Can hearing tests be done at a desk in an office?
One option for doing hearing tests is to do them at a desk in an office or meeting room, but is it a good way to do them? This is pretty straight forwards to answer: No. It’s cheaper and easier for the company supplying the audiometry to provide as it needs much less investment in equipment, but at best it is no better for the client than testing in a proper mobile unit, while in most cases is a worse option for the client.
An office may be quiet most of the time, but if you can hear voices or telephones or people walking past occasionally then those are the exact frequencies being examined.
Not just about noise levels, but also efficiency
A mobile unit is geared up perfectly for hearing tests, from the waiting room where an attendee can complete the health questionnaire, to the testing room with the otoscope and booth ready and waiting. We have done both systems over the years and audiometry in a mobile unit is always much much more efficient, meaning people are tested properly but also complete the test and can be returned to work faster than testing in an office.
Testing in an office often comes with the proviso of using ‘noise reducing headphones’. We have these as well, as does pretty much every provider, and they are not a solution on their own. As well as the headphones our van has insulation in the walls and roof, then there is a fitted audiometry booth, and then the same noise-reducing headphones which the at-a-desk providers use.
Price-wise, both routes cost the same, but a mobile unit is more efficient and gets rid of the chances of critical voice-frequency interference. Put it this way, we put our money where our mouth is and chose to spend a lot of our own money on our audiometry units as we believe they are the way the job should be done. It would be a lot cheaper to just keep an audiometer in a case, pitch up on site and test in an office, but we believe the job should be done the best way possible, not just the way which has more margin in it for us as the price the client pays remains the same either way.