a short teaser for ‘Making Audiology Work During COVID-19 and Beyond‘ by Leontien Pragt and Jan-Willem Wasmann.
De Wet Swanepoel, PhD, and James W. Hall III, PhD recently published an article about delivering audiology service in times of COVID-19.
According to the authors, the COVID-19 pandemic requires hearing health care professionals to rethink radically the way audiology services are delivered. The fact that the majority of people who require audiology services are also the ones at the highest risk of COVID-19-related mortality and morbidity in combination with the sudden requirement for physical distancing and even long-term lockdown recommendations render the traditional audiological care pathway untenable at present. As stated by Swanepoel and Hall, the ongoing pandemic offers an unique opportunity to redefine and innovate how hearing health care professionals reach and serve adult patients in more responsive, efficient and person-centered ways. The current situation requires urgent action to find alternative low- or no-touch service models to provide hearing assessments and hearing aids to adult patients. Not only to ensure patients’ access to audiology services but also to keep audiology practice doors open and sustainable. Below graphic illustrates an example of possible no-touch patient journeys to provide hearing aid rehabilitation, given by Swanepoel and Hall.
An important aspect to note is that the authors do not claim that no-touch audiology services deliver care that is on-par with traditional high-touch audiology service models in terms of quality and precision. However, according to them the majority (95%) of people affected by hearing loss, can already benefit strongly from remotely offered services. In order to deliver clinical-grade audiometry and care in the future, further developments are needed, including remote calibration of audiometric equipment, control of the test environment, and automated test procedures that are robust to concentration lapses or false responses by the tested subject.
Read the whole article for the view of the authors on the low- or no-touch audiology options during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.