Audiology Equipment Advice

Occasionally, Auditec receives questions about purchasing audiology equipment. Does Auditec sell equipment? What CD player should I buy? Will your CDs work with my audiometer? What equipment do you recommend? fb VU Meter Info web page Auditec does not sell any equipment and does not endorse any brand. This affords us the opportunity to offer some unbiased advice on buying equipment.

To start, consider how your equipment can satisfy your specific needs. Ask yourself some questions to evaluate your needs. How much physical space do I have for my equipment? What is my budget? Will I need portable equipment? What is the age range of my patients?

Auditec compact discs play in all CD players and everywhere else you can play standard audio CDs (like computers). CD players sound pretty much the same no matter how expensive they are so you can save a few dollars by purchasing a relatively inexpensive CD player. Since CDs can degrade when you leave them in the player, we do not recommend buying a multi-disc changer. If you may need to test in other locations, you may consider purchasing a portable CD player. (This article was edited on March 23, 2017 to include recent research by Jennifer M. Brace and Robert W. Keith.) Recent research has concluded normal listeners tested using the mp3 audio files of speech discrimination tests produce the same valid results as when tested using the wav audio files on compact discs.

There are a variety of audiometers on the market. Regardless of what brand you choose, make sure you purchase a two-channel audiometer. Even some of the most basic Auditec recordings have different information recorded to the left and right channels. For instance, a word list may be recorded to the left channel while noise is recorded to the right. If you want to use the word list in quiet, you could use your left channel only. If you want to mix it with noise, you would use your left and right channels. Be sure your equipment is set up properly from the very start. If possible, spend some time getting to know your audiometer dealer and hold onto his or her contact information in case you have questions in the future.

Some of the best audiologists are not skilled in technology use. If that’s you, make sure the audiometer you select is easy to operate. Some audiometers come with speech already loaded on them. Unfortunately, we have heard some horror stories about the quality and clarity of these pre-loaded recordings. Make certain that your audiometer does not limit your test selection so that you can improve, expand, and update your test library in the future.

If you plan to accept pediatric patients, it may be useful to have a computer in the testing room. Some tests for young children (like NU-CHIPs) include pictures as pdf files so patients can view the pictures on their computers. Some Auditec customers have reported that the use of a computer engages children better than the use of a book. However, convenience or a lack of space may cause you to prefer simply purchase a classic NU-CHIPs picture book or use the picture CD-Rom to print the pictures and put them in a three-ring binder.

Ultimately, the evaluation of your specific needs and preferences should shape your decisions about the best audiology equipment for you. Whether you are just starting out or considering a change, Auditec wishes you the very best luck as you shop for audiology equipment that is appropriate and easy to use.

Forty Familiar Sounds

Forty Familiar Sounds is a recording that is considered to be useful when testing the non-verbal or difficult to test. These forty sound effects are offered as attention-getting stimuli. Most of the sounds are familiar, while the remaining sounds, by their strange and/or unusual nature, were designed to attract attention. Some of the sounds are: trains, sirens, crowds, airplanes, motorcycles, horses, dog barking, breaking glass, guns, cuckoo clocks, gongs, chimes, etc.

Forty Familiar Sounds includes a) audio recording, and b) printed list. This product does not include instructions or normative data. It is assumed that purchasers of Auditec’s auditory recordings are well trained in their use, purpose, and interpretation. Call 1-800-669-9065 (from US) or 314-416-1050 (outside the US) to order. Available from Auditec, Inc. FREE shipping within the contiguous US.

Forty Familiar Sounds; Item 154; Price $60.50 USD + S&H*
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NOTE: Online ordering cannot be used for custom CDs. If you want this recording combined on a CD with other recordings, please email auditecinfo@auditec.com with your test selections along with your state or country instead of using the “Buy Now” button. You will receive a Paypal invoice for your custom order.

*INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: Online ordering does not include shipping and handling charges. Please email auditecinfo@auditec.com with your test selections along with your state or country for an exact quote. If you use online ordering, you will be invoiced later for the shipping charges.

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Paired Comparison Sentences

Paired Comparison Sentences consists of a series of sentences, repeated twice, for use as in a forced choice paradigm. These sentence pairs can be used to determine most and maximum comfort levels during hearing aid evaluation procedures. These sentences are not designed for word recognition measures.

Paired Comparison Sentences includes a) audio recording, and b) instructions and list. The one-page instructions have sections on format, procedure, and results. There is no normative data for this product because it is not used to measure against a normal population. Available from Auditec, Inc. Call 1-800-669-9065 (from US) or 314-416-1050 (outside the US) to order. FREE shipping to the contiguous US.

Paired Comparison Sentences; Item 188; Price $59.50 USD + S&H*
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NOTE: Online ordering cannot be used for custom CDs. If you want this recording combined on a CD with other recordings, please email auditecinfo@auditec.com with your test selections along with your state or country instead of using the “Buy Now” button. You will receive a Paypal invoice for your custom order.

*INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: Online ordering does not include shipping and handling charges. Please email auditecinfo@auditec.com with your test selections along with your state or country for an exact quote. If you use online ordering, you will be invoiced later for the shipping charges.

⇒This test is available in Spanish on the Spanish Auditory Test CD.

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Nonsense Syllable Test

The Nonsense Syllable Test (NST) (also known as the Edgerton-Danhauer Nonsense Syllable Test) is considered similar to a word recognition or speech discrimination test. Watch the video demonstration below. (Scroll down.)

Several advantages of nonsense syllable materials over words include: increased analytic accuracy, less contamination by memory effects, less susceptibility to word familiarity effects, easier test construction and more sensitivity to the presence of auditory pathology.

All the data collected on the NST have shown that it is as easy to administer and score these as most of the traditional tests. Score sheets are available in both the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and an easy dictionary pronunciation format. The NST consists of two 25-element lists in six randomizations. It is considered suitable for both children and adults.

The Nonsense Syllable Test includes a) audio recording, and b) instructions and score form as printable pdf files. The nine-page instructions include background, scoring, and interpretation information. Normative data is included, but it is not age-specific because the test developer observed little or no age effects. Call 1-800-669-9065 (from US) or 314-416-1050 (outside the US) to order. Available from Auditec, Inc. FREE shipping to contiguous US.

Nonsense Syllable Test; Item 190; Price $80.50 USD + S&H*
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NOTE: Online ordering cannot be used for custom CDs. If you want this recording combined on a CD with other recordings, please email auditecinfo@auditec.com with your test selections along with your state or country instead of using the “Buy Now” button. You will receive a Paypal invoice for your custom order.

*INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: Online ordering does not include shipping and handling charges. Please email auditecinfo@auditec.com with your test selections along with your state or country for an exact quote. If you use online ordering, you will be invoiced later for the shipping charges.

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Short Interval Recordings

Written by William F. Carver, Ph.D., FAAA, FASHA, CCC(A)ret.

A little more about live voice vs. recorded testing. One of the major reasons that I hear from those who defend the practice of using live voice is that recorded tests take too long.  Typically, we use four seconds as the interstimulus interval.  This period of silence between stimuli appears to be sufficient for most people to hear the word, decide what it is and repeat it.  I have and I’m sure that most audiologists have, experienced extremely slow responders where even four seconds is inadequate. On the other hand, we experience the quick responders for whom a couple of seconds is sufficient.  Auditec has, therefore, produced recordings with shortened interstimulus intervals of 2.5 seconds.  I know of many audiologists who have taken advantage of these recordings quite successfully.  (For the occasional slow responder, one can employ the pause button on their playback device.)

Short interval recordings are available from Auditec, Inc. The most popular version is the NU-6 Ordered by Difficulty Version II.

WORD RECOGNITION TESTING, LIVE VOICE VS. RECORDED

Written by William F. Carver, Ph.D., FAAA, FASHA, CCC(A)ret.

You receive a referral from an audiologist.  An audiogram which includes a word recognition score is sent with the patient.  What can you tell from the word recognition score?  Nothing!   What list was used; W-22, NU-6, or PBK lists?  Did the audiologist use live voice, or was it from a recording?  Was it from a commercially available recording?  What is the articulation function (performance/intensity function) of the recording or of the audiologist’s voice? These variables can have a profound effect on  a word recognition score.

Presentations of cases (Grand Rounds) at conventions and meetings usually include an audiogram, SRT and word recognition scores…again what can you tell from the word recognition score?  If the presentation does not include information relative to how it was obtained with what materials, you have no real idea of the patient’s ability to discriminate speech.

To convey the crucial information about a person’s ability to communicate verbally, one must specify, not only the word recognition score, but must list: the list (i.e. W-22 or NU-6), the sensation level at which the test was administered, whether live voice or recorded.  If live voice, what is “normal?”  If from a recording, who’s recording (i.e. Auditec, dubbed from Technisonics, LAFO, QMass, etc.) ?

What variables control a word recognition score?  1.  The talker (the primary source of variation), 2. The presentation level, and 3. The list employed.

Word recognition (nee speech discrimination) is a slippery aspect of auditory tests.  Attempts have been made to standardize word recognition testing, but results have been disappointing.  Ideally, recorded tests that have been used throughout the area should be used.  And, ideally, one should not rely on a single score.  It has been shown that some sensory-neural patients will exhibit an articulation function that rises slowly and then curls over at higher levels.  Thus if one measures word recognition at a comparatively low level, it may be missed that a patient’s word recognition gets worse at higher levels.  A significant finding.

The point is, one should take the time to used recorded materials when testing for word recognition and ideally, especially in sensori-neural cases, obtain at least two measures at medium and high levels.

Adult word recognition lists like the NU-6 and W-22 and child word recognition lists like the PBK are available from Auditec, Inc.