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COVID-19: Safety Tips for Hearing Test Administrators

Audiology and ENT Clinics, Hearing Conservation, Hearing Services

These are stressful and uncertain times. As we monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, everyone should be concerned with minimizing the spread of infection. Doing everything possible best to protect patients, coworkers, themselves and their families.  We are all in this together, and the following information can help provide guidance on best practices as they pertain to infection control.

The Red Cross has prepared comprehensive safety and readiness tips. It starts with common-sense advice for helping to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus. Avoid close contact. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Clean and disinfect surfaces. Stay home if you feel unwell. And practice excellent hygiene habits.

For those of you who administer hearing tests, extra precautions may be warranted. We’ve prepared the following tips for when you are testing, including how best to disinfect your SHOEBOX Audiometry system.

Social Distancing

Where possible, allow ample space – or ‘social distance’ – between you and the individual being tested. The CDC defines social distance as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately six feet or two meters) from others where possible.”

Hand Washing

Wash your hands after every test is completed. The Red Cross recommends a minimum of 20 seconds. And if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Transducer Cleaning

Wipe down the surfaces of your transducers with non-alcohol-based wipes. Repeated use of alcohol-based cleaners can cause a breakdown of the foam, which will lessen the attenuation of the transducers over time.

Take extra care to ensure no contact between the liquid of the wipes and the center portion of the headphone. Doing so can cause damage to the delicate internal components of your transducers.

For a list of qualified disinfectants for COVID-19, please refer to Oaktree Product Inc.’s up-to-date list.

Use single-use, disposable earphone covers. These come in a variety of sizes depending on your transducer and help to prevent contact between the earpiece and skin.

iPad Cleaning

It is always good practice to handle your iPad with care. To clean it, first, unplug all cables. Turn off the iPad by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button, then move the onscreen slider to the off position.

On March 9, 2020, Apple updated its guidelines for cleaning your iPad. They say it is okay to use a disinfectant on your Apple product. Apple suggests using a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. These can be used by gently wiping the hard, nonporous surfaces such as the display, keyboard, and exterior surfaces.

It remains important to avoid getting any moisture in openings such as the lightning port.

You should avoid using window cleaners, compressed air, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia, abrasives, or cleaners that contain hydrogen peroxide. These can diminish the effect of the oleophobic coating on the screen that is used to repel oil left by your hands.

Accessories Cleaning

If you use other accessories such as case covers, stands, or kiosks, you should keep these clean as well. Once again, Clorox or Lysol Disinfecting Wipes are an excellent choice for removing germs from these surfaces.

So to recap, practice good social distance and excellent hygiene. For both yourself and your test equipment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Be safe.