Audiology Answers for Otolaryngologists aims to provide a grounding in audiology for otolaryngology residents and other professionals allied to audiology, who would otherwise have limited exposure to clinical audiology. It is written by senior audiologists at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri who have an excellent track record in education.
The book is pocket-sized making it easy to use whilst in the clinic. It is well-written with a question and answer format that makes it easy to read and readily applicable to clinical practice. It has six chapters covering audiological and vestibular testing in adults and children, hearing aid provision and a chapter on doctoral education in audiology.
The first five chapters are extremely informative with an economy of writing that means information can be assimilated rapidly. There is an excellent first chapter on the principles of psychoacoustics on which subsequent chapters build. The second chapter covers techniques of audiometric testing including pure tone audiometry (with a clear explanation of the application of masking), speech testing, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions, electrocochleography and auditory brainstem response audiometry. The third chapter covers all the mainstream vestibular tests. This chapter is particularly clear and benefits from the authors’ accessible writing style that makes what can be a complex topic readily understandable. These two chapters provide a brief description of the principles behind each test, a concise description of how the test is carried out, what to expect in a normal test and a brief discussion of how the tests are applied and what they look like in disease conditions.
A little more information around the basic principles and the clinical application of each test would have enhanced these chapters but this would, perhaps, compromise the concise nature of the book, which is one of its key strengths. Chapter four gives an overview of hearing aids. The information provided is adequate for trainees in ENT although it would have been helpful to have had a little more information on the decision-making behind selection of the different types of aid. This chapter also lacks a discussion regarding the different types of auditory implant currently available. This is a shame as the options for hearing rehabilitation are now very broad with a solution available for almost all forms of hearing loss. A discussion around criteria for the different types of implant would also have been helpful. Chapter five covers the unique techniques required to assess hearing in children and is, again, a well-written, concise summary. The last chapter on doctoral education in audiology is only applicable to an American audience. The emphasis towards an American audience is also clear elsewhere in the book although this does not reduce the relevance of the vast majority of the content.
In summary, despite an emphasis towards an American audience and the omission of some aspects of audiology, this is a very helpful, concise textbook covering topics in audiology that are often not well taught in ENT textbooks. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to rapidly understand the principles of modern audiological practice.