App: Tone Generator Ultra
Cost: Free
Function: Replaces


Tone Generator Ultra is a replacement app with a difference. It does not replace medical resource information clinical academic content such as a textbook but instead uses technology to replace clinical tools (in this case a tuning fork) to provide more flexibility and effectiveness to the clinician. Strictly speaking this is not a recommendation for a specific app, rather it is an example of a type of app that can provide a replacement for an existing tool in your office. In addition, as it is easier to use with a smaller device, you may wish to use your iPhone rather than your iPad.

Many hearing conduction apps exist, however, for this example, we will demonstrate the free app Tone Generator Ultra which can be used to replace the tuning forks in your office. As it is easier to use with a smaller device, you may wish to use your iPhone rather than your iPad. Tone Generator Ultra is particularly useful when providing clinical care outside the office setting where specific diagnostic tools may be limited.

From a teaching perspective, it is easy to demonstrate the principles of air conduction to trainees, easy to perform and interpret the test and gives a foundation on which to discuss the limitations of testing in the office and in the field. Specifically, the increased frequencies tested with this app will provide better assessment of the patient’s deficits: the diagnosis of hearing loss will not just be limited to the voice recognition frequencies but will also pick up gaps in higher and lower frequencies that could put patients at risk if not heard (e.g., a bus that may be barreling in behind them).

If you search the App Store for Tone Generator, you will soon discover a plethora of free apps that serve this hearing assessment purpose. We recommend that you play with a few of them and choose the one that works best for you.