Video game hearing tests for remote monitoring of ototoxicity

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Development and validation of the use of Video games and virtual reality to enable Autonomous Remote monitoring of OTotoxicity in high-risk population groups (VAROT).



  • Contact name

    Francis Drobniewski

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Imperial College London

  • Identifier


  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 0 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    Aminoglycoside antibiotics are widely used to treat life-threatening infections, but are associated with ear-related problems. Recent studies show that approximately 50% of cystic fibrosis patients, regularly treated with aminoglycosides, have hearing loss. Despite guidelines recommending monitoring of hearing during aminoglycoside use, there are many barriers due to inconsistent referrals and logistical limitations. Delays in screening for hearing loss lead to reduced quality of life and poorer socioeconomic implications.
    Current formal hearing tests involve visiting clinical settings with integrated sound-booths which are expensive to install and require specialist staff. Tablet-based hearing tests were recently shown to effectively detect hearing loss in adult cystic fibrosis patients when compared to formal sound-booth hearing tests. Web-based hearing tests were shown not to be as effective in the same study.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for remote autonomous systems with reduced visits to hospital.
    We propose to integrate hearing tests within videogames and virtual reality software with existing technology from the Both EARS (BEARS) project. This adaptation will be used to perform hearing tests and detect for hearing loss in patients receiving antibiotics that can cause damage to the ears. It will determine whether video game-based virtual reality hearing tests are an effective means to monitor for hearing loss remotely. Videogame-based virtual reality technology will also be used to train and potentially improve patient’s ability to locate sound in noisy environments and their clarity in speaking. We will also determine patient satisfaction and usability of the system.
    The results of the study will help provide alternative options for monitoring hearing loss caused by antibiotics, using advancing mobile technology with the ability to monitor hearing remotely, autonomously with potential improvement in everyday listening experiences. This can minimise inequality of access to screening, detect hearing loss earlier, reduce healthcare costs, minimise socioeconomic impact on patients.

  • REC name

    West Midlands - Edgbaston Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    18 Nov 2021

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion

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