GSI: What motivated you to think of automated audiometry?

Dr. Margolis: When I was the director of the University of Minnesota Hospital Audiology Clinic I was dissatisfied by the amount of time my highly-trained, competent staff was spending doing pure-tone audiometry which occupied more of their time than any other billable activity. Two experiences solidified my belief that this was an inappropriate use of professional time.

I performed a hearing evaluation on a highly-educated professional man who, after watching me through the window of the sound booth, said “Why do you have to push those buttons?” It was obvious to him that the procedure was perfectly amenable to automation. Why was I pushing those buttons when Wayne Rudmose said in 1963: The number of audiometric examinations made today has grown to such a magnitude that it is only natural that some of the techniques of measurement should become automated (Rudmose, 1963).

Not long after that I had an unpleasant meeting with the hospital director who questioned whether my staff was productive enough. When I pointed out that they typically were in the clinic until 6 and then took reports home to write, she offered, ”Maybe you need to automate some of those procedures”.

Since that time, I have looked outside the walls of the clinic. In the U.S. the number of hearing tests that can be conducted by all the audiologists is less than half of the need (Margolis & Morgan, 2008). Most countries don’t have any audiologists. Increasing access to hearing testing has become my major goal in developing automated tests. 

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Robert H. Margolis is President of Audiology Incorporated, a research and development company dedicated to the development of automated diagnostic hearing tests, professor emeritus in the University of Minnesota Department of Otolaryngology, and adjunct professor in the Arizona State University Department of Speech and Hearing Science. His research career has focused on diagnostic audiology including middle ear assessment, infant hearing assessment, auditory evoked potentials, and automated hearing tests. His development of automated hearing tests has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and has resulted in four U.S. patents. He has participated in service projects in Chile, India, and Mexico.

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    GSI AMTAS™, or Automated Method for Testing Auditory Sensitivity, is a patient directed evaluation tool that uses patented test methods and accuracy algorithms to obtain diagnostic or screening audiometry. AMTAS is available in two versions: AMTAS Pro™ and AMTAS Flex™.