As audiologists we all learn masking as part of our training. But the truth is, the real learning is in the experience of the various hearing losses we come across. Unfortunately for some, we’re not always in the position to reflect with another practitioner about some of the more complex hearing losses – so how can we really learn?
Masking is carried out as a result of the minimal interaural attenuation of 40dB when using headphones, 55dB when using inserts and 0dB when using a bone conductor. As a result, we follow certain rules to decide when masking should be carried out (BSA recommended procedure 2011) to ensure an accurate hearing test is obtained.
We probably know the rules by heart. But…
Why do we need to do Rule 3 and what is it’s relationship to Rule 1? What about central masking and the effect of conductive losses on masking? When are inserts more appropriate than headphones? When do we choose to mask bone conduction on both ears? What is effective masking? Even the most experienced of audiologists have to reflect on such questions when considering best practice.
A training course in masking in audiometry will enable audiologists to consider and understand why we need to mask, rather than just learning the rules. TJ Audiology Services uses audiometry simulation software to practice different scenarios, alongside interpretation of working audiograms. Audiology Courses are available in 2016 at Audiology House, London. Bring yourself up to speed, or start from scratch and benefit from having the time to ask all those questions and more in a safe learning environment and discussion with other colleagues.
BSA Recommended Procedure (2011): Pure-tone air-conduction and bone-conduction threshold audiometry with and without masking.