WHAT IS AN AUDIOMETER?
An audiometer is a medical device used by those who test a patient’s hearing, such as an audiologist or clinician. This is done by presenting sounds at various frequencies and levels to the patient.
WHAT IS AN AUDIOMETER USED FOR?
An audiometer is used to evaluate a patient’s hearing. While the tones and/or words are presented to the patient via the audiometer, the clinician records the patient's thresholds. This allows them to assess the patient's hearing abilities and diagnose any potential hearing loss. Using this information, an appropriate treatment plan can be developed.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIAGNOSTIC AND SCREENING AUDIOMETRY?
Screening audiometry is used to simply identify if conductive hearing loss is an issue for the patient. The clinician will most commonly perform pure tone audiometry testing to present tones to the patient and find out at which decibel levels there may be hearing loss.
If the screening audiometry testing concludes that there is hearing loss, the next step would be to use diagnostic audiometry to try and identify what exactly is going on that is causing the hearing loss and how extensive the damage is. Using this information, the clinician can determine the best course of action for the patient.
WHAT WILL AN AUDIOGRAM TELL YOU?
An audiogram is a graph of the softest sounds a patient can hear at different frequencies or pitches. The results of a hearing test are plotted on the audiogram to describe a patient’s hearing. The audiogram can give information on the type and severity of a patient’s hearing loss. This information can help determine the most appropriate next step. This may include additional testing, medical referral, or hearing aids.
WHAT TYPES OF ENVIRONMENTS ARE AUDIOMETERS USED IN?
Audiometers are used in several testing environments. At audiology and ENT clinics, screening and diagnostic audiometry may be used to as a vital part of obtaining an entire hearing healthcare profile of a patient. In schools, the school nurse may use an audiometer for routine screening of children to identify if students may have a potential hearing issue. This is important to identify hearing loss as early as possible so a plan of action can be made before it affects the student’s communication skills and development.