UW EAR INFECTION APP

(KPTV image)

WASHINGTON (KPTV) - A common problem for children could be diagnosed, thanks to a new app developed at the University of Washington.

The National Institute of Health said ear infections are the most common reason that parents take their children to a pediatrician.

Those infections can be very painful, as fluid builds up behind the eardrum.

But thanks to this new app, parents can check for ear infections at home before yet another doctors visit.

Here's how it works, the phone speaker sends chirping sounds in the ear, and depending on the vibrations sent back to the microphone, the technology can tell if there is fluid in the ear.

“It's kind of like tapping a wine glass, if the wine glass is empty or full it's going to sound different,” PhD student Justin Chan at the University of Washington said.

Chan said doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital asked his fellow researchers if there was a way to check for infections at home.

“Often time when you go to the doctor, they shine a light in your ear with an autoscope see the fluid but 51 percent accuracy,” Chan said.

51 percent, that's a coin flip.

But if kids go to a specialist with more high-tech tools available, that rate goes up to about 85 percent.

That's how accurate the app is turning out to be.

Chan was able to go to the hospital and actually test out the app on kids.

“When I was in the hospital, I was thinking wow, this can actually effect millions of people. I saw the smile on people's faces, parents eager to try it out that was super gratifying,” Chan said.

Chan and his fellow researchers want to get the FDA's approval by the end of the year.

They hope that it will end up helping families on a global scale.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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