By Laura Prigge, AuD
Whether you’ve been established for years or are opening a new practice, one of the biggest challenges in audiology is deciding on equipment purchases. Audiometers are an important investment to meet a clinic’s needs. They allow the clinician to perform pure tone and speech audiometry, which are building blocks for diagnosis and treatment plans.
Depending on the practice, additional testing may be required. For example, a pediatric practice may require the ability to integrate VRA or Auditory Processing Evaluations which require a full two-channel audiometer. On the other hand, primarily dispensing clinics need basic air/bone/speech capabilities, speech-in-noise testing, and reliable connectivity to a PC.
Audiometers and Dispensing Clinics
Dispensing clinics typically have a patient population that is searching for a solution to their communication needs. The patients are primarily adults who have identified difficulty hearing in social situations and want to explore treatment options such as hearing aids.
For evaluating this population, the GSI Pello, a 1.5 channel audiometer, provides the clinician with the tools needed to efficiently diagnose and develop a treatment plan. There are some limitations when choosing a 1.5 channel audiometer, such as routing and special tests. These limitations, however, should not have a negative effect on the diagnosis of the patient population of a dispensing clinic.
The standard model of the GSI Pello will allow the clinician to perform necessary tests for a thorough diagnosis, and is equipped with over 150 internal speech files. These files include Basic Auditory Tests (Adult and Child) and Basic Auditory Tests II that have several Spondee lists for speech reception testing and lists for speech discrimination that include PBK-50s, W-22s, and NU-6s. Also included are the DOD VA CDs and the Spanish Speech Lists. These tests have all been licensed for use by GSI and are installed at the factory prior to shipping.
Improved Data Management
Another key advantage to 1.5 channel audiometer devices, like the GSI Pello, is data management. On the GSI Pello, for example, test results get stored on the device and can be seamlessly transferred to a computer with a single button press.
Additionally, the device’s data management software—GSI Suite—can be used as a stand-alone database. The GSI Suite can also be used as a module of OtoAccess and a module of Noah. When data is transferred to GSI Suite as a module of Noah, test results are shared with hearing aid fitting modules and displayed without having to re-enter audiometric values. This is designed to improve convenience for hearing aid fittings and for real-ear measurements.
Evaluate Clinic Needs
Ultimately, clinics should evaluate their needs before selecting a new audiometer. Determine the patient population and the test that you want to be a part of your patients’ journey. Figure out how you want to manage patient data and how data management will tie into their journey.
Laura Prigge, AuD, is the manager of Clinical Education and Training for Grason-Stadler. Information about the differences between 1.5 and 2 channel audiometers can be found here: https://www.grason-stadler.com/blog/2023/1-5-vs-2-channel-audiometers