As an audiologist working for an equipment manufacturer, I’m always interested in testing protocols, advances in technology, and best practices. These things shape the future of diagnostic equipment. James W. Hall, III, PhD, proposes an effective and efficient way to diagnose patients’ hearing disorders in a way that shakes up the status quo, and it’s worth a listen. Dr. Hall takes the listener through the history of testing, discusses published data on tests used on a regular basis (such as pure tone air and bone conduction and basic tymps), and tests that are not used on a regular basis (such as reflex thresholds and OAE). He then discusses the need for selecting tests that add value to the time spent in the hearing evaluation. I like to think of it as “choose-your-own-adventure” audiology.
One recurring theme that resonated with me is that audiologists collect a patient history or intake form and then immediately move to “air/bone/speech” regardless of the information gathered. The main message of this webinar is that patient history and chief complaint should be driving our testing. For example, if a patient says that they can hear just fine until they are in a crowded area and there is no history of middle ear dysfunction, it would be in the best interest of the diagnosis to move quickly to speech in noise testing. It is likely not necessary to perform SRT or word recognition in quiet, or even bone conduction, for that specific patient. Using the cross-check principle and tests that are selected based on patient history and patient complaints will streamline each appointment to reach an effective diagnosis and treatment plan without wasting precious time on tests that do not add value to the diagnosis.
I would encourage you to listen to this webinar, read the articles mentioned, and re-evaluate the way patient diagnosis is achieved in your clinic.
Title: Promoting Healthy Hearing Over the Lifespan Part 1: Accurate Diagnosis of Auditory Dysfunction
Abstract: Audiologists have an opportunity to prevent or mitigate hearing loss in children and adults. This webinar (Part 1) focuses on the importance of applying sensitive and value-added tests in the diagnosis of hearing loss and related disorders (e g., auditory processing disorders and tinnitus).
- After this course, participants will be able to describe what is meant by the term “value-added tests.”
- After this course, participants will be able to explain how a patient’s chief complaint is related to an appropriate diagnostic audiological test battery.
- After this course, participants will be able to list objective auditory tests that are sensitive to middle ear and cochlear dysfunction.
- After this course, participants will be able to identify three distinct clinical advantages of efficient and effective diagnostic assessment of hearing loss and related disorders.