The lightweight, portable KUDUwave™ audiometer is a boothless FDA-approved medical device currently used by NASA to perform audiology testing of astronauts in space. The revolutionary KUDUwave Pro TMP model was part of the CRS-15 Cygnus spacecraft manifest. The spacecraft launched into space on February 20, 2021 on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
While NASA took the KUDUwave to a whole new height (circling earth about every 90 minutes), audiologists who have their feet firmly planted on the ground can also experience the superior advantages of this hearing testing device. The KUDUwave uses a unique combination of technologies to perform a suite of functions such as screening, diagnostics, speech testing, and assistive interpretation.
Audiologists working in hospitals or private practices can take the KUDUwave with them anywhere they go, in both urban and rural setups. Intuitive patient management tools, cloud storage, and tele-audiology functionality make testing quick and easy for those working in pharmacies, audiology hearing centers and industrial settings as well as health care workers conducting audiology missions or humanitarian outreach programs.
What is the KUDUwave doing up in space?
NASA had been wanting to conduct a study on how a noisy space station environment can affect the hearing of astronauts. The study was stalled for lack of an audiometer that was light enough to transport to space and easy enough to operate independently without assistance from Mission Control. The KUDUwave diagnostic audiometer-tympanometer combination was the perfect solution. The device, which replaces the sound booth, contains audiometers (one per earcup), a bone conductor, a tympanometer, and a headset in one single easy-to-use device. It is capable of diagnostic pure-tone and bone conduction testing with masking and speech as well as bilateral tympanometry. After a few tweaks, such as providing a web-based solution that is compatible with NASA’s computer Operating System, the KUDUwave was the first truly portable audiometry system to meet all of NASA’s requirements for audiology testing in space, which included measuring middle ear function.
Read the May 13, 2021, ISS Summary Report that mentions the “Kuduwave Software Setup and Test” as part of their planned activities for the day.
Are sound booths really essential in this day and age?
The KUDUwave uses revolutionary technology for the testing and diagnosis of auditory-related deficiencies. Launched into the audiometry device market in 2009, KUDUwave makes sound booths seem completely outdated. Here’s why:
Drawbacks of booths
Traditional audiometry with sound booths presents several challenges to accessible and affordable hearing care. Some of the limitations of using traditional sound booths for audiometry include the high cost associated with equipment and facilities, as well as restrictions to accessibility and expediency of centralized service-delivery models.
Advantages of KUDUwave
The KUDUwave boothless audiometry system cuts across all these barriers providing a system that is more cost-effective can be automated, and offers de-centralized service delivery, resulting in the ability to test more patients where they are because of its portability.
Safe to use amid Covid-19 pandemic
The KUDUwave also proved to be much safer to use during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. In contrast to confining a patient to a traditional sound booth, the KUDUwave can be used in open-air settings to conduct testing. Sterilizing the sound booth after every test is also not practical, nor is it 100% effective. With the KUDUwave boothless system, the headsets and pads are disinfected easily without any doubt of contagions being left behind.
The KUDUwave is able to attenuate sounds and deliver reliable test results at the same level as a standard booth would. The International Journal of Audiology published a study using the KUDUwave that “investigated the validity of an automated mobile diagnostic audiometer (KUDUwave) with increased attenuation and real-time noise monitoring for clinical testing outside a sound booth.” The results of the study concluded that “diagnostic pure-tone audiometry outside a sound booth, using automated testing, improved passive attenuation, and real-time environmental noise monitoring demonstrated reliable hearing assessments.”
The future of audiometry is here
According to a Reports and Data market research study (2019), the audiology devices market is set to reach over $14 Billion by 2026 from $9 Billion in 2018, growing at a rate of nearly 6 percent per year. The key drivers affecting growth are an increasing number of people (both young and old) with hearing impairment, technological progress, and the overall growth of the science of audiology.
North America dominated the audiology devices market with a little over 40% of the market share in 2019. In the United States, 70% to 85% of the 35 million people who suffer from hearing loss have not received treatment yet. The KUDUwave with its high portability can play an important role in assessing more people and increasing the treatment rate for hearing impairments. The deployment of innovative technological platforms such as the KUDUwave as well as the increasing preference for telemedicine are factors driving sales of audiological devices.
Superior KUDUwave technology
The KUDUwave is the audiology device of the future. A portable, high-frequency audiometer featuring booth-free operation and high-frequency hearing testing up to 16 kHz, it uses smart technology on an integrated patient management platform.
The KUDUwave audiometry software enables a seamless flow from patient onboarding to patient testing, capturing data, storage, and retrieval – anywhere and on any device. The automatic testing mode enables healthcare professionals to multi-task, saving time and promoting efficiency.
Telemedicine audiology testing
The convergence of digital and connectivity revolutions has introduced the delivery of de-centralized audiological services. The adoption of tele-audiology services saw a boost during the Covid-19 pandemic and it is still on the uptake. This point-of-care tele-audiology testing service expands the patient market while optimizing costs.
5 reasons to make the switch from a traditional audiology booth to portable audiometry
1. Enables mobile hearing testing almost anywhere
- A lightweight factor
- High portability
- Access to more patients
- Can be used in non-clinical settings
- Allows testing in open-air environments
2. Testing capabilities
- Full range of testing options, including pure tone testing (bone and air conduction)
- The ability to test middle ear function
- The ability to monitor and report on background noise levels
- Speech and word recognition testing
- Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) testing
- Simultaneous bilateral tympanometry testing
- Boothless audiometry is cheaper than sound booths
- KUDUwave pricing is similar to other boothless audiometers, but its functionality is superior and comparable to that of a sound booth
- Eliminates the need for physical office space
4. Improve efficiencies with full-featured audiometry software
- Choose from manual and automatic testing capabilities
- Enables tele-audiometry; the KUDUwave can be set up so that patients can conduct self-testing
- Clinicians can set up the KUDUwave on automatic mode, enabling multi-tasking
- Smoothly integrated patient management system with smart intuitive technology
- Switch between data capture and patient testing seamlessly
- The ability to provide valid clinical data
- Smart folders and cloud back-up – get rid of paperwork
5. Audiologists can choose the KUDUwave model that best fits their needs
- The KUDUwave Prime is the perfect hearing screening equipment for use in occupational screening for hearing loss, industrial hearing conservation programs, mobile medical service providers, onsite clinics, outreach, and school screening programs.
- The KUDUwave Pro is for high-frequency audiometry and is the ideal solution for clinical diagnostic audiology settings such as hearing conservation programs, audiology practices, and ototoxicity monitoring programs.
- The KUDUwave Pro TMP is a Type 1 Clinical Immittance Instrument that detects bilateral hearing loss. It is an upgrade to KUDUwave devices that integrates tympanometry and acoustic stapedius reflex measurement functionality into the KUDUwave headset.
Added bonus: The KUDUwave audiometer comes with free audiometry software. Updates to this software are available for free as well.
Ready to make the switch?
KUDUwave audiometers can be used in clinical and non-clinical settings such as military deployed environments, schools, nursing homes, community outreach venues, pharmacy waiting areas, primary care clinics, and in-patient settings. The innovative boothless audiometry system has made it possible to test more people and increase early detection and diagnosis for improved outcomes. Moreover, it increases care so that your patients can enjoy a quality life!
Make the KUDUwave a part of your ENT equipment. Schedule a consultation with us to learn more about the KUDUwave boothless audiometer.
Frequently Asked Questions –
The KUDUwave Pro TMP enables audiologists to conduct simultaneous, bilateral tympanometry for the first time in history. The KUDUwave Pro TMP integrates tympanometry and acoustic stapedius reflex measurement functionality. Dual tympanometers are integrated into each KUDUwave ear cup.
There are many reasons, here are some of them:
- Enables mobile hearing testing almost anywhere
- Has a full range of testing options, including pure tone testing (bone and air conduction)
- Boothless audiometry is cheaper than sound booths
- Has improved efficiencies with full-featured audiometry software
- Audiologists can choose the KUDUwave model that best fits their needs