AMITIAE - Monday 21 October 2013

Siemens Test @udio for iOS Devices: Quelque Chose d'un Peu Différent

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

test audio

People lose their hearing for a number of reasons, but for most, the changes are slow. Siemens have a wide range of apps and have conceived an app that checks for loss of hearing using an iOS device. However, the app is only available in French.

A few days ago, I found an app produced by Siemens that allowed me to test my hearing using an iOS device. First one ear, then the other was tested and the app tested my ability to make out certain sounds. In my review of that app, I commented that when I was riding police motor cycles in the late 1970s, all of the officers I worked with were tested by audiologists as it was feared that the in-helmet speakers might affect our hearing. Those tests in the 1970s were not like the Siemens Hearing test.

There are several apps under the Siemens name in the app store in Thailand. While many are aimed at specific products or services that Siemens has - and so have a rather narrow focus - there are a couple that have wider use.

As well as that Hearing test app, Siemens put out an app called Test @udio which uses sound frequencies and volume of tones in a similar way to those tests I took in the 1970s. It is actually developed by Bulky Apps, who appear to be based in France.

Even though the App Store description does say, "English, French", I had to draw on some of my high school learning to understand the app, but to be fair, it was not hard and the app is simple to use.

Test Audio

Test @udio

The basic opening screen has the words, "Test @udio" followed by test your hearing with Siemens. First in the world for hearing aids. Pressing on that opening screen brings up a grey panel with instructions:

  • Place yourself in a calm and silent environment
  • If your headphones are connected, detach them
  • Turn the volume up to high
  • Place yourself 60 cms away from the iPad

I must admit it sounds better in French. As a note, that last instruction changes to "Place yourself 60 cms away from the iPhone" when I tried this on the smaller device.

A second grey panel explains what will happen:

  • We are now going to let you hear different sounds which may not be totally audible. React to this simple question:
  • Can you hear the sound?
    • When the response is negative, the volume goes up
    • When the response is positive, the volume goes down
  • The test will start with the deepest and end with the sharpest sound. A result is shown at the end.

The test was a little more complex than that description. When I began, if I could not hear the first sound, the volume did indeed go up; but if I was able to hear the initial sound, the volume then decreased until it reached a level at which I could not hear.

Test Audio

The test first produced sounds in the range 500 Hz at 60 Db, dropping to 30 Db. When the volume was at the lowest I could hear, I pressed the red, Inaudible, button. The range changed to 1000 Hz, then 2000 Hz, ending with 4000 Hz.

When the final test was complete, the results were put together in a chart form. To the left was a text explanation. As expected, I had a slight reduction in hearing sensitivity, considered normal for someone my age (had the app found that from information on the device?); and I was recommended to consult with an expert.

That final panel was different on the two devices. On the iPhone 4S that I use, there were two buttons: recommend the test; and take the test again. On the iPad those two buttons were joined by one that allowed me to send the result by email.

Test Audio

Both apps work only in landscape mode, but when I tried to send the email, the keyboard appeared as if for portrait mode. Typing when half the screen is obscured is a little hard. I did check that the orientation lock was Off.

An Information (i) panel contained a link to Bulky Apps which does have perfectly adequate English pages. I was not able to find any information about the Siemens app on the site.


As with other apps of this nature, the result is merely an indication that the person tested may have something that needs to be examined by a professional. Nonetheless, it is an update of that test I took years ago, and gives me an indication of the deterioration that occurs as one becomes older.

Despite the simplicity of the app, the French may not make it accessible for all users, particularly in this part of the region (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam do have French speakers). The keyboard use needs fixing: portrait mode when landscape is being used is not useful.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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