So…You have planned and documented a business plan for your practice. You have noted the services that you will be providing and now, you need to find an audiometer that meets your needs. Or it may be time to reconsider your current toolset in your current practice. With new options available, it really is the perfect time to contemplate what will work for you and your future plans. You need a device that will suit your program and the services you want to provide.
Technology is advancing at an incredible rate and is changing the face of healthcare. All these advances improve healthcare service provision, including devices used for audiological services. One such device is an audiometer - one may wonder how an audiometer can change, isn’t hearing assessment just hearing assessment? With technology advancing, audiometers became smaller, lighter and portable. The size of recent audiometers did not result in lesser features, but more features to make testing effective and efficient. There are many audiometers on the market today, and this guide will assist you in finding the right one.
We are the manufacturer of the KUDUwave audiometer, and to find out more about our devices, click here.
Follow the below steps to help select the perfect audiometer for your business.
1. What services will you be providing?
The very first step in choosing an audiometer is to consider the type of services you will be providing. Consider whether you will be providing mobile audiometry services or not. An answer to this question may be permanent - as most audiometers need to be used in the confinements of a sound booth. Should you opt for traditional equipment that relies on a sound booth, you will not be able to offer mobile services. This will also mean a larger investment in terms of rent and space. If you already have a booth, consider if your new audiometer should allow for both scenarios.
Some audiometers such as the KUDUwave, with its ability to attenuate noise as much as a sound booth, have the flexibility of being used in all locations, stationary and/or mobile. Do note that one of the key advantages of having a mobile audiometer is that you can reach more people. Read 5 Ways Audiologists Can Reach More Patients to find out how.
2. Features: All-in-one equipment
The services that you will be providing should influence the type of equipment that you purchase. If the services you wish to provide demand a full-featured audiometer, for example, air, bone and speech testing then consider your choices carefully. Traditionally, speech audiometry is conducted by connecting a DVD player to an audiometer in order to play speech materials to the patient. This forces the tester to have a lot of equipment as well as a power plug for the DVD, making it restricting to provide mobile services. Currently, validated speech materials can be embedded on the audiometer itself, eliminating the need to have a separate DVD player.
An example of an all-in-one audiometer is the KUDUwave. This is a air (extended high frequency optional), bone and speech audiometer in one device, weighing 0.4 KG/ 0.88 Pounds, allowing you to take it to any test location. REMEMBER, even with portable audiometers, one still needs to attenuate noise in order to ensure accurate and reliable test results.. Check out a post we did on Ambient noise attenuation: the key to reliable hearing assessment to find out about the importance of attenuation during testing and how the KUDUwave achieves this.
Another important factor in choosing an audiometer is to look at its specification. This can not be stressed enough. Equipment specification, found on a datasheet, is a detailed description entailing the technical characteristics and the performance of a product.The right audiometer should have the specifications that would allow you to provide your services efficiently and effectively. Firstly, note down what specifications you would like your device to possess, for example, what frequency range (i.e. 125 to 8000 Hz) and what is the highest intensity (i.e. 120 dB) you would like your audiometer to reach? The frequency range and the intensity range of the audiometer you choose will only allow or limit you to see a certain group of patients (i.e. patient with profound hearing losses). It is always a good idea to contact the manufacturers of the audiometer you are interested in to get your hands on the audiometer’s datasheet. To see an example of a datasheet, click here.
4. Cost and Affordability
You have identified the audiometer that suits your needs, now you want to purchase it. Costs should not stand in the way of getting your hands on that device. There are purchase options that can make the device affordable for you. If you can’t afford buying the audiometer at a once-off fee, enquire about rental/lease options, or talk to your bank about the possibility of financing you. At the end of the day, look at all the different purchasing options, the pros and cons, and see what works for you.
What does the cost of the audiometer include?
Are there any recurring costs or annual subscriptions? These are important questions and should be considered before one makes a purchase.
Some manufacturers separate the cost of the physical equipment from the cost of the software. While this makes the equipment seem cheaper, annual software licencing or, in some cases, per test fees, can inflate costs substantially over the long term. Be sure to ask about licensing fees, or any associated charges that would become payable over at least 3 years and include these in your cost comparisons.
We believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that our software is constantly updated and is continuously optimised for use, which is why our audiometry core software is always free. You can find out more about this approach here: why our audiometry software is free, forever
A warranty is a written promise from the manufacturer that guarantees the quality of your device over a specific period. This is intended to cover you for any factory defaults that may have occurred in the process of manufacturing your device. In it, you will find an outline of how faults will be rectified ( either by replacing or repairing the device) and what costs, if any, may be incurred and who will pay for them.
Before purchasing your audiometer, take note of when the warranty starts and ends so that you know how long your device will be supported in terms of repairs.
In general, damage to the device post manufacture, such as dropping or water damage will not be covered by the warranty and will be a separate charge. It is always a good idea to ask your colleagues or the manufacturer about the cost of repair or replacement of components.
6. Technical support
Technical support is an area that most people only consider after purchase. The availability of support is paramount to your success with your device. Find out about the support options available. Modern support should consist of multiple platforms and access points. While telephonic support is a traditional standard, the world is changing and so are our needs.
Ask about online resources, availability through chat, facebook or email. Ensure that you request information from the manufacturer on their support service.
Also enquire about technical support costs, while some manufacturers will offer support and support resources (self help) for free, others will apply a charge.
At eMoyo, the home of the KUDUwave, we deliver a unique support service designed for every individual. This includes clients in the same country and and those abroad. A client at a remote site is never alone, with our online KUDUwave academy available and our online support with an in-house support engineer.
Whatever your needs may be, there is always an audiometer tailored for you.
Take the time to investigate your options and remember, your audiometer is a key factor in determining the quality of the work you do as well as the long term success and sustainability of your practice.