Cutting-Edge Hearing Testing Technology Allows for Easy, Low-Cost Testing

by Katie-Leigh Corder: For More Info, Go Here…

Studies by the University of Northern Colorado show that a new portable device can detect hearing loss without the need of a sound booth.

The new technology was developed with grant funding from the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovative Research program and developed in partnership with Creare Inc., an engineering research and development firm. Deanna Meinke, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences (image at right), was the principal investigator on the project and worked with Creare engineers to design and test the wireless, automated hearing test system.

Receiving a hearing test usually requires an individual to travel to a medical clinic, hospital or specialty practice with the use of specialized equipment in a sound-treated booth that’s operated by an audiologist.

The audiometer is built into the headset and automatically controlled by a tablet computer, which can be operated by untrained individuals. The entire test typically takes between 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The headset was also designed to reduce background noise levels in order to allow for testing outside of a clinical sound booth.

This opens the door to more affordable and portable hearing testing as well as innovative research and experience with cutting-edge technology for students. Recent graduates and audiologists Ashley Stumpf, Au.D., and Jen Ruths, Au.D., used this device as part of their doctoral capstone research projects. They demonstrated its usefulness in different test environments within the northern Colorado community.

Identifying Hearing Loss in Refugee and Immigrant Communities

Ruths worked with 20 immigrant and refugee adults at the Immigrant and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado to administer the test to them with the help of the center’s interpreters using five different languages. If hearing loss was identified, Ruths referred individuals to local medical clinics and discussed additional resources the center might leverage to help those with hearing loss who are also taking classes at the center.

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