The human arsenal might be hugely expansive in its nature, and yet there is nothing more valuable in it than our tendency to get better on a consistent basis. This tendency, in particular, has already allowed us to hit upon some huge milestones, with technology appearing as a major member of the stated group. The reason why technology enjoys such an esteemed nature among people is largely because of its skill-set, which ushered us towards all the possibilities that we couldn’t have imagined otherwise. Nevertheless, if we look a little bit closer, it becomes clear how the whole runner was also very much predicated upon the way we applied those skills across a real-world environment. The latter component was, in fact, what gave the creation a spectrum-wide presence, including a timely appearance on our healthcare block. Technology’s foray into healthcare was perfectly-timed as it came right when the sector was beginning to struggle against its own obsolete structure. This reality, fortunately enough, went through a complete overhaul under the new regime, but even after achieving something so monumental, the new and budding medtech concept will somehow continue bringing all the right goods to the table. The same has turned more and more evident over the recent past, and one new development does a lot to make that trend bigger and better moving forward.
The researching at University of Washington has successfully developed a low-cost hearing test for newborns. According to certain reports, the stated test bases its methodology around creating a noise within the ear canal and then listening to vibrations created by the specialized hair cells. Talk about how they managed to put-together such a technique, the researchers used cheap earbuds that are connected to a small microphone, which in turn, can listen to the vibrations of the hair cells. Once picked up, these vibrations are analyzed through a smartphone app so to offer the required guidance, if any abnormal results are observed. So far, the only method we have had to achieve a similar purpose is where we create sounds in the ear at two different tones. By doing so, we get the hair cells to vibrate, and consequentially, create a third tone. This third tone is later used to produce a final verdict on the newborn’s hearing ability. Now, while the method has proven itself as effective, it remains pretty expensive for a bigger chunk of the population.
“There is a huge amount of health inequity in the world. I grew up in a country where there was no hearing screening available, in part because the screening device itself is pretty expensive,” said Shyam Gollakota, one of the developers of the technology. “The project here is to leverage the ubiquity of mobile devices people across the world already have — smartphones and $2 to $3 earbuds — to make newborn hearing screening something that’s accessible to all without sacrificing quality.”
Notably enough, alongside inexpensive earbuds, the researchers have ensured a wider access for their device by also leveraging algorithms that can run in real-time and guess what, they don’t even require you to have latest smartphone models. Hence, with its only alternative being a hugely inexpensive device, the UW researchers’ latest brainchild has every chance to become a trusted healthcare avenue for millions of newborns out there.