A recent post by David Pogue on his NYT blog highlighted some medically-oriented iPhone apps. Though not designed with musicians in mind, this free app might be very helpful to musicians of all kinds in monitoring the state of their hearing:
uHear™ is a unique hearing loss screening test application available for download to the iPhone™ and iPod touch®. With uHear, you can identify a potential hearing loss through three assessments: Hearing Sensitivity, Speech in Noise and a Questionnaire about common listening situations. uHear also offers a ‘Locate’ function to help find the nearest Hearing Health Care Professional for a full follow-up.
uHear is for everyone. You can curb your curiosity with a simple and convenient six minute test from the comfort of your home. Parents and teachers can use uHear to promote healthy hearing. You can share it with your family and friends.
uHear is available for download on iTunes® for free.
I downloaded it and tried it out, with pretty reassuring results. Of course it’s not a substitute for a test done by a professional, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to download it and try it. It’s possible to save test results for comparison over time to monitor the deterioration of your hearing (sorry, but that is what’s going to happen to you). And it’s a lot easier than making an appointment with an audiologist.
Another medical-related app that might be of interest to musicians who travel a lot is JetLag RX (although it’s not yet available on the iTMS). It recommends a schedule for coping with jet lag, based on travel information inputted by the user. I sure could have used it on my recent trip to Hong Kong; the jet lag coming home put me in fetal position for a couple of weeks.
For the aging orchestra musician, there’s Eyeglasses, which uses the iPhone’s built-in lens to magnify type (useful for figuring out if that glissando in your part is the last conductor’s dumb idea or was what Mahler really wanted). If you need soundAMP, which turns the iPhone into a hearing aid, you waited too long before using uHear.