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Seeing what you cannot hear: the audiogram as a communication tool

Niall A.M. Klyn

Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Auditory Research Laboratory 

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Northwestern University

The use of hearing healthcare in the United States is far from optimal, with only ~25% of those who would benefit from hearing aids ever trying them. Several high profile committees have identified barriers to accessibility, including the poor readability of the written materials available in most audiology clinics. Yet, one artifact in particular has been left unexamined, despite its near ubiquity in hearing healthcare sites the world over – the audiogram. With insight gathered from focus groups with patients and providers, we have created and refined several alternatives to the audiogram. Simultaneously, we tested the readability and interpretability of the existing audiogram in a sample of primary care physicians along with a comparison sample of certified audiologists. We will discuss our qualitative and quantitative work thus far (supported by the Delaney Foundation), as well as the potential challenges and opportunities we have uncovered while bridging Health Communication and Hearing Healthcare.

Presentation date: February 26, 2019.