The Intelligibility of the Reversed-Stethoscope Technique in Age-Related Hearing Loss

Authors

  • Raphaelle M. Koerber Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University
  • Linh Vaccarello Edmonton Ear Clinic
  • Allan Ho University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry; Edmonton Ear Clinic

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.25.527

Keywords:

hearing loss, health-care accessibility, stethoscope

Abstract

BACKGROUND

This study evaluated the effectiveness of the reverse stethoscope technique in improving speech intelligibility. In this technique, a clinician places the earpieces of their stethoscope into the ears of a hearing-impaired patient and speaks into the chest piece.

METHODS

The International Speech Test Signal was presented to four Littman® stethoscope models and a Pocketalker® personal voice amplifier using an Audioscan® hearing instrument test box. The acoustic outputs of the stethoscopes and voice amplifier were measured across the frequency spectrum of speech. The Speech Intelligibility Index of the resulting speech was calculated for natural speech and for each device in relation to 10 standardized hearing losses representing the population of older adults.

RESULTS

For each of the 10 hearing losses, the speech signal emitted by the stethoscopes was quieter and yielded lower speech intelligibility scores than regular speech. In contrast, the voice amplifier provided mid and high frequency amplification and improved speech intelligibility scores for all but the mildest hearing losses.

CONCLUSIONS

The reverse stethoscope technique worsens the clarity of speech and should not be used with older, hearing-impaired patients. Instead, clinicians should use regular speech or, preferably, personal voice amplifiers.

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Published

2022-06-01

How to Cite

1.
Koerber RM, Vaccarello L, Ho A. The Intelligibility of the Reversed-Stethoscope Technique in Age-Related Hearing Loss. Can Geriatr J [Internet]. 2022 Jun. 1 [cited 2022 Jul. 3];25(2):127-33. Available from: https://cgjonline.ca/index.php/cgj/article/view/527

Issue

Section

Original Research