Sherry Ralston, AuD, Pediatric Audiologist with Children’s Mercy Kansas City, has been diagnosing and treating hearing loss for over 30 years.
Dr. Ralston recognized the shortcomings of the more traditional physical tools in the audiologist’s “tool box,” including printed drawings and plastic objects, such as cookies, which have been used for audiologic testing for decades.
These traditional tools can be a challenge to clean for infection control, sometimes require two audiologists for their use, and sometimes have culturally outdated imagery. In addition, these tools are generally static, two-dimensional, and sometimes monochrome; being generally less dynamic, interactive and attractive as compared to modern mobile apps.
Dr. Ralston also recognized the potential of mobile apps in addressing the shortcomings of these more traditional tools and initiated a program of research and development. Dr. Ralston collaborated with the Children's Mercy Center for Pediatric Innovation and app developers to build HearPlay™. HearPlay is an iOS-based suite of fun and engaging games that support conditioned play audiometry (CPA) for measuring speech reception thresholds, and pure tone thresholds, with children, on average, from 2 1/2 to 5 years of age and those with developmental delays.