Automated Pure-Tone Audiometry: An Analysis of Capacity, Need, and Benefit Purpose The rationale for automating pure-tone audiometry based on the need for hearing tests and the capacity of audiologists to provide testing is presented. The personnel time savings from automated testing are analyzed. Some possible effects of automated testing on the profession are explored. Method Need for testing ... Perspective
Perspective  |   December 01, 2008
Automated Pure-Tone Audiometry: An Analysis of Capacity, Need, and Benefit
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert H. Margolis
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Audiology Inc., Minneapolis
  • Donald E. Morgan
    Hearing Resource Group, Encino, CA
  • Disclosure Statement
    Disclosure Statement×
    The first author and Audiology Inc. develop and license automated hearing tests for commercial distribution. The second author is president of Hearing Resource Group, Inc., a consulting and management services company providing business and clinical solutions for ENT-based audiology practices.
    The first author and Audiology Inc. develop and license automated hearing tests for commercial distribution. The second author is president of Hearing Resource Group, Inc., a consulting and management services company providing business and clinical solutions for ENT-based audiology practices.×
  • Contact author: Robert H. Margolis, University of Minnesota, Department of Otolaryngology, MMC 396, Minneapolis, MN 55445. E-mail: margo001@umn.edu.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Perspective
Perspective   |   December 01, 2008
Automated Pure-Tone Audiometry: An Analysis of Capacity, Need, and Benefit
American Journal of Audiology, December 2008, Vol. 17, 109-113. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2008/07-0047)
History: Received December 20, 2007 , Revised June 4, 2008 , Accepted July 11, 2008
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2008, Vol. 17, 109-113. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2008/07-0047)
History: Received December 20, 2007; Revised June 4, 2008; Accepted July 11, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 32

Purpose The rationale for automating pure-tone audiometry based on the need for hearing tests and the capacity of audiologists to provide testing is presented. The personnel time savings from automated testing are analyzed. Some possible effects of automated testing on the profession are explored.

Method Need for testing was based on prevalence of hearing impairment, number of normal hearing patients seen for testing, and an assumption of the frequency of testing. Capacity is based on the number of audiologists and the number of audiograms performed in a typical workday. Time savings were estimated from the average duration of an audiogram and an assumption that 80% can be automated.

Results A large gap exists between the need and the capacity of audiologists to provide testing. Automating 80% of audiograms would only partially close the gap. A significant time savings could accrue, permitting reallocation of time for doctoral level services.

Conclusion Although certain jobs could be affected, the gap between capacity and need is so great that automated audiometry will not significantly affect employment. Automation could increase the number of hearing impaired patients that could be served. The reallocation of personnel time would be a positive change for our patients and our profession.

Acknowledgments
Some of the material in this article was presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, November 2007, in Boston. Portions of this article were published in Insights in Practice for Clinical Audiology, January 2008; republished with permission of GN Otometrics, North America.
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