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Tips and Guidelines for Buying an Audiometer

A testing device with tone generators, amplifiers and sound-level monitors, to assess and diagnose hearing and other otological disorders. Hearing impairment is measured using pure test tones and/or signals.

Tips for Buying an Audiometer

1. Facilities that purchase units with greater capability may end up with more difficult operation and/or higher costs. Therefore, buyers should prefer units that are easy to operate, particularly in screening programs where operators may have less training and experience.

2. Speech eudiometry is not a recommended feature in audiometers used for screening purposes. For this purpose, pure-tone audiometers, at minimum, should be capable of testing at frequencies of 500 to 6,000 Hz.

3. Standard clinical eudiometry testing is performed over a range of 250 to 8,000 Hz. OSHA does not require bone-conduction testing for annual or baseline audiograms. However, it can be useful in determining diagnosis in a clinical setting.

4. The frequency accuracy should be within 3% for most testing; for some clinical applications, accuracy within 1% is recommended.

5. For clinical testing and diagnosis the audiometers should be at least type 3 as specified by ANSI S2.6-1996. Type 1 may be required under certain conditions and are recommended for clinical environments where a full range of testing applications must be met.

6. Speech-testing capabilities may also be needed for clinical audiometers. For this purpose, the audiometer should be designated at least type C. Standardized specially prepared speech material from tape or CD input is preferred to microphone input, to ensure consistent testing and results among subjects.

7. For both clinical and screening applications, it is recommended that half-octave or octave steps are available. Testing at half-octave frequencies is often used to verify that the subject's hearing level does not change significantly within an octave.

8. Facilities should consider the earphones for any type of audiometric testing. Those used to deliver the signal to the subject should include one earphone for each ear.

9. Insert earphones are preferred because they are generally lighter and provide a better fit than supra-aural earphones. They offer greater protection against the signal being heard by the opposite ear.

10. Free-field testing is not normally recommended for screening purposes. It may be a good alternative to earphones when testing small children who may not tolerate earphones. It is also used in certain hearing-aid assessments.

11. To ensure that one ear is not compensating for the other during the test, masking noise should be available for clinical testing.

Tips and Guidelines for Buying an Audiometer

A testing device with tone generators, amplifiers and sound-level monitors, to assess and diagnose hearing and other otological disorders. Hearing impairment is measured using pure test tones and/or signals.

Tips for Buying an Audiometer

1. Facilities that purchase units with greater capability may end up with more difficult operation and/or higher costs. Therefore, buyers should prefer units that are easy to operate, particularly in screening programs where operators may have less training and experience.

2. Speech eudiometry is not a recommended feature in audiometers used for screening purposes. For this purpose, pure-tone audiometers, at minimum, should be capable of testing at frequencies of 500 to 6,000 Hz.

3. Standard clinical eudiometry testing is performed over a range of 250 to 8,000 Hz. OSHA does not require bone-conduction testing for annual or baseline audiograms. However, it can be useful in determining diagnosis in a clinical setting.

4. The frequency accuracy should be within 3% for most testing; for some clinical applications, accuracy within 1% is recommended.

5. For clinical testing and diagnosis the audiometers should be at least type 3 as specified by ANSI S2.6-1996. Type 1 may be required under certain conditions and are recommended for clinical environments where a full range of testing applications must be met.

6. Speech-testing capabilities may also be needed for clinical audiometers. For this purpose, the audiometer should be designated at least type C. Standardized specially prepared speech material from tape or CD input is preferred to microphone input, to ensure consistent testing and results among subjects.

7. For both clinical and screening applications, it is recommended that half-octave or octave steps are available. Testing at half-octave frequencies is often used to verify that the subject's hearing level does not change significantly within an octave.

8. Facilities should consider the earphones for any type of audiometric testing. Those used to deliver the signal to the subject should include one earphone for each ear.

9. Insert earphones are preferred because they are generally lighter and provide a better fit than supra-aural earphones. They offer greater protection against the signal being heard by the opposite ear.

10. Free-field testing is not normally recommended for screening purposes. It may be a good alternative to earphones when testing small children who may not tolerate earphones. It is also used in certain hearing-aid assessments.

11. To ensure that one ear is not compensating for the other during the test, masking noise should be available for clinical testing.

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