The Future Of Audiometry Does Not Include The Sound Booth. Here’s why

The audiometric booth has long been the standard in audiometry and for good reason. Without it, we would not have the sound blocking that makes accurate hearing assessment possible as noise would interfere with the tones presented and patients would not be able to respond correctly.

The main purpose of the sound booth is to attenuate/block sound. It does this very well. So it is understandable that the audiological booth is still a popular piece of equipment in audiometry. This is changing however.

Technological innovation is driven by a need for improvement. These improvements are often; reduction in cost, improvement in functionality (accuracy, usability etc), or to add functionality previously unavailable.

When it comes to the sound booth, there have not been many changes over the years that significantly address the above.

They are big, expensive, and inconvenient for both patients and clinicians and, when it comes to their ability to attenuate sound newer technologies exist that are able to fill the gap. To top it off, they simply take up too much space.

We are all searching for ways to cut costs, shrink our environmental footprint and achieve a more practical, almost minimalist style of living. A direct result is the sharing economy which puts access to things above ownership and offers freedom of choice and unprecedented convenience.

We only want the things that promise to deliver convenience at an affordable price without limiting our freedom to choose alternative ways to do what we do.

Isn’t it Time We Addressed The Elephant In The Room?

A Soundbooth Costs More Than Its Price

If you are renting your space you are probably paying per square meter. It may not be obvious on your statement but the fee you pay relates to the amount of space you occupy.

Rentals range from R200 per square meter to R550 and depending on the location you choose could be even higher.

I’m using South African Rands as the example but you could easily substitute your currency.

An office park may be cheaper than a retail store or shopping centre and the ground floor may be more expensive than the 1st floor. Suffice to say, there are many factors at play but, either way you’re paying for space.

Your rental will also increase by an average of 10% every year (compounded) for the very same amount of space.

A small soundbooth has a footprint of roughly 1m x 1m excluding the audiometer shelf which adds an extra 500mm. You can’t really place anything in front of the door or very close to where you would sit, so we could round it off at approx. 3 m2

Some practices dedicate an entire room to the booth, but, lets keep it simple, the point is the same.

So, even at the low end, the space your booth occupies costs you R 600 pm or R7200 per year. At the high end your booth costs R1650 pm or R19800 per year.

Obviously, things start to add up pretty quickly when you look at a whole year’s cost. But, when you’re starting a practice, you will probably be aiming to stay in your chosen location at least for 3-5 years and many landlords will require at least 3 years commitment.

So let’s take a look at how that annual increase affects you over a longer period.

Low end:

Year 1 : R 7200 Year 2: R7,920 Year 3: R8,712

3 Year total: R23,832 excl. maintenance

High end:

Year 1 : R19,800 Year 2: R21,780 Year 3: R23,958

3 Year total: R65,538 excl. maintenance

Remember that this is just what it costs for you to have the booth in your office.

But what about 5 years? I hear you ask. Are you ready for it?

Low end:

Year 4 : R9,583 Year 5: R10,542

5 Year total: R43,957 excl. maintenance

High end:

Year 4 : R26,354 Year 5: R28,989

5 Year total: R120,881 excl. maintenance

These costs excludes actually buying a sound booth. In South Africa, you can pick up a basic soundbooth for +/-R 32000 which includes installation (on the ground floor). Depending on your chosen booth, these costs can easily trebble. (Choose an office on the first floor or second and installation costs go through the roof)

For fun, let’s add the purchase costs in.

Now you are looking at +/- R76,000 and R153,000 respectively.

Essentially, the space your booth occupies costs you more than the booth itself.

That is a whack of money in anyone’s books. Speaking of books, your accountant will probably tell you that the value of your wonderful box of attenuation will depreciate over time too. So, what you’re really paying for is the space to keep a piece of equipment that loses value every year while the cost of keeping it increases.

Just imagine if you had 2 or even 3 sound booths…

This is one of the many reasons that the demand for truly Boothless Audiometry Solutions grows daily.

Clinicians are responding to a changing environment by unshackling themselves from dated and expensive technology in favour of newer technology that promises convenience, cost saving, quality and above all, solutions that don’t hinder their lifestyle choices.

With a boothless audiometry pedigree spanning over a decade the KUDUwave is the leader in this field and offers a range of boothless audiometers that meet the needs of diagnostic, screening and high-frequency audiometry while enabling clinicians to adapt to the changing environment and growing patient demands.