Computer-Assisted Audiometry and Technicians in a High-Volume Practice The Audiology Department of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently developed and put into service a computer-assisted audiometer that made it possible to train audiometric technicians quickly to reliably obtain accurate pure-tone threshold and word-recognition data from the majority of its patients. The purpose of this Edge Report is ... Edge Report
Edge Report  |   November 01, 1993
Computer-Assisted Audiometry and Technicians in a High-Volume Practice
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Aaron Thornton, PhD
    Audiology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114-3096
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Edge Reports
Edge Report   |   November 01, 1993
Computer-Assisted Audiometry and Technicians in a High-Volume Practice
American Journal of Audiology, November 1993, Vol. 2, 11-13. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0203.11
 
American Journal of Audiology, November 1993, Vol. 2, 11-13. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0203.11
The Audiology Department of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently developed and put into service a computer-assisted audiometer that made it possible to train audiometric technicians quickly to reliably obtain accurate pure-tone threshold and word-recognition data from the majority of its patients. The purpose of this Edge Report is to describe the structure and operation of a pilot technician program that was adapted to our specific needs over the past 4 months, noting the policies that were implemented to ensure the professional jurisdiction of audiologists.
In past years we could not justify using technicians in our facility. Threshold audiometry for patients being diagnosed and treated for ear disease is considerably more complicated than the typical screening audiometry done by technicians in other settings, so we would have to provide a lengthy training program as well as intensive supervision to maintain quality. Audiometric skill is difficult, and audiologists may not achieve asymptotic proficiency for several years, given the wide range of special problems that may be encountered with difficult patients. Although audiometric technicians should be able to develop many of the specific skills used by audiologists, they do not have the same foundations to draw on for self-improvement, nor can they be expected to test the most challenging cases as well as an audiologist with similar experience. Consequently, the extensive training and supervisory costs for audiometric technicians in relation to final capability and expected length of employment have not been cost-effective for our setting.
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