The main goal of tele-audiology is to improve access to audiology care, especially in remote areas that are not easily accessible or for patients who are unable to reach you. To succeed at this, one needs to procure the right type of equipment to allow you to reach patients and provide these services to those in need.
Despite overwhelming evidence in support of extended high-frequency testing, many clinicians remain limited to conventional tonal audiometry (125 - 8000 Hz). Normal hearing in the extended high-frequency range is what enables us to hear conversation in loud environments. Without it, communication in these environments becomes very troublesome.
You may be an audiologist considering providing screening services to bring more patients into your practice. You may be a doctor interested in adding hearing testing to your service, or branching out into occupational health. Whichever the case, a common consideration is options that either screening or diagnostic options may offer. In order to make the right decision it is important to know the difference between the two.
Various devices can be used to conduct pure tone audiometry. These can range from conventional standalone audiometers, smartphone based, computer based and even computer controlled audiometers. With such a variety, confusion is inevitable. Many people can’t distinguish between a computer based and computer controlled audiometer - partly because no one ever talks about it. This results in the interchangeable use of the terms.
Surely a ‘computer based audiometer’ is any audiometer that is or can be connected to a computer? No, these devices are completely different and these distinctions will be highlighted below.
Tinnitus can make it difficult for a patient to distinguish between test tones (pure tones) being presented and those generated by their tinnitus. As a result false-positive responses will occur. In effect, the tones presented are masked when the tinnitus is of the same pitch but of a higher intensity than the presented tone. As an unfortunate result, a patient may be misdiagnosed and mismanaged.
Over the years, there's been an increase in the use of insert earphones (IE) in audiometry. Although previously supra-aural headphones were part of standard practice, insert earphones perform the same function. Furthermore, various clinical studies have shown that both transducers yield thresholds within 5dB of each other, validating the use of IE. Inserts are simply a foam earplug with tubing that carries the test signal into the ear.
To follow up the previous post on 6 reasons insert earphones should be the audiometry standard, we've decided to unpack the frequently asked questions on the use of IE.
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.’’ - Bernard Baruch. As clinicians, we often follow the same protocols and procedures we learned in university. These procedures become a habit, we are so used to them that we don’t even think about them anymore. It’s just the way we do it, the way we have always done it.This reminds me of a story a colleague shared with me a while ago.
The pot roast story. It goes like this...
Imagine having a constant whistling, buzzing or ringing in your ears - all day. You can never escape it, it’s always there. It may seem better or quieter during the day, while watching the television, or while you’re on your favorite ride at the theme park.
But as soon as you lay your head on the pillow, in the quiet of your room, there it is - the annoying sound that won’t go away.