The objective of this project was to improve the functionality and usability of a smartphone app, called NEMA (NAL Ecological Momentary Assessment) used in many NAL research studies to better understand the feelings, experiences, and hearing difficulties of people in different real-life situations.
The NEMA app was first used in NAL research studies in 2019 and has been a valuable tool to collect rich, real-world information about participants and their listening experiences. The app repeatedly samples experiences throughout participants’ daily life by asking them to complete short surveys and measures acoustic features of their environment using their Android smartphone or iPhone. The growing demand for NEMA in many of NAL’s hearing industry-sponsored research studies prompted the need for further feature development.
The improved NEMA version (2022) now includes additional survey answer formats, improved customisation of alert notifications, the ability to remotely distribute the app to participants for both iOS and Android, and the ability for researchers to access and analyse data from participants as it is collected to monitor study progress and intervene if required. This allows more flexibility in the survey design, enables real-world measures to be collected without requiring a prior in-person appointment, encourages higher participant compliance, and overcomes previous issues where problems with data collection were not detected in a timely manner.
The NEMA app is currently being used in four NAL research studies, collecting real-world benefit measures to complement laboratory-based testing and standardised questionnaires.