Most audiologists consider immittance testing to be a routine task. However, when it comes to testing children, unexpected distractions can disrupt the test and take time away from patients. Read how Dawn Violetto, audiologist and Director of Audiology at Child's Voice, the premier listening and spoken language school in Illinois, USA, tackles these challenges to help more children.
Gaining more time to help children with hearing loss
Dawn Violetto has been passionate about helping people with hearing loss since childhood.
“When I was growing up, a friend of mine had a sister who was deaf and her friends were deaf. I hung out with them and learned some basic sign-language,” says Dawn. “It sparked an interest in deafness education and audiology that I have followed ever since.”
Today Dawn works as Director of Audiology at Child’s Voice, a listening and spoken language program and preparatory school for children with hearing loss to help prepare them for the mainstream classroom. The program services the students of the school as well as children in the surrounding community for their hearing needs. Last year alone, Child’s Voice served more than 300 children, infants and newborns with hearing loss and their families by providing testing, fitting and maintenance of devices, listening and spoken language services, and other support.
With a staff of two audiologists including Dawn, an audiology assistant, an insurance clerk and a graduate student, Dawn and her team are very busy seeing and testing children from the age of newborn to 18 years. And as we all know working with and testing children can sometimes be challenging.
“Generally speaking, children being children have a short attention span,” says Dawn. “Sometimes they have been tested elsewhere or have other health issues and may have a fear of health professionals. These things plus getting them to engage with us can be challenging. We need instruments to be fast so we can get the test done before we lose their attention.”
Distractions and delays can be costly for the clinic. According to Dawn, if the testing system or device is slow, the child may have to come back for another appointment – involving the secretary, billing, audiologists and so on. This decreases productivity and efficiency in the clinic.
Dawn and her team went looking for a new immittance solution to help improve testing efficiency. They found Madsen® Zodiac – the new immittance device from Otometrics that has a choice of both screening and diagnostic probes that are ergonomic and easy to use – ideal for their situation.
“We like that the probes are comfortable to use, very lightweight, and so they don’t fall out of the babies’ ears,” says Dawn. “And I like that I can exchange probes from screening to diagnostic very quickly with the dual probe option.”
Madsen Zodiac has a user-friendly interface and lighted control buttons on the probes making it possible to run the test automatically without leaving the patient’s side.
“I can start the test from the probe without having to turn away from the patient and hit a button. And if you are using the diagnostic probe, you have the start/stop button on the probe – or have the system set up to start automatically.”
One of the big frustrations in immittance testing is knowing when you have a seal. Madsen Zodiac has lights on the probe that tell you when you have a seal, which is very helpful, according to Dawn.
“For me, it’s important to be able to get a seal and get at least a screening tympanogram and reflexes quickly. You don’t have long to test before the child is pulling out the probe,” says Dawn. “But if I do lose the seal, the pump resets very quickly, so I can resume the test immediately.”
In addition to auto start, the dual probe option, quick seal and a long, robust probe cable, Madsen Zodiac offers additional conveniences that boost efficiency for clinicians performing immittance testing. These include the ability to easily set up testing protocols ahead of time, print a report with all the information you need (audio, tymp, reflex) and connectivity to EMR.
“Madsen Zodiac comes as a PC-based system or standalone. We use the standalone Madsen Zodiac so it’s possible to print out the report directly from the device. Even the printer paper is easy to change. We can however also save the test to upload to EMR later if we don’t want to print it.”
Madsen Zodiac gives Dawn Violetto and her team at Child’s Voice more control, confidence and efficiency in immittance testing. What’s even better, they are gaining more time to help their patients.
Dr. Dawn Violetto is Director of Audiology at Child's Voice, the premier listening and spoken language school in Northern Illinois and has over 24 years of experience in pediatric audiology. At Child's Voice, Dawn serves the children and families by performing many functions as both an educational and diagnostic audiologist and serves as a preceptor for doctoral students. Dawn received her B.A. and M.A in Audiology from Northern Illinois University and her Doctorate in Audiology from Arizona school of Health Sciences at A. T. Still University. Dawn has served on the Illinois New Born Hearing Advisory Committee, the Illinois New Born Hearing Collaborative and was involved in introducing the ECHO program in the state. She currently serves on the Illinois JCIH workgroup and the Illinois state SIAC Health Subcommittee Hearing Ad Hoc work group.
For more information about Child’s Voice, please visit www.childsvoice.org
For more information about Madsen Zodiac, please visit click here.