What are the differences between Paediatric and Adult Audiology Testing?
Acoustic audiology testing facilities with high levels of soundproofing and acoustic isolation are incredibly important when attempting to diagnose and treat patients with potential hearing problems. This controlled space prevents test results being affected by undesirable sounds and allows full control of audible stimuli by the medical testing staff. Guidelines provide the background noise levels required in line with ISO 8253-1 & 2and HTM 08-01 standards to ensure effective screening. It is also particularly important that the patient feels comfortable and as relaxed as possible to direct their full attention towards the test at hand. It is for this reason that the requirements for acoustic audiology test facilities may differ depending on whether the patient is an adult, youth, or a young child.
Adult audiology tests are advised to be conducted in a room approximately 4 – 4.5m2 based on a two-person occupancy (audiologist and the patient). Quite often the room itself may be a standard medical room with only basic acoustic soundproofing for the initial consultation and discussion. It is common for the testing itself to take place within an audiology testing booth that is placed within the room. This acoustic booth will provide enough space for the patient to sit comfortably inside. Once the door is closed, the booth provides the full soundproofing required to conduct a full and accurate test. The quieter the background noise levels, the greater the accuracy of results for patients. Better results, mean a more precise diagnosis.
Paediatric audiology testing provides several extra challenges as the patient is often far too young to have a full understanding of what is happening or have the concept explained to them. The room itself is advised to be much larger than an adult audiology test room, at approximately 24m2, as it should have the space to accommodate 5-6 people which includes 2 audiologists, the patient and up to two parents or guardians. This room should also have a separate adjoining observation room with a viewing window into the main room and with the space to comfortably accommodate a further audiologist to administer some of the tests. The viewing window can often be obscured with a reflective film or a printed design which is child friendly, enhancing the child’s comfort and reducing the awareness of external observation.
An uncomfortable infant or child will not respond well to testing so full ventilation and temperature control is essential as are diffused and dimmable lighting. Lighting is important to maintain a comfortable level for the patient, while also helping to reduce distracting shadows. The audiologist may make use of illuminated visual rewards during some of the administered tests such as visual reinforced audiometry (VRA) to enthuse and hold the attention of the young patient. Adjustable lighting is also important as the patient may also suffer from a form of visual impairment which can be assisted with differing light levels.
IAC Acoustics provides a range of design and consultation services for this complex subject, ensuring that healthcare providers are provided with a turnkey solution that meets the needs of users while meeting the stringent acoustic standards.
If you would like to visualise your audiology room or suite of rooms, including 3D modelling and design detailing for the preparation of your potential facility, we would be happy to discuss your project in further detail.
IAC Acoustics Audiology Team