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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 42  |  Page : 59--68

Reliability of audiometric thresholds obtained with insert earphones when used by certified audiometric technicians

1 RidgeGate Hearing Clinic, 10099 RidgeGate Parkway, #230, Lone Tree, CO 80124, USA
2 University of Northern Colorado, Audiology and Speech Language Sciences, Campus Box 140, Greeley, CO 80639, USA
3 University of Colorado, Boulder, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, 409 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309, USA

Correspondence Address:
Barbara Bell-Lehmkuhler
RidgeGate Hearing Clinic, 10099 RidgeGate Parkway, #230, Lone Tree, CO 80124
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.48563

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Clinical audiologists and audiometric equipment manufacturers have embraced the clinical use of insert earphones; however, their use in audiometric testing in occupational hearing loss prevention programs has been limited. This study was undertaken to research whether certified audiometric technicians without practical hands-on training could reliably use insert earphones when compared to a clinically experienced audiologist. Hearing thresholds were obtained on 60 human ears by six certified audiometric technicians using insert earphones for the first time. Technician-acquired audiometric thresholds were compared to thresholds obtained under the same conditions by a clinical audiologist experienced in the use of the insert earphones. Statistical analyses of audiometric thresholds were performed to investigate the relationships between audiometric threshold values at each frequency obtained by certified technicians vs. the audiologist. These relationships were examined for the group as a whole as well as when ear tip size and earphone insertion depth varied between the audiologist and the technicians. No significant differences (p > .01) were found between mean group thresholds at any of the test frequencies (500-8000 Hz). Mean group thresholds differed by <1.2 dB. Pearson Product-Moment correlation (PPMC) coefficients suggested that thresholds obtained by the audiometric technician were highly correlated with those obtained by the audiologist. There were no significant threshold differences (p > .01) even when the audiologist and technicians varied in their selection of ear tip size or in the amount of insertion depth achieved. This study suggests that CAOHC-certified audiometric technicians can reliably use insert earphones without practical training when testing in quiet environments by reading the earphone package directions provided by the manufacturer.


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