easyTone Interview

Carrie Browning of MAICO Talks
About the New Tablet Audiometer.

Recently MAICO Diagnostics released its first tablet audiometer easyTone. The cutting-edge audiometer system impresses with easy pass/refer results, intuitive operation, a circumaural headphone and a time saving digitized data management. In this interview – Carrie Browning, audiologist and MAICO product manager, who was a driving force in the development of easyTone, tells us more about the vision behind the MAICO tablet audiometer, the benefits of its use and the challenges presented by today´s market.

Carrie – you´ve been involved in the development of easyTone from scratch.
What was the “vision” behind building a tablet audiometer like that?
The development behind the easyTone came from observing school and pediatrician hearing screenings in the US. Our goal was to find ways to make the screening process easier and quicker. From these observations some key functions were defined to incorporate into our next product. MAICO had been searching for the best way to bring a tablet audiometer to the market and the easyTone concept worked well for this type of platform.


Sounds exciting. Are there other markets and professions where you see a special interest in easyTone?
The easyTone was initially created for school and pediatrician hearing screenings but can be used for much more than that depending on the type of hearing screenings being performed. In all screening situations and age groups where a pass/refer result is indicated, the easyTone is a perfect fit.


What makes easyTone such an interesting product for screening children?
Could you describe a short best practice case study situation that shows the outstanding strengths of the device?
Each state/district may have their own hearing screening protocol standard. With easyTone MAICO is not requiring the user to screen to a predefined standard protocol. Instead, the user can create their own protocol in 6 simple setup screens with the so called “protocol wizard”. This allows the device to be tailored to their screening program.


“Screening List Mode Simplifies School Screenings Significantly.”


Within school screenings, hundreds of students need to be screened each day. The easyTone tablet audiometer allows the screener to import a screening list so that managing the student data couldn’t be easier. Simply export the list with results, for easy management to the school and/or state databases and an improved workflow. The built-in noise monitor allows the screener to know when screening conditions could impact results to take necessary actions. Last but not least: easyTone shows clear pass/refer results. This is usually the only essential information needed for school hearing screenings as it allows easy documentation of results and management of referrals.

How can professionals in pediatrics benefit from the use of easyTone?
Pediatricians that perform hearing screenings will find this product very helpful. Simple screen layout, specific screening protocols to different age groups, and a pdf report allows the screening process to be quick and accurate.


Which have been the main challenges in the development of easyTone and how did you manage them?
One of the main challenges in the development of the easyTone was that not all hearing screenings are performed the same. In the US for example, every state can define their screening process. Keeping this in mind but also including best practices was a challenge. I think we handled this very nicely and found a good common ground to make the product fit a wide variety of screeners needs. 


"Hearing Screening – As Quick and Easy As possible."


What distinguishes easyTone from “conventional” audiometers and competing products?
easyTone is designed for hearing screening – as quick and easy as possible. The device provides a somewhat automatic workflow to lessen button pushes and the managing of screening lists to lessen time in documentation of results. And most importantly: creating a protocol that is specific to the user and their screening program. With conventional audiometers, as they are not focused strictly on screening, more button pushes or rotation of knobs are necessary. This not only can increase test time to set the device correctly, it can also lead to unintentional errors. The easyTone sets the device specific to your protocol so the test is managed the most effectively.

In general: Which trends do you see in the business segment “school screening” and
what should a “state-of-the-art” audiometer like easyTone afford to be ready for these challenges?
A school nurse in the US has a lot of tasks to perform and these past few years with covid, this has only been increased. With easyTone the hearing screening program can be conducted in the most efficient and fastest way. Specifically, managing the students to be tested and their results can be completely simplified with this product. 


easyTone works with a tablet-based user interface. How can users keep easyTone updated?
And – are there any tutorials about how to get started with the first MAICO tablet audiometer?
easyTone has automatic updates pushed to the tablet for the user to install. There is no need to send the device back to the factory or to a local distributor to get the most up-to-date software and addition of new features. If the user is connected to Wi-Fi, the tablet will inform them when an update is available and ask if it should be installed.

Not only do we provide a user manual and quick guide, but we have a specific easyTone support website to assist with after sales needs. This page includes short tutorials on specific training topics to quickly gain needed information. Furthermore, you can download the easyTone Companion Software for full functionality here. With it you can easily exchange data between your PC and easyTone. And the best: the easyTone Companion software is available free of charge.


"A Hearing Screening Device That Exceeds All Expectations."


Finally - how did you personally experience the whole development/launching process? Is there a special easyTone “story” you´d like to share? 
I could share many, but I think my favorite story was during the beta testing phase. I brought the device to an educational audiologist that had been involved in the predevelopment discussions. The audiologist, along with two volunteer screeners, screen 6,000- 8,000 students a year from elementary through high school. I arrived at the school with the easyTone where 6th - 8th grade students were to be screened. Within the first 15 minutes of providing a brief instruction on the audiometer and her starting to screen, she said „this is even better than I expected“. This showed that not only did MAICO feel we had something special, but with very little time in use, the user saw this too. It can be said: easyTone is a hearing screening device that exceeds all expectations. 

Carrie – thank you very much for this interesting interview. 


easyTone Review

What the Pro Says About the New MAICO Tablet Audiometer.

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“There are many features of this device that make it perfect for screening three- and four-year-olds. The protocols are easy to set up and allow for complete flexibility. This device allowed me to cut the testing time considerably, perhaps in half, which is so important when testing this age group. easyTone has all the features that matter for school screenings and the ease and speed of application make my job much easier.”


 Yvonne S. Sininger PhD - Audiologist and Hearing Scientist, C & Y Consulting of Santa Fe