functional-hearing-assessment-system

Functional Hearing Assessment System (FHAS)

Designed for command-and-control organisations

Developed in association with the ISVR (University of Southampton), we are proud to introduce the first dedicated Functional Hearing Assessment System (FHAS) designed for police forces and other blue-light services.

The FHAS system is a unique and superior application combining proven research expertise in Speech-in-Noise (SiN) testing with our audiometer technology to deliver the most complete hearing assessment system currently available.


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Speech-in-Noise (SiN) testing

Speech-in-Noise (SiN) testing is considered a more accurate assessment of overall hearing ability in comparison to pure tone audiometry which only assesses hearing acuity. By presenting commands in different types of background noise, it is possible to assess performance within a variety of challenging environments.

SiN tests are more likely to capture how a change in hearing affects the overall performance on speech communication tasks and therefore provides a better estimation of AFFD in comparison to pure tone testing.

The FHAS system will allow you to not only take the results of pure tone audiometry into consideration but focuses on the auditory processing capabilities of the test person in real-life SiN situations to evaluate the person's hearing abilities.

functional-hearing-assessment-system-tablet

Key benefits

  • An objective and auditable tool to support key decision making
  • Full automated test and referral system to support workflows
  • A potential reduction in any medical referral costs
  • Hearing acuity and ability measurements according to relevant standards (Pre-placement, CoP, HSE)
  • Minimised absence from work with immediate functional hearing test to return personnel back to work following a negative PTA test
  • Operational expertise can be retained within the organisation, especially for experienced and highly trained officers.

Auditory fitness for duty (AFFD)

Effective speech communication is an essential task for employees in many occupations, particularly in command-and-control type of organisations. Auditory fitness for duty assesses the Auditory Fitness for Duty (AFFD) refers to the “possession of hearing abilities sufficient for safe and effective job performance”.

Pure tone audiometry measures a subject's hearing acuity and is a good tool to measure changes in hearing over time. This procedure, however, has the challenge in measuring speech understanding ability in sensorineural hearing loss which is associated with a variety of suprathreshold deficits on speech recognition. Despite its limitations, pure-tone audiometry was and remains the most common assessment of AFFD today.

Speech-in-Noise-testing

Improved workflow

Understanding both communication and commands in a noisy environment can be considered a critical requirement for certain roles. Many organisations have occupation specific hearing acuity requirements; however, many have now recognised the need to functionally and objectively assess an individual’s hearing ability (Auditory Fitness For Duty) based on their speech understandings rather than their pure tone audiograms.

The FHAS offers clients a functional hearing test system that is both repeatable and auditable. Supporting the operator’s workflow, it has considered both measurement and data management in order make the test process as efficient as possible.

  • Pure-tone audiometry testing

    When performing a pure tone audiometry test, the complete test battery of self-recording (Békésy), computer (Hughson Westlake) and manual test methods allow the operator to select the most appropriate test method for their organisation.

    Test results from air conduction audiograms are automatically categorised according to user requirements. Standard calculations include the automatic HSE (Health and Safety Executive) categorisation and College of police (CoP) standards.

  • The user in focus

    When performing the Speech-in-Noise part of a hearing test, the test subject can complete the examination using an optional, separate touch screen to input their responses. With attention retaining design, the test subject can comfortably focus on the task in hand and complete the test effectively. 

    Upon test completion, separate patient and medical reports can be generated which identify all demographic, test and result data. Results can be printed in both hard and soft copy format and the system has the capability to interface to external occupational health (OH) EMR applications.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is a Speech-in-Noise (SiN) test?

    Speech-in-Noise (SiN) testing is considered a more accurate assessment of overall hearing ability in comparison to pure tone audiometry which only assesses hearing acuity. By SiN testing provides an additional tool to assess the status of a patient's auditory system.

    SiN tests are used in many applications including hearing aid fitting, clinical diagnosis and measurement of functional capacity of the hearing system, providing clinicians and hearing care professionals with highly valuable information about the actual SiN understanding of the test subject.

     

    What are the different types of Speech-in-Noise (SiN) test?

    Many different tests and tools exist to analyse and assess SiN ability, such as Hearing-in-Noise Test (HINT), Quick-Speech-in-Noise (QuickSiN), Words-in-Noise (WiN),  the Triple Digit Test (TDT) and the Coordinate Response Measure (CRM).

    The CRM test has been chosen to assess AFFD for the Police and other command-and-control type organisations because of its clear similarities to real world environments (high face validity), clear focus on auditory skills and ability to differentiate clearly between hearing abilities.

     

    How does a FHAS speech-in-noise test work?

    The FHAS test looks to establish the quietest level at which a subject can repeatedly hear and understand a command against a background noise. The test consists for two parts which assess different auditory performance but work in the same way of directing a command in background noise through a headphone in either ear.

    Both ears are tested separately but in an innovative interleaved procedure. The subject is required to enter their selection of variables through visual display unit (VDU), e.g. a touchscreen tablet.

  • What is Quick-Speech-in-Noise (QuickSiN)?

    Quick-Speech-in-Noise (QuickSiN) is a Speech-in-Noise test that quickly and easily measures the ability to hear in noise. Speech understanding in noise cannot be reliably predicted from the pure tone audiogram or other standard audiometric tests.

     

    What is a normal speech hearing test score?

    A normal speech hearing test score depends on the speech test performed. Each speech assessment is evaluated, and the normal score determined by multiple measurements with normal hearing test subjects. The audibility of speech material is impacted by factors such as language, words used (normal words or phonemes) and the spectrum of the background noise (noise or babble-noise).

    A normal Speech-in-Noise (SiN) test score depends on the type of test as well as the application of the test. SiN testing can for example be used in assessing the performance of hearing aids with scores defined by authorities and countries.

    The hearing assessment in noise test developed by Amplivox assesses SiN performance with a resulting signal-to-noise ratio specifically for police forces. The classification and definition of “normal” will depend on the role a subject may be working in and other considerations such as hearing aids that may be able to support a subject.

     

    What are the different types of functional hearing assessments?

    A functional hearing assessment is the measurement of a subject's ability to perform a given role is a standard procedure. Many different types of functional hearing assessments have been developed. Our Speech-in-Noise test that has been developed in conjunction with a university and police force and provides an additional tool that is objective and repeatable.