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Sound Scouts Screening Guide :

Sound Scouts is supported by:
01 Why are hearing checks important for students?
01 Types of hearing loss
02 What you will need
03 Choosing the right headphones
04 Planning a screening session
05 Setting up the screening environment
06 Supervising a Sound Scouts Test
08 Script examples for supervisors
09 After the test
10 How is the Sound Scouts hearing test structured?
12 Understanding results
13 Failing the screening- next steps
14 Things to consider before testing with Sound Scouts
15 Recommendations for school screening programs
Table of Contents
Understanding Sound Scouts results (infographic)
Quiet Please, testing in progress (poster)
Speech in Noise Test- target items (printout)
Sound Scouts hearing checks at our school! (poster)
Support Material
Conductive hearing loss(middle ear) occurs when something interferes with sound
travelling to the inner ear. Usually temporary, it’s often caused by fluid from middle
ear infections but can also result from ear wax build-up or a foreign object lodged in
the ear canal.
It’s estimated that around four out of five children will experience a middle ear
infection at least once. Hearing loss can occur even after symptoms resolve because
fluid can remain in the ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss(inner ear) results from damage to the inner ear and is
permanent. It’s often present from birth but can also be acquired through exposure to
loud noise, some medicines, some viral infections, and head injuries. It exists on a
spectrum, ranging from mild to profound. Hearing aids, or for those with profound
loss, Cochlear implants, can reduce the impact of a hearing loss.
Difficulty Hearing in Noiseis a hearing issue that can occur despite a person
receiving normal results in an audiogram. While hearing in quiet may be normal,
hearing in noisy environments, such as the classroom or a restaurant, may be
extremely difficult.
Difficulty hearing in noise can be caused by a number of things including (but not
limited to): auditory processing disorder, a developmental delay, a language issue,
attention deficit and english as a second language (or bi-lingual/multilingual
Every child starting school should have
their hearing tested and ideally again in
Year 3 & Year 5 in line with NAPLAN.
Any child identified with learning or
behavioural problems should have their
hearing tested.
An estimated1 in 10 children suffer from
hearing losswhich left undetected can lead
to speech, learning and behavioural
The World Health Organisation recommends
that all children should have their hearing
screened around the time they start school.
Types of hearing loss
Why are hearing checks important for students?
What you will need
Screening Guide Good quality adult
Alcohol wipesParent permission note
Apple or Android tablet
loaded with the
Sound Scouts App
Internet access
Using suitable good quality adult headphones is
vital to ensuring that the Sound Scouts test
results are reliable.
Do not use gaming or
surround sound
Use good quality adult
We recommend Sennheiser HD 300s (over ear headphones) for screening
and offer these at a discount to schools using Sound Scouts.
Sennheiser HD 300- $90 plus postage
Email to place an order or find out more.
Choosing the right headphones
Choosing the right headphones and using them in the correct way is an
important part of ensuring a reliable result when screening with Sound Scouts.
Do not use a splitter as they
can reduce the sound levels
heard by the person
being tested.
In the interests of hygiene do
not use earbuds when
screening in schools.
Planning a screening session
Eachtest takes 8 minutes.
Allowing for changeover
between students, each
supervising adult can screen
6-7 students per hour.
Parental permission is required to
screen children. You can use and
modify the permission note
template in our school resources
for this purpose.
Create a roster of staff and/ or
parent and community
volunteers to help supervise
Up to four students can be
screened at the same time with
a minimum of two adult
Obtain parental permission
Organise for staff and
volunteers to help
Estimate how much
time you will need
Students can be screened
in small groups
Ensure a quiet room is available
for screening.
Schedule screening
in a quiet room
Setting up the screening environment
Please read our guidance on
'Choosing the right headphones.'
Over ear headphones are best for
screening in schools. Ensure
headphones are plugged in
properly before getting started.
Test in a quiet indoor space
that's free from distractions.
Noisy air conditioners or
appliances may impact the
Before starting the test make sure
children are well rested, have been
to the bathroom and have blown
their nose.
Ensure devices are fully charged,
have notifications switched off and
have the latest version of Sound
Scouts downloaded from the App
Store or Google Play.
Download Sound Scouts to an
Apple or Android tablet.
Use good quality adult
Test in a quiet place
Ensure children are ready
to focus
If more than one student is being
screened in the same room, face
desks away from each other to avoid
Use alcohol wipes to clean screens and
headphones between tests. Disposable
headphone protectors also help to stop
the spread of germs.
5 6
Set up the space to minimise
Keep screens and headphones
clean between tests
Supervising a Sound Scouts test
Set the volume to maximum Start a New Session
Supervisor setup
Player setup
Ask the child to select the five words
they know best
Explain to children how the
game works
Before starting each test set the
volume to maximum or to the
highest comfortable listening
To begin go toNew Session.Read
and carefully follow the instructions
on each page.
Supervising adults must complete a
short game-based activity which can
be done before the children arrive
for testing. This activity helps to
calibrate the sound levels.
Select Create Player. Enter a Player ID and
email address. We suggest using a
designated school email for all Reports.
Monitor this email for Sound Scouts
Tell the child that the sounds will get
quieter, and sometimes they may not be
able to hear anything and that this is OK.
Advise them to wait and only tap the
screen when they hear the sounds.
When selecting the words for the first activity
we recommend the child says each word out
loud. The Supervisor should guide them to
choose the five items with which they are most
Trial Run
Intervene if the child is not interacting
Use the Trial Run to ensure that the
children understand how to interact
with the three test activities. Do not
test children who cannot complete
the trial activities.
The children should be using the
same headphones as those used by
the Supervising adult. Ensure the
headphones are sitting correctly on
or over the ears.
During the test supervisors should
watch for on screen alerts. They should
also watch to ensure the child isn't
tapping repeatedly when no sounds are
presented. Supervisors can prompt
players to only tap when they hear a
Supervisors should supervise
If the child is not responding you can listen in, or ask
them what they hear, and tap or slide the matching
object for them. Demonstrating once or twice should
be enough to prompt play. If further assistance is
required, exit the test and use the Trial Run with the
headphones out to deliver further explanation.
If anything happens during the test that may impact
the results (e.g. persistent loud noise or child
unwilling to complete), you can either exit the game
by tapping on the top right corner of the screen 3
times OR terminate the App by using the method
appropriate to the device (i.e. Apple vs Android).
To end a test session
Script examples for supervisors
After the test
Results are delivered
Clean the device and
If you don't receive results...
Stored results can be accessed
through 'Past Sessions'
Read the report carefully and
follow the next steps
Incomplete session
You can view the results on the
device and they will also be
automatically emailed to the
address entered at the beginning.
Wipe down screens and headsets
and replace headphone protectors
if applicable.
If the device is not connected to a
Wi-Fi network the test data will be
stored and can be processed when
a connection becomes available.
You will not receive results until
you connect to Wi-Fi. Phone hot
spots can be used.
To retrieve a session go to 'Past
Sessions,' select the session and if
a connection is available the
results will be processed.
Results won't be processed if the
player does not complete all three
If a child receives a fail or borderline result
please RETEST after 24 hours. Follow the
recommendations in the report unless
advised otherwise by the Sound Scouts team.
Adult with good hearing completes a short
game based activity to help establish sound
levels for the test.
The speech in quiet activity uses two syllable
words (e.g. popcorn, rainbow, ice cream,
Supervising adult guides the child to select 5
items they recognise visually and verbally
(adult can ask the child to say each word out
loud). Child can select from 10 items.
Child to complete the same test for one ear
and a similar test for the second ear (using the
selected words).
Child can tap or slide the spoken 'target' item
into the scene .
Items become progressively harder to hear
until the child reaches their threshold ie. the
lowest volume at which they can hear.
Volume adapts automatically based on the
child’s responses so the child should only miss
every second item once they reach their
threshold (provided they are responding
The Sound Scouts hearing test is an interactive game for mobile devices built around these
three tests, with the calibration task providing one of the test metrics as well as being used to
set the level of the targets (stimuli)for the following two test activities.
Each Player's results are compared with the results of players of the same age with normal
Speech-in-Quiet (Calibration)
How is the Sound Scouts hearing test structured?
Part One: Speech-in-Quiet (Calibration)
Sound Scouts incorporates three separate test activities in the same 8 minute game:
When the child finishes the game the test results
are immediately returned to the supervising adult
on the device and via email.
The child’s results are assessed against normal
results for children of the same age.
Please RETEST all children who receive a 'Fail' or
'Borderline' result before taking further action.
Children are asked to listen for the beep from
a ’helicopter’s sound tracker’ and to press the
red button when they hear the sound.
The children are visually rewarded when they
correctly identify the sound.
The test ends when the child reaches their
threshold and maintains consistent responses
for a period of time OR after the set maximum
number of presentations is made.
Children are asked to listen to the spoken words
and then drag the corresponding target item into
the scene.
The items can be placed anywhere in the scene
and will adapt in size depending on where they
are placed.
There is background dialogue throughout this
section. The player must focus on the target
items, which become increasingly difficult to hear
against the background noise.
Part Three: Speech-in-Noise
This test assesses the players ability to hear in noise. Some children may be able to hear in
quiet but due to language, concentration or processing issues, they may struggle to hear
in noise.
Part Two: Tone-in-Noise
Understanding results
When the hearing check is complete a report is automatically generated. The report
is viewable on the device and is also sent via email (when an address is provided).
If the child receives a Passthe Report will
state that the child has passed the Sound
Scouts hearing check. This means that
the child’s results are within the normal
range for children of the same age. If you
have ongoing concerns about the child’s
hearing we strongly recommend seeing
your GP or a hearing professional.
If the child receives aBorderlineresult,
hearing may be on the edge of normal.
When a Borderline result is received it is
recommended that the child is retested
after 24 hours. If the child receives a
similar result further investigation may be
If the child receives a Fail result, we
recommend retesting after 24 hours. If
the child receives a second Fail result,
then further diagnostic assessment is
NB: If there are reservations about the result i.e. the result is not in line with other
indicators, we recommend re-testing or seeking further diagnostic assessment.
Failing the Screening - Next Steps
Students who fail the hearing screening may be flagged as having an issue in
one of the following areas:
Middle ear (Conductive hearing loss)
If the child receives a fail result with an indication of a middle ear, or conductive
hearing loss Sound Scouts recommend that the carer follow up with a visit to their
doctor. A middle ear issue may be caused by things such as a build up of wax or fluid,
and in most cases, with the appropriate treatment, hearing will return to normal.
Inner ear (Sensorineural hearing loss)
If the child receives a fail result with an indication of an inner ear, or sensorineural
hearing loss, the report recommends follow up with Hearing Australia or an
audiologist for further evaluation.
Difficulty Hearing in Noise
If the child receives a fail result with an indication of difficulty hearing in noise, the
possible causes need to be considered. Difficulty hearing in noise can be caused by
poor attention, language disorders, English as a second language (ESL or EAL/D) and
Auditory Processing Disorders (APDs), which are related to the brain’s ability to
process sounds. Children who experience difficulty hearing in noise can typically hear
in quiet environments but struggle in noisy environments like the classroom or
playground. By determining the most likely possible cause, the child's care team can
determine who best to see for further assessment.
A Sound Scouts fail result indicating sensorineural loss or difficulty hearing in
noise is accepted as a referral for the purposes of obtaining an appointment with
Hearing Australia.
If English is not the child's primary language (ie ESL or EAL/D), to complete Sound
Scouts, theSupervisor must determine if the child can identify 5 words from the list of
10 spondee items. Provided they can identify 5 words (we suggest they say them out
loud) then they should be able to undertake the test. For these children please use
the Trial Run with the headphones OUT to ensure they understand each of the three
activities.You may need to repeat several times.
The second activity, the helicopter game, is largely language independent so
provided the children understand what to do ie tap the red button when they hear the
stimuli (target sound), they will be able to complete this activity.
If the children can do the first two activities it should be possible to determine if they
have a hearing loss.
It is likely children who speak English as a second language may get a borderline or
fail result due to the final listening in noise activity. This is a common outcome and is
due to the children having to process complex audio, bilingually. The child's Report
will note that the child has received a result 'outside the normal range due to
difficulty hearing in noise' which can be caused by the child speaking more than one
For reference there is a list of the speech in noise target items attached which can be
used to assist ESL children in reviewing the items prior to testing. Be careful not to
over-expose children to the target words.
If the children CANNOT identify 5 words then it's best to wait until they can or seek
another type of hearing assessment.
In relation to children with cognitive issues, Supervisors should confirm that they are
able to successfully complete the Trial Run activities before undertaking a full test.
Those children who cannot independently complete the Trial Run activities should
NOT be tested with Sound Scouts.
Things to consider before testing with Sound Scouts
If a child passes the test on their first attempt this report can be sent to the parents/ caregiver
and no second test is required.
If a child fails or receives a borderline result on their first test they will need to be re-tested.
Do not send the report to their parents/caregivers at this stage.
If on a child's second test they pass, we suggest that you only send the parents the second
report (i.e. the pass result). In this instance the first test result was likely to be caused by
uncertainty or loss of attention when completing the test.
If a child fails or receives a borderline result on the second test, we suggest sending the
reports from both the first and second test to the parents/caregivers.
If a child requires a second test, this should not be completed on the same day as their first
test. We recommend at least a 24 hour window between first and second tests (although we
do appreciate this may not always be possible) .
When testing large cohorts, it is useful to set up a spreadsheet with headings similar to
Sound Scouts recommends a couple of simple steps for schools to follow when it comes to
organising Sound Scouts Reports and ensuring the right information is sent to parents.
We suggest sending all Sound Scouts Reports to one school email address. When starting a
screening session the app will ask for an email address. Make sure everyone supervising the
hearing tests knows which email address to enter and that it is entered correctly. This email
should be monitored for correspondence from the Sound Scouts team during testing.
Recommendations for school screening programs
1300 424 122
Sound Scouts
2020 Sound Scouts HQ Pty Ltd
Need more information?
'Sound Scouts levels the playing
field by enabling children with
hearing loss to be identified and
the risks associated with hearing
loss to be managed.'