Complete Guide to Portable Audiometry and Why Your Business Needs It

Portable audiometry holds the potential to revolutionise hearing healthcare. Learn how eMoyo’s Kuduwave portable audiometer can transform your business.

What Is Portable Audiometry?

In the field of hearing healthcare (and in no small part thanks to the global Covid-19 pandemic) portable audiometry and tele-audiology are terms that keep cropping up more and more.
 
For many decades, clinicians have been carrying out diagnostic hearing tests using three pieces of hardware equipment: a headset, an audiometer and a sound-proofed booth.
 
However, advances in the field of audiology and medical technology have seen the arrival of the portable audiometer – an audiometry solution that combines the headset, audiometer and sound booth in one lightweight, compact device.
 
Of course, not all portable audiometers are created equal, but since its arrival on the healthcare landscape, the portable audiometer has been advancing access to affordable, diagnostic audiometry for millions of patients across the globe who otherwise would not have been able to benefit from hearing healthcare.
 
Kuduwave portable audiometer

Transforming the Traditional Hearing Healthcare Model

 

Having access to portable audiometry has completely overhauled the manner in which hearing healthcare practitioners, clinicians, occupational health officers, philanthropists, private companies and other organisations carry out their work.
 
The portable audiometer has been achieving this by empowering hearing healthcare professionals, businesses and organisations to reach and screen patients faster, more efficiently – and more cost-efficiently, all while still yielding highly accurate results.
Yet, to this day there is still much confusion about what constitutes a mobile and a portable audiometer. So, let’s start by taking a closer look at the differences between mobile and portable audiometry.
 

Mobile Vs. Portable Audiometry – What’s the Difference?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) states that the word “portable” refers to transportable equipment that is designed or intended to be moved between two locations while being carried by one or more individuals.
 
“Mobile”, according to ANSI, refers to equipment that is transportable, and intended to be moved from one to another location while being supported by its own wheels (or any equivalent means).
 
Therefore, going by the ANSI definitions, huge and bulky audiometric sound booths crammed with equipment that are independently moving around on wheels, by rail or by road, would fall firmly into the mobile audiometer category. Emoyo’s lightweight Kuduwave – which combines the sound booth, audiometer and headset in a single device – falls into the portable audiometer category.

What Does Truly Booth-Free Audiometry Mean?

As mentioned, there’s still much confusion among members of the hearing healthcare community about the differences between mobile and portable audiometry. This has led to many misperceptions about the capabilities of the Kuduwave, and the efficacy of portable audiometry as a whole.
 
To complicate matters further, along with the arrival of the smartphone and mobile technology, a misperception took hold that the term “mobile audiometer” refers to mobile hearing apps.
 
It is important to note that mobile audiometric apps do not possess the diagnostic capabilities to allow for diagnostic audiometry. Mobile hearing apps are software applications downloaded by users onto their mobile devices for audiometric purposes. They cannot be compared to diagnostic audiometers, such as Kuduwave portable audiometers, which have the capability to attenuate ambient noise to allow for testing down to 0 dB.
 
Consequently, results obtained from mobile audiometric apps cannot be compared with those from a diagnostic audiometer, such as a Kuduwave portable audiometer.
 
“A mobile audiometric app is not a mobile audiometer. Mobile audiometric apps are usually used for screening purposes and lack the ability to attenuate ambient noise sufficiently to allow for threshold searching down to 0 dB HL across the frequency range.” – Dr Dirk Koekemoer, eMoyo Founder

The Only Truly Booth-Free Audiometers in the World

What makes the Kuduwave Pro and the Kuduwave Pro-TMP portable audiometers so remarkable, is that they are the only truly booth-free diagnostic audiometers currently available in the world.
 
“As eMoyo, we can confidently make the claim that the Kuduwave Pro-TMP and the Kuduwave Pro are the only truly booth-free diagnostic audiometers available in the world today,” says eMoyo founder Dr Dirk Koekemoer.
 
“This is because both the Kuduwave Pro-TMP and the Kuduwave Pro’s clinical validation, as per ISO-14155 certification and MEDDEV (Medical Devices) guidance confirms that these portable audiometers can conduct screening and diagnostic pure-tone and speech audiometry, and also acoustic immittance measurements, outside of a sound-treated booth.”

Understanding Tele-Audiology
& Tele-Medicine

A big part of what makes truly portable audiometry so groundbreaking is the fact that it employs tele-audiology functionality. But what exactly do the terms “tele-audiology” and “telemedicine” mean – and how do they work?
 
The concept of telemedicine sees healthcare practitioners and their patients, each in their own location, virtually conducting consultations. In the case of hearing healthcare, such tele-audiology consultations would take place between audiologists or clinicians and their patients, while consultations would most likely include a hearing test.
 

What Is Required to Make Use of Tele-audiology?

To enable tele-audiology consultations, both clinician and patient will require an internet connection, various pieces of technology hardware (including a PC or laptop with a built-in or external camera, sound speakers and a microphone, as well as video conferencing software) and, of course, a portable audiometer and its accompanying user software for conducting the audiometric hearing test.
 
Conducting remote hearing tests using tele-audiology is not just simpler, safer and more convenient for both parties, such consultations are also much more affordable to patients, while being a cost-effective alternative for the clinician from a business point of view.

Tele-audiology in the Time of Covid-19

Another significant advantage of tele-audiology is that, in the time of a global pandemic, it is a far safer means of testing patients’ hearing, so greatly enhancing patient care.
 
In fact, the benefits of virtual healthcare consultations in the time of Covid-19 are manifold.
 
  • Tele-audiology eliminates the need for patients to travel to doctors’ consulting rooms for treatment, allowing them to avoid crowded buses, train stations, waiting areas and close contact with others who may be contagious.
  • Telemedicine also eliminates the challenges of long distances and related travel costs for patients who live out in remote or rural areas, or for patients who don’t have the means to undertake costly journeys for treatment.
According to Dr Norbert Ndjeka, Chief Director, TB Control and Management at South Africa’s National Department of Health,“Telemedicine, or rather, telehealth, is crucial, I see it as the medicine of the future. I think Covid has taught us all a big lesson. It made us take note of the importance of telemedicine and working remotely. We now know telemedicine is possible and that it can work very effectively.”
 
Under the esteemed Dr Ndjeka’s guidance, South Africa’s number of MDR-TB treatment initiation sites has grown from 17 in 2011 to 658 at present.

 

Read our insightful interview with Dr Ndjeka, and learn more about the value that the Kuduwave portable audiometer is adding to South Africa’s national MDR-TB programme.

How NASA Astronauts Are Using the Tele-Audiology-Enabled Kuduwave

Tele-audiology functionality is also what makes the Kuduwave portable audiometer
ideal for self-testing by astronauts aboard NASA’s International Space Station (ISS).
 
According to Dr Richard Danielson, recently retired Manager for Audiology & Hearing Conservation, Human Health & Performance at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston: “NASA recently deployed a modified Kuduwave portable audiometer to the International Space Station (ISS). Space-X’s Crew-2 astronauts used this Kuduwave to successfully complete an inaugural series of audiometry and tympanometry tests aboard the ISS. The Kuduwave’s unique noise attenuation and noise monitoring features are well suited for the challenge of assessing hearing in ambient noise levels created by the ISS’s multiple fans and hardware systems.”

 

Learn more about how eMoyo’s modified Kuduwave Pro-TMP portable audiometer made it all the way to the International Space Station.
 

The Transformative Power of Portable Audiometry

It is no exaggeration to say that portable audiometry holds the potential to transform the way in which audiologists and other hearing healthcare professionals run their practices and carry out their day-to-day work.
 
One example of this incredible potential is Tukiso Matlakala, a young Johannesburg-based audiologist, speech therapist and entrepreneur (or Kudupreneur, as eMoyo refers to inspirational hearing healthcare professionals like Tukiso).
 
Tukiso owns three Kuduwave portable audiometers and, with the help of an assistant, runs a wholly mobile and very successful hearing healthcare practice.
 

Testing Patients’ Hearing in Their Homes

Instead of patients coming to his practice, Tukiso visits his patients in their homes, where he tests their hearing using one of his Kuduwave portable audiometers. Often, he does the fittings for his patients’ hearing aids during the very same consultation.
 
Says Tukiso: “Having a Kuduwave definitely enhances my service offering to patients. It certainly makes my job a lot easier and it also makes my services more affordable. There are so many benefits to using a Kuduwave portable audiometer – the fact that it is so incredibly portable, that I can carry it around in my hands. Also, it masks sound very efficiently, and it allows me to do highly accurate audiometric testing and diagnostic work in an extremely efficient way.”

 

Read our full interview with Tukiso Matlakala.

How Portable Audiometry Is Empowering Companies and Organisations

 

Portable audiometry eliminates the need for a stationary sound-proofed booth. This means that the portable audiometer truly holds the potential to transform the traditional audiology practice, and the existing hearing healthcare model as a whole.

Portable Audiometry Saves Time and Money

Not having to rely on a stationary audiometric booth to carry out testing makes hearing healthcare far more affordable, for both the clinician and the patient, who also saves on travel costs and other related expenses.
 
By employing medical technology such as tele-audiology, clinically validated portable audiometry empowers healthcare workers, clinicians, organisations, companies, philanthropists, and even private individuals around the globe to offer faster, simpler and more affordable hearing healthcare, without ever compromising on quality of testing, or accuracy of results.
 
This includes facilitating rapid, high-volume testing in occupational health environments, where time is always of the essence.
 
By using a portable audiometer instead of a stationary sound booth, businesses that are required by law to regularly screen the hearing of their employees can now carry out such testing much faster and, very importantly, much more cost-efficiently.
 
Audiometers specifically designed for rapid, high-volume workplace screening are not only fast and affordable, but also extremely robust, as they are designed specifically to withstand knocks, drops and other workplace accidents.
 
Such screening audiometers are widely used in many different occupational environments, most often in on-site settings such as mines, offshore drilling environments and casinos, to name but a few.
 
This is what occupational health officer Frank Aversa from Asanko Gold Mine had to say about his experience of using a Kuduwave:
“eMoyo has created one of the greatest inventions in audiology. It is indisputably simple, accurate, consistent and valid as compared to other-form manual and automated audiometers. It saved my clinic a huge sum of dollars to not have to soundproof an audiometry room.”
Watch the video below to learn more about how Kuduwave portable audiometer has empowered audiologist Michelle Ash in her work:

Michelle Ash Audiologist Interview

Portable Audiometers Increase Patient Reach

Portable audiometers are designed to be lightweight, ergonomic, robust and highly portable, making it much simpler and more affordable to reach patients living in remote areas who are in need of accurate, reliable hearing healthcare.
 
Many portable audiometers are also telemedicine-enabled. This feature empowers users around the globe to work with far greater safety and efficiency, eliminating the obstacles of distance and related travel expenses.
 
Incredibly valuable in the time of Covid-19, telemedicine functionality also empowers users to test more patients, as they can now carry out their work faster as well as remotely, from almost any location and in real-time.
 
Telemedicine functionality further allows users to enjoy the convenience of storing patient data and records securely in the Cloud.
 

Portable Audiometers Empower Outreach Programmes To Take Hearing Healthcare Further

When it comes to hearing conservation outreach programmes in remote areas, the advantages of having access to a fully portable, tele-audiology enabled, clinically validated diagnostic audiometer needs no explaining.
 
This is what Dr Nimet Adam, president of Hearing Partners of Florida in the USA, had to say about her experience of using a Kuduwave portable audiometer on hearing conservation outreach programmes:
“If you’re hesitant to try the Kuduwave, don’t be. I would vouch for it, it’s a great product. If I were to open another practice, I would not pay money to make a sound booth. I would buy a Kuduwave.”
But it is not just philanthropists who are using portable audiometers to bring hearing healthcare to patients living in remote areas. For example, the Kuduwave portable audiometer is also being put to use with great success by governments worldwide, among them the government of 1,904,569 square-kilometre island nation Indonesia.
 
According to eMoyo COO Jillian Scotland, “Indonesia has more than 17 000 islands, and they take their Kuduwave portable audiometers out to those islands by boat. Both Indonesian government health officials and private clinicians use their Kuduwaves to test patients’ hearing on-site during clinic and outreach programmes, as well as in their homes.”
 

Portable Audiometers Enhance Patient Care

Use of a portable audiometer greatly enhances patient care, as it allows hearing healthcare practitioners and clinicians to test patients in their homes, hospitals, retirement homes and at field clinics, to name just a few examples.
 
Numerous patients also report that they prefer having their hearing tested with a portable audiometer, as this enables them to communicate face-to-face with their audiologist, as opposed to an audiometric booth, where they are completely isolated from the outside world.
 
Louanne Waters Kuduwave interview

 

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Choosing a Trusted Portable Audiometer

When new technological advancements are made in any industry, it is common for misperceptions to arise. This is a result of users still becoming familiar with all the facts concerning such new technologies, sometimes referred to as med-tech disruptors.
In fact, resistance to industry disruptors such as the Kuduwave range of portable audiometers is a very common occurrence, and it often takes time for industry players and professionals to really get to know and trust new and emerging technologies in their fields.

 

To learn more about this interesting phenomenon, read our blog on industry disruptors.

Why Clinicians Trust eMoyo’s Kuduwave Portable Audiometer

The advantages a Kuduwave portable audiometer holds for your audiology or ENT practice, school, workplace or organisation are manifold.
 
For example, did you know that this revolutionary med tech device is ISO-13485 certified, FDA-listed, CE-mark certified for medical devices, and are compliant with all IEC, ANSI and SANS standards for audiometry, tympanometry, and calibration?
 
These credentials truly put the Kuduwave in a category all of its own, with no other competitors currently capable of matching the technology which lends the Kuduwave portable audiometer its superior, one-of-a-kind functionality.

 

Download eMoyo’s brochure to find out more about the Kuduwave.
 

4 Advantages of Using Kuduwave Portable Audiometers (for Both Users and Patients)

1. The Kuduwave Makes Boothless Testing Reality

The Kuduwave portable audiometer is fully boothless, offering screening, diagnostics, speech testing, assistive interpretation functions and a suite of patient management tools.
 
It also allows users to store data and test results in the Cloud, along with tele-audiology functionality. The boothless Kuduwave audiometer is compact and highly portable, offering patients greater access to healthcare and users reduced costs. The Kuduwave offers both users and patients the opportunity to save both time and money.
 

2. The Kuduwave Improves Testing Quality

The Kuduwave portable audiometer replaces traditional analogue components with highly accurate and reliable digital components, improving the quality of testing itself.
This includes the ability to objectively verify the calibration of the device to further assure quality control and the accuracy of results.
 

3. The Kuduwave Enables an Enhanced Testing Experience for Both Clinicians and Patients

By doing away with the need for a sound booth, the Kuduwave portable audiometer improves the overall testing experience for both patients and clinicians.
 
Patients often complain of anxiety, claustrophobia and a lack of connection with the clinician during testing using a south booth. Using a Kuduwave to test hearing, patients benefit from open-air testing and diagnostics, while enjoying personal, face-to-face communication with the clinician, rather than through a small window.
 

4. The Kuduwave Offers the Convenience of Automated Testing

The addition of automatic testing functions means that testing with a Kuduwave portable audiometer can be performed by suitably trained technicians, rather than specialists.
 
Specialists can then rather focus their efforts on overseeing multiple Kuduwave tests remotely. This function significantly reduces costs while expanding the reach of specialists, further improving access to hearing healthcare for patients.
 
According to Dr Norbert Ndjeka, Chief Director, TB Control and Management at SA’s National Department of Health, “The Kuduwave’s simplicity of use has made our job so much easier. Various healthcare professionals with diverse backgrounds are using it to test our patients’ hearing, and yes, the fact that it’s so easy to use is a big plus for us and our programme – and for the device itself.”
 
Kuduwave portable audiometer
 
 

Answers to Some Common Questions About the Kuduwave

Is the Kuduwave Truly Portable?

Yes, it is. The Kuduwave plugs into a laptop via USB cable and requires no independent power source to operate. The device was designed to be lightweight and highly portable, as well as highly accurate, without the need to test inside a sound-proof booth.

 

Are the Kuduwave's Test Results As Accurate As When Testing Patients Using a Sound Booth?

Yes, it is. The Kuduwave has been the subject of several published scientific studies.
 
The device is clinically validated and has been proven multiple times in various published scientific studies to yield test results that are just as accurate as when testing hearing using a traditional sound booth.

 

How Will the Patient Data from My Kuduwave Portable Audiometer Be Stored?

Users’ patient data is stored in folders on their laptops or, alternatively, in the Cloud. Users input and access their patient data using eMoyo’s EMR audiometry software from a simple and intuitive, user-friendly software interface.

 

Empower Your Business With a Clinically Validated Kuduwave Portable Audiometer

While advances in the field of audiometry are ongoing, and technology keeps evolving, we’re sure you’d agree that the clinically validated Kuduwave, as used by NASA astronauts, hearing healthcare practitioners, organisations and governments worldwide, will be a significant and valuable contribution to any audiology or ENT practice.
 
It will also enhance any hearing conservation outreach programme where portable audiometry is essential to ensuring that high-quality hearing healthcare is within the reach of all those in need of it.
 
For more information about eMoyo’s Kuduwave range, or to learn more about how your practice, business or organisation can benefit from portable audiometry, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
 

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eMoyo Kuduwave Pro Tmp Audiometer 07-1

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