An audiometer is a medical device used to test a patient’s hearing abilities. Recorded sounds are played through a pair of headphones and the patient wearing them reports whether or not they are able to hear those sounds. A clinician uses this data to determine what frequencies and intensities of sound the patient is capable of hearing.
Audiometers are used for a variety of purposes by audiologists, hospitals, ear, nose and throat doctors (ENTs), and researchers. Some of the more common uses for these machines are testing for hearing loss, imbalances between ears, inner ear issues, and determining whether a patient needs a hearing aid.
Features of audiometers
Most modern audiometers are lightweight, portable and able to function without a sound booth, unlike older audiometers.
Some audiometers use bone conductor technology and put bone oscillators behind the patient’s ear, rather than headphones.
How audiometers work
Audiometers generally play recorded voices or pure tones. Many times the patients will hit a button or a switched on the device to acknowledge they’ve heard a sound, and the device will record this information. The patient may also directly inform the clinician that they’ve heard a sound. With this information, the audiometer software, or the clinician, will determine the patients hearing range in terms of both intensity (in decibels) and frequency (in hertz). This data is used to create an audiograph, which helps to illustrate the patient's specific hearing issues.