Occupational hearing testing practices are in desperate need of innovation and modernization. Audiometers designed in the 1980s, printed records, old trucks with uncomfortable sound booths in back – these are all relics of the past and need to move aside for modern approaches that will bring improved efficiency, cost reduction, and better experiences for employees. In this article, we will describe the attributes of a modern hearing testing program and paint a vision for the future.
According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project - an organization that publishes longitudinal hospital care data in the US - hospital inpatient care accounts for more than one-third of the total cost of healthcare in the United States. This makes it a significant driver in the rising cost of managing disease. Although hospital inpatient stays are on the decline for many population groups, there is relentless pressure to increase the value and efficiency of a patient’s time spent in a hospital. Efficiency initiatives are evident in every area of a hospital. The audiology department is no exception.
Optical providers have discovered that offering hearing testing onsite – whether it’s a self-administered screening or a clinically-valid comprehensive test - is a key differentiator for their businesses since many consumers find the “one stop shop” convenient and attractive. Tablet-based audiometry and the support from their manufacturers makes getting started simple and affordable.
If you work in a noisy environment, your employer has an obligation to work with you to preserve your sense of hearing. One of the most important components of your employer’s responsibility is to provide a regular, no-cost hearing test to establish a baseline and monitor for any hearing changes throughout your career. Even though you can’t “study” for a hearing test to get the best results, there are some things you can do to prepare and ensure an accurate test.
Today’s ever-present focus on doing more with less – less people, less money, less capital equipment and less hassle – exists in every business, but especially in healthcare. In the hearing care business, hospitals, physicians’ offices and private practice owners face these challenges too as they strive to serve more patients with hearing loss in satellite clinics and multiple office locations.