An audiometer is specialized equipment, which is used for identification of hearing loss in individuals, and the quantitative determination of the degree and nature of such a loss.
An audiometer is an electronic device for testing hearing. Earphones are placed over the ears (air-conduction testing), or a bone vibrator is placed on the mastoid (bone conduction testing).
Hearing is tested by using tones from very low to very high frequencies at various decibels of intensity. The patient signals when a tone is heard, and the lowest level at which the patient hears is noted on an audiogram.
Audiometers may be divided into two main groups on the basis of the type of stimulus they produce to elicit auditory response: pure tone audiometer and speech audiometer.
An alternative to hardware audiometers are software audiometers, which are available in many different configurations. Screening PC-based audiometers use a standard computer and can be run by anybody in their home to test their hearing, although their accuracy is not as high due to lack of a standard for calibration.
They are most commonly used in hospitals, audiology centers and research communities.
Audiometers are standard equipment at ENT (ear, nose, and throat) clinics and in audiology centers.
Digital Audiometer is a computer software application for investigating hearing thresholds in a 0 Hz to 22,000 Hz frequency range and -20 dB to 100 dB SPL range.
It runs on popular desktop hardware, including portable computers, and does not require any external or internal proprietary devices. It is very precise, easy to use, and due to the stability of digital circuitry, needs to be calibrated only once.
Pure tone audiometry (PTA) is the key hearing test used to identify hearing threshold levels of an individual, enabling determination of the degree, type and configuration of a hearing loss. Thus, providing the basis for diagnosis and management.
PTA is a subjective, behavioural measurement of hearing threshold, as it relies on patient response to pure tone stimuli. Therefore, PTA is used on adults and children old enough to cooperate with the test procedure.
PTA provides ear specific thresholds, and uses frequency specific pure tones to give place specific responses, so that the configuration of a hearing loss can be identified.
By means of speech audiometry it is tested how much intelligibility at different intensity levels is present. The test consists of a certain number of words presented via headphones or free field loudspeakers. These words the test person has to repeat. After finishing the test a percentage of how many words were correctly repeated can be derived.
Speech tests can be used for various purposes: evaluating how much intelligibility is left without using hearing instruments, predicting and evaluating the intelligibility improvement by means of hearing instruments and comparing intelligibility differences between different hearing instruments.
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