Justin Chan et al developed a smartphone system that could act as a screening tool to help in the diagnosis of ear infections. The system is designed to detect the middle ear fluid by utilising the microphone and speaker of a phone to emit sound and analyse its reflection (echo) from the eardrum. The researchers conducted a clinical study on 98 patient ears at a paediatric surgical centre. The smartphone-based system reported to show 85% sensitivity and 82% specificity, which was comparable to the published performance measures for tympanometry and pneumatic otoscopy. The system works by sending sounds into the ear and measuring how those sound waves change as they bounce off the eardrum. The results support for an effective screening tool that could help detect the presence of middle ear fluid.
Source: Science Translational Medicine 15 May 2019: Vol. 11, Issue 492, eaav1102 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav1102