Remote assessment of hearing - paediatric hearing assessment using tele-audiology: An investigation in rural and remote populations
Up to 60% of indigenous children under 12 years of age have some form middle ear disorder, commonly associated with hearing loss.
A number of agencies have strategies for the screening of hearing loss in indigenous children, many of whom live outside urban centres. One factor limiting the effectiveness of such programs has been the delay between screening and diagnostic audiology, due to a lack of diagnostic audiology services in the local community.
This project will explore both internet and associated telecommunications technologies (SSDL and cellular videoconferencing) to provide audiological testing services to children in circumstances where fully clinically competent audiologists:
- are not routinely available; or
- are difficult to access due to distance.
The project will proceed in two phases:
1. The first phase will be concerned with the set-up and trial of remotely operated audiological equipment to support the hearing assessment component of the diagnostic process.
2. The second phase, contingent upon the outcomes and subsequent developments occurring in phase one, will trial the technology in two controlled clinical environments, in various combinations, each with a different emphasis on the use of the tele-audiology capability (partial remote assessment or complete remote assessment).