I saw a patient file cross my desk the other day that kind of put me
in shock. It was a patient with a unilateral hearing loss and poor
discrim in one ear. He was referred to an ENT group whose audiology
department did a threshold ABR (did not repeat any of the recordings)
that had suspect peaks in the affected ear below 60 dBnHL. The report
stated that the affected ear actually had "normal hearing" and that
the audiological evaluation must have been in error or the patient was
faking the loss.
Does anyone else see the problem here? Since when do we qualify
normal hearing with a threshold ABR? I am about 6 months removed from
clinical settings (now working in occupational audiology) however, as
I recall, all ABR recordings are repeated for the basic reason of
The truly sad part is that the same audiology department administered
another hearing evaluation the following day to this patient and came
up with the same unilateral loss.
These are my peers performing these studies. Not just one
audiologist, but several participated in the evaluation of this
How would you handle this? Would appreciate your feedback.
Joel R. Bealer