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Using Smartphones to Sound Out Sign of Kids' Ear Infections


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Examining fluid accumulation in a child's ear with a smartphone.

University of Washington scientists have developed a pediatric ear-infection diagnostic technique that uses a smartphone to detect fluid accumulation behind the eardrum.

Credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington

University of Washington scientists have developed a pediatric ear-infection diagnostic technique that uses a smartphone to detect fluid accumulation behind the eardrum.

The technique involves cutting a piece of paper, folding it into a funnel configuration, and taping it around the smartphone's microphone and speakers.

By focusing sound into the patient's ear canal with the funnel, the phone can emit birdlike chirps at a particular frequency, via an app.

The microphone identifies sound waves bouncing off the eardrum, then the app analyzes the echo for signs of fluid buildup; the app sends the user a text indicating the likelihood middle-ear fluid is present.

Testing the system on 98 ears in pre-surgical patients older than 18 months demonstrated the technique could detect fluid as well as or better than specialized acoustic testing technology.

From Associated Press
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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