Hlolo is a clinical, research & support Audiologist at eMoyo. He is involved in many parts of the business, from consulting to R&D to supporting and training customers. He earned his BSc in Audiology from the University of Cape Town and is an experienced clinical audiologist specialized in ototoxicity monitoring, product specialist and training audiologist.
Asymmetrical hearing loss is not always taken seriously by healthcare professionals outside of audiology -
"It can be a tumour"!
Asymmetrical hearing loss is of important diagnostic interest as it has implications on the treatment, surgery and rehabilitation of the patient. Most clinicians have had a patient showing an asymmetric hearing loss on their audiogram (check out our previous blog post on How to Read an Audiogram), bringing forward questions such as: is this worth a referral? Asymmetrical hearing loss is defined as a hearing loss that is significantly worse in one ear compared to the other. But how much worse is significantly worse?
While hearing loss is defined as partial or total inability to hear sounds with one or both ears, it is much more complex than that. To that end, a lot of research has been done and an important number of standards have been written regarding the topic of hearing loss. This vast amount of information has served to better classify hearing loss, to reduce the complexity of its definition and to assist clinicians in uniform diagnosis of hearing loss.
On account of the exciting launch of the KUDUwave TMP, our previous blog post covered the importance of tympanometry in every hearing healthcare setting.
With the KUDUwave TMP, a clinician can conduct automatic and manual (pressure change) tympanometry assessments, and ipsilateral and contralateral acoustic reflex measurements (with pure tones and broad-band noise).
The most commonly used test for evaluating auditory sensitivity among people of almost all-ages is pure tone audiometry. This method has been proven to be reliable in measuring hearing, especially in adults. While pure tone audiometry can be used in very young children and in adults, it is unreliable when used to test children or adults who may not understand instructions.
While the general population are unlikely to attempt to malinger or exaggerate their hearing loss, the prevalence of nonorganic hearing loss (NOHL) is much higher when secondary gains are expected. For example, much research has reported a higher prevalence of audiometry malingering in industrial workers and military personnel.
Binaural hearing, or simply put, the ability to hear with both ears helps us to localize sounds, be aware of your surroundings, hear better in background noise (when one has normal hearing), perceive better sound quality, and strain less when listening.
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is the most prevalent sensory impairment in the elderly. Approximately one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss, while almost half of those older than 75 experience hearing problems.
Regulations and standards that cover the use of audiometers exist globally. While some differ, most, if not all, require that the equipment is calibrated and maintained regularly and records are kept for auditing.
The festive season is here. Masses will be outdoors with family, friends and loved ones celebrating this merry season. Music, concerts, parades, fireworks are the highlight of the festive fun, and don’t forget holiday shopping! There is no reason to not join in the fun, to listen to some Frank Ocean or Queen or to do some holiday toy shopping for the children. However, it is important to be mindful on how to protect your ears during this festive season.
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.
The main goal of ehealth and in this case, tele-audiology, is to improve access to care, especially for patients in remote areas or for patients who are unable to come to you. Successful implementation of remote audiology relies on the careful selection of your equipment.
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.
There are many devices that can be used to conduct pure tone audiometry such as; conventional standalone audiometers, hybrid audiometers, portable audiometers, smartphone based, computer based and computer controlled audiometers.
With such variety, confusion is inevitable. It is difficult to 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 to each other so let's get into why.
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.
“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.
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.
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and his colleague Watson experienced the very first telephone call in their Boston lab. The call wasn't clear or crisp, but it was the end of the telegraph and the beginning of modern day telephony.
Today, the smartphone has further revolutionised the telephone. It integrates multiple technologies to provide crisp and clear communication that reaches across the world. It even provides access to the world’s knowledge as well as incredible photography too.
Who, in the 1800’s, would have imagined that this was even possible?
Football fever has masses glued to their TV, computer and cellphone screens. This is an enormous event, loved by football fans across the globe. I must admit, the passion rubs off onto an individual like myself, who is not your average football fanatic. This year, Russia has the privilege of hosting the football World Cup. Football enthusiasts all across the world have geared up to watch the beautiful game live in Russia. Reports claim that bookings made to Russia increased by more than 60% compared to the same period last year.
Every clinician has experienced a patient feigning illness and the field of audiology is no exception. Whether physical or psychological, it only takes one telenovela style impersonation of a factitious disorder to see why many get caught out.
"Fakers" usually don't have a complete grasp of the illness or disability they are trying to mimic and end up giving themselves away all too easily. But, there are the rare few who are a lot more convincing which is where science steps in.
Speech is the auditory stimulus through which we communicate. Auditory assessment of hearing loss using speech is therefore of great interest in the field of speech and hearing sciences; in fact, it has a long history in the evaluation of hearing from as early as the 1800s.
The hearing test using speech audiometry has been studied as early as 1804, but the validity and reliability of speech testing is as important today as it was then.
The audiologist can be a solitary species. Choosing to lose ourselves in our work and focus on patient care instead of the heady social life we see zooming around us. Maybe it's because we are very focused, or perhaps it's because many of us are in some ways introverted. After all, this is the path we chose and we are sticking to it.
But, if you are anything like me, when I get a chance for a little “shop talk“ with a fellow hearing health professional, that all changes and a chin will wag as much as a chin can. We love sharing the often hilarious and sometimes shocking experiences we have in our beloved profession.
We are all acutely aware of the fact that in order to stay healthy we need to exercise. We are especially aware after a long cold winter or summer vacation. While the list of benefits we gain from physical activity including longer life, improved vitality and weight-loss, many of us still don't do it.
But what on earth does exercise have to do with audiometers?