Who are we?
The Audiometric Laboratory at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) supports screening, diagnostic, and research efforts related to hearing. The staff supports these efforts by checking the accuracy of audiometers and other sound-emitting equipment in Texas.
Why do we regulate audiometers?
An audiometer is a complex instrument that measures various aspects of a person's ability to hear. To measure hearing accurately, every audiometer must perform just like any other of its type.
To ensure that all audiometers perform consistently, Texas law requires that they be registered and calibrated. The law also requires people who use audiometers to be registered. (See Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 401.Texas Regulations for the Control of Infrasonic, Sonic, and Ultrasonic Radiation and Chapter 36.Special Senses And Communication Disorders)
How do you register?
If you use equipment to test hearing in Texas, you must be registered with DSHS. To register, you must:
- be a licensed audiologist or speech-language pathologist,
- be a registered nurse whose training included how to test hearing,
- be licensed to fit and dispense hearing aids,
- be a licensed physician,
- complete six hours of audiology courses at an accredited university, or complete a hearing screening workshop sponsored by DSHS.
Submit proof of your training and a completed registration form to the Audiometric Laboratory.
In addition, you must register all of the equipment that you use to evaluate hearing. Fill out a separate form for each piece of equipment.
What else is required?
"By law, every audiometer in Texas must be calibrated annually by a qualified technician. Calibration is a way of checking sound emitting equipment to make sure that it is performing within set standards.
In addition, minimum standards require a monthly biological calibration. You can do this by checking the threshold of three people with normal hearing, perhaps including yourself. If the audiometer fails this check, it must be corrected by a calibration technician.
What do we monitor?
The Audiometric Laboratory monitors calibration in three ways:
Quality control checks
Lab technicians check the calibration of audiometers used for screening, diagnostic, and research purposes in schools, local health departments, and medical or audiological offices. The equipment may be checked on site or at an audiometric screening workshop.
Quality control spot checks
By prior arrangement with the user, a lab technician may double-check an audiometer's calibration immediately after it is calibrated by a calibration firm. If the instrument fails to meet performance standards, a lab technician will check it again after the calibration firm has corrected the problem.
Inspection of calibration firms
The lab staff ensures that every firm that calibrates audiometers for use in Texas is registered with DSHS. The lab technicians review the firm's calibration records and monitor its employees' performance to be sure that the firm is providing quality services and that its equipment meets certain standards.
What other services do we provide?
Audiometers on loan. Any hearing screener who is registered in Texas and performs free screenings may borrow an audiometer for 30 to 90 days. A limited number of audiometers are available, so submit your application well in advance of your scheduled screening dates. Loan equipment is especially scarce during the fall semester, when schools conduct hearing screenings. A loan application form F05-06832 (13KB,DOC) must be filled out to request an audiometer. View the procedures (13KB,DOC) for audiometric loan. The borrower must also fill out an AL-16 Form (29KB,DOC) indicating the number of children screened and submit with the audiometer.
Maintenance of DSHS equipment is performed as needed during the year. Lab technicians calibrate the audiometers annually and check them after each loan or repair.
Technical assistance. Lab staff are available for consultations and recommendations concerning the design, use, durability, purchase, and maintenance of sound-emitting equipment.
For more information, contact the:
Department of State Health Services
Audiometric Laboratory-Mail Code 1938
PO Box 149347 / Austin, Texas 78714-9347
1100 West 49th Street / Austin, Texas 78756-3199
Relay Texas: Dial 7-1-1
Email the Audiometric Laboratory