future researchers.

For more information on the research study

If you are interested in finding out more about the test you can contact the rooms of  Dr LM Hofmeyr at 012 341 8924 or 021 418 3219 during office hours. Alternatively you can contact audiology masters degree student, Karina Swanepoel from the University of Pretoria(UP) at karina.swanepoel@up.ac.za for more information.

Antiphasic Digits-in-Noise Summary