Hearing Tests for Children can Now be a VR Adventure! [21 Aug, 2017]

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Hearing tests can be daunting and traumatic, especially for young children who are led into a dull, old-fashioned room without any instructions except to put on a pair of headphones.

As someone who was hard of hearing from birth, Roni Gabai was forced to routinely attend these dreaded tests.

Transforming hearing tests
Such experiences inspired Gabai to challenge the status quo and use technology to transform such tests into much more enjoyable experiences. Soundventure was thus conceived. Built on Byond’s VR publishing platform, Soundventure caters to children aged 8 to 10 undergoing hearing tests.

Here’s a short video of how Soundventure works – it creates an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment that is accessible through smartphones anytime, anywhere.

Within this VR space, children are brought on an adventure through jungles and beaches where their hearing is tested based on their ability to locate the sounds around them and the direction the sounds are coming from.

The experience not only breaks the conventions of a traditional hearing test but also engages the children through its colorful and attractive 3D graphics.

Through each adventure, children pass through different stages of the game and respond to each sound by indicating the location from which the sound came from. Each response will then be captured by the system and a hint to guide the user to the next adventure will be presented.

Innovation + Science
What’s even more innovative is that sounds presented fit right into the environment. For example, animal sounds are selected and presented in the intensity corresponding to that in a conventional hearing test. The voice of a cockatoo bird, in this case, matches the 4000 decibels level of intensity. Thus, children are not only presented with captivating visual stimuli but also interesting

Thus, children are presented with both captivating visual stimuli and novel auditory sounds instead of the conventional beeping tones in a hearing test.

Soundventure can be used as a screening test to diagnose hearing and attention problems in elementary school children and can be easily used at home or in designated clinics.

While the virtual spaces currently cater to young children, VR spaces can be designed to suit the preferences and needs for all ages, including adults.

Who knows, in a few months, adults can go on adventures during hearing tests too 😉