Hearing loss is a common problem for many – especially those who may have attended too many loud concerts in their youth. [mircemk] had recently been for a hearing test, and noticed that the procedure was actually quite straightforward. Armed with this knowledge, he decided to build his own test system and document it for others to use.
By using an Arduino to produce tones of various stepped frequencies, and gradually increasing the volume until the test subject can detect the tone, it is possible to plot an audiogram of hearing threshold sensitivity. Testing each ear individually allows a comparison between one side and the other.
[mircemk] has built a nice miniature cabinet that holds an 8×8 matrix of WS2812 addressable RGB LEDs. A 128×64 pixel OLED display provides user instructions, and a rotary encoder with push-button serves as the user input.
Of course, this is not a calibrated professional piece of test equipment, and a lot will depend on the quality of the earpiece used. However, as a way to check for gross hearing issues, and as an interesting experiment, it holds a lot of promise.
There is even an extension, including a Class D audio amplifier, that allows the use of bone-conduction earpieces to help narrow down the cause of hearing loss further.
There’s some more information on bone conduction here, and we’ve covered an intriguing optical stimulation cochlear implant, too.