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? 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 (like the Basic Auditory Test CD) 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.