Intelligent games in audiological rehabilitation: the Pirates game
Hearing screening using the digit triplet test (DTT) has proven to be an efficient, reliable and fast screening method (Jansen, 2013) with considerable advantages over pure-tone thresholds audiometry. However, testing in young children has been difficult due to their limited attention span. Simply reducing the number of trials will involve loss of precision. Instead, presenting the DTT as a serious game, which taps into the child’s fantasy, will be more engaging. Children will be more motivated, have a higher attention span, and therefore a more reliable score can be obtained.
We have developed the Pirates DTT Game where children are encouraged to open treasure chests by entering a three-digit code. Currently, the Pirates DTT Game is validated in normal-hearing young children (first grade – 6y). Therefore, we compare outcomes on the standard DTT procedure with performance on the game-based Pirates DTT. Speech reception thresholds, test stability and test reliability are compared for the two screening methods. Preliminary results show that the standard and game-based screening provide similar results in adults, thereby validating the game-based procedure. In children, the game-based screening enhances their sustained attention and motivation, thereby providing more reliable outcomes. These results show that intelligent games are promising tools when adapting validated SPIN tests to the interest and attention span of young children.
This work was supported by a TBM-FWO grant from the Research Foundation-Flanders (grant number T002216N).