Thinking Outside of the Packaged Product’s Box

by A.U. Bankaitis, PhD
Audiologist, Blogger, & VP of Oaktree Products, Inc.

Recently, a customer was seeking a wireless communication solution for her clinical practice that would enable an audiologist to privately communicate with another audiologist during pediatric assessments. Specifically, the audiologist sitting outsideof the audiometric booth (at the audiometer) needed a means to relay information to the audiologist residing inside the audiometric booth without the child or parent involved in the testing procedures to hear what was being communicated. Furthermore, the clinicians did not want to use the audiometer’s talk-back feature because it would require the audiologist to remove the headphones from the pediatric patient in order to hear instruction from the colleague outside of the booth. Removing and subsequently repositioning headphones was not practical.
Initially, the audiologist focused on gaining a better understanding of the features and benefits of various FM systems since that seemed to be the most logical solution. While an FM system certainly offers a solution, it would require spending a lot more money than seemed justifiable given that the intended use would be limited to just one specific testing situation. At the time that this conversation was taking place, an alternative solution other than an FM system didn’t immediately come to mind. At one point I did suggest investing in a relatively inexpensive Walkie-Talkie only to realize that part of the need was to keep the one way communication to the audiologist residing in the booth (with the child and the parent) private.

After hanging up the phone, this conversation was relayed to a colleague at work. By collectively talking through this scenario out loud and challenging ourselves to think [think-out-of-the-box] outside-of-the-box, a not-so-obvious product solution was identified. In this particular situation, the ClearSounds Quattro 4.0 Bluetooth Listening System would totally work. The Quattro 4.0 (Item#CS-QT4) is a Bluetooth amplified neckloop that can be paired to a variety of Bluetooth devices such as cell phones, some landline telephones, TV, and audio devices (i.e. iPod, MP3). At this point, a logical question would be, “How in the world can a neckloop help two non-hearing aid wearing audiologists in this scenario?”

The Quattro 4.0 is equipped with a removable Bluetooth microphone; when placed close to the person(s) speaking, it will pick up the conversation and wirelessly transmit sound to the Quattro 4.0 base worn around the user’s neck. The base of the Quattro 4.0 is equipped with a 3.5 mm jack and designed to accommodate a pair of earbuds (included in the package) or stereo headphones. So, in this particular case, the Quattro’s removable Bluetooth microphone should be placed outside of the audiometric booth. It will pick up the voice of that audiologist and wirelessly send the signal to the neckloop worn by the audiologist residing inside the booth. With the use of the earbuds, the audiologist inside the booth will be the only person hearing what the other audiologist is relaying. Pretty neat, huh?

Read the entire story on AU Bankaitis’s Audiology Blog

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