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Traditional vs digital mobile audiometers - what’s the difference?
Traditional vs digital mobile audiometers - what’s the difference?

Audiometry is a hearing test that evaluates a person’s ability to hear sounds of different frequencies and intensities. This auditory test is crucial for identifying hearing problems in individuals and is commonly used in clinical and industrial settings. Audiometers are the essential instruments used for conducting audiometry tests, and there are two types of audiometers - traditional and digital mobile audiometers. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of audiometers and discuss their features.

Traditional audiometers are the standard machines used for conducting audiometry tests. They are usually stationary and require a sound booth (enclosed space that isolates the patient from external noise) for accurate results. This audiometer consists of a set of headphones and a control panel generating pure tones at different frequencies and intensities, and the patient has to indicate when they can hear the sound. Traditional audiometers require a technician/qualified hearing healthcare provider to manually administer the test, adjusting the frequency and intensity of the sounds based on the patient’s responses. This test is called pure tone audiometry, and it is the most common type of audiometry test. Traditional audiometers are reliable and accurate, and can also test a wide range of frequencies and intensities, making them useful for diagnosing different types and degrees of hearing loss.

Digital mobile audiometers are a relatively new type of audiometer that uses modern and digital technology to make audiometry testing more accessible and convenient. These machines are portable handheld devices, usually smartphone/tablet-based, and can be used outside of a sound booth making them ideal for industrial audiometry testing. They use interactive audiometry software that can automatically adjust the frequency and intensity of the sounds based on the patient’s responses. automating the testing process and reducing the need for a technician. Digital mobile audiometers may have limited testing capabilities, with some only able to test a limited range of frequencies and intensities and also lack the ability to perform other diagnostic tests, such as tympanometry, which can provide additional information about the middle ear.

One example of a digital mobile audiometer is hearTest by hearX Group. hearTest is a certified pure tone audiometer on a tablet offering the capabilities of a traditional clinical audiometer with the advantages of a mobile digital solution, and uses calibrated headphones with an extended high frequency option. Traditional and digital mobile audiometers have their advantages and disadvantages.

Traditional audiometers are accurate and can be used to conduct comprehensive audiometry tests, but they can be bulky and time-consuming to use. Digital mobile audiometers are portable, more convenient and can be used outside of a sound booth, but they may not be as accurate as traditional audiometers. Ultimately, the choice between traditional and digital mobile audiometers will depend on the specific needs of the patient and the setting in which the test is being performed. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more innovations in audiometry testing, making it more accessible and convenient for everyone.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Hearing screening. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/hearing-screening/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Hearing screening for newborns. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/screening.html

hearX Group. (n.d.). hearScreen. Retrieved from https://www.hearxgroup.com/hearscreen

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2021). Hearing screening. Retrieved from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-screening

World Health Organization. (2017). WHO global estimates on prevalence of hearing loss. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241510655
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