Interactive Audiology

Interactive Audiology

RATING:  (4 of 5 ears)
AUTHORS: Frederick N. Martin and John Greer Clark
PUBLISHER: Allyn and Bacon
ISBN: 0-205-31947-5
COST: US$49.00

REVIEWER: Beth Tanner, BA, AuD student, Department of Communication Disorder & Sciences, Rush University, Chicago, Illinois

SYNOPSIS: Interactive Audiology is a CD-ROM designed to help students and new audiologists review and assess their skills and knowledge of basic audiological concepts. It can be a tool used by those preparing for comprehensive or certification examinations, as it is a thorough compilation of facts and concepts learned throughout a student's education. The disc provides a brief review of these concepts, followed by extensive review questions. The review questions are designed to identify the areas needing additional knowledge by the user. However, Interactive Audiology it is not designed to provide the extensive information about any audiological concepts. According to the authors, it can be used in conjunction with Introduction to Audiology, but may also be used independently or with other textbooks and lectures.

REVIEW: The first section of Interactive Audiology is divided into fifteen chapters. Each chapter consists of a very brief review of a specific audiological concept, followed by several sections of review questions. The chapters cover the following topics: the profession of audiology; the human ear and simple tests of hearing; sound and its measurement; pure-tone audiometry; speech audiometry; objective hearing tests; behavioral tests for site of lesion; hearing tests for children; the outer ear; the middle ear; the inner ear; the auditory nerve and central auditory pathways; nonorganic hearing loss; amplification/sensory systems; and audiological treatment, including approaches to rehabilitation and education of children with hearing impairments. The review questions for each section are in the form of matching of terms to definitions, outline completion, multiple choice questions, interactive activities, and crossword puzzles. The user immediately has access to the correct answers.

The second section provides case studies. The disorders described in Interactive Audiology are acoustic neuroma, brainstem lesion, central auditory lesion, collapsed ear canal, congenital hearing loss, Meniere's disease, noise-induced hearing loss, nonorganic hearing loss (bilateral and unilateral), obscure auditory dysfunction, otitis media, otosclerosis, presbycusis, and serous effusion. A theoretical patient's case history and audiometric data are provided for the user to review. It is then up to the user to decide on the probable etiology of the disorder. Additionally, the user decides on the case management of the theoretical patient, including audiologic management and appropriate referrals, by typing in the information and the reasons for the decisions. The disc provides the correct diagnosis and management decisions with which the user can compare answers.

Clinical demonstrations in the form of movies compose the final section of Interactive Audiology. It is necessary to have QuickTime Player Version 4.0 or higher, which can be downloaded from the Internet, to view the movies. There are eighteen topics demonstrated in the movies: air conduction receiver placement; air conduction testing; auditory brainstem response (ABR); bone conduction receiver placement; earmold impression; hearing aids; real ear measurements; test box measurements; hearing protection; manual alphabet; myringotomy; otoacoustic emissions, otoscopic examination; sound waveforms; speech recognition threshold (SRT) testing; tuning fork tests; video otoscope; and word recognition testing.

CRITIQUE: Interactive Audiology succeeds in the attempt to provide a comprehensive review of the pertinent topics of audiology. Students and new audiologists can benefit from this software by investigating their own strengths and weaknesses. However, the disc is not designed to provide information or tutorials on the topics. The user must refer to other texts for that information. It is my opinion that Interactive Audiology, or a similar complete review, is an essential addition to any student's collection. Without such a tool, it is difficult to assess one's own skills and shortcomings.

Interactive Audiology may have the edge over other programs with similar goals because of the manner in which the information is presented. Rather than presenting the user with tedious questions of one format, the authors have designed the review questions in several ways, some in the form of puzzles or games. This serves two purposes. First, it is more appealing for a student to use the software. It is engaging and fun in addition to being user-friendly and thorough. Second, since questions for a particular concept are repeated in different forms, most learning styles are covered, and the concepts seem to be easier to remember.

The bottom line is that this software is a useful tool for any student or new audiologist to assess his or her knowledge of basic audiologic concepts. Interactive Audiology may be superior to other publications with a similar purpose because of the successfully creative manner in which the authors have presented the information.