Author: James W. Hall III, PhD, Salus University and University of Hawaii, USA
Background: The validity of identification and diagnostic assessment of hearing loss remotely via tele-audiology is supported with extensive research evidence. During the past decade, clinical investigation of tele-audiology has been motivated largely by the need to make quality hearing health care services accessible to underserved populations, particularly in developing regions of the world lacking adequate audiology services. The COVID-19 crisis has rapidly and dramatically expanded the global interest in and demand for tele-audiology services, even in highly developed countries with well-established audiological services. Widespread concern about morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 has introduced a major challenge in the remote delivery of audiological services, in addition to the marked increase in providing remote patient services with little or no physical contact. Fortunately, as a result of the convergence of clinical necessity, technological advances, and public health policy changes, tele-audiology now offers unprecedented promise for global access to quality hearing health care. These exciting developments are summarized in this brief presentation.