Although telehealth may seem like a relatively new field, professionals have been employing communication technology into their practice for more than 100 years (Institute of Medicine & Board on Health Care Services, 2012). The goal of the Third International Meeting on Internet and Audiology in 2017 was to keep scientists and clinicians informed of the current state of the art on this exciting and rapidly evolving aspect of hearing health care. The meeting brought professionals from around the world to Louisville, Kentucky to discuss needs, design, and implementation of internet-based audiology care and research.
The Scientific Committee—Jill E. Preminger, Ariane Laplante-Lévesque, Gabrielle H. Saunders, and Michael L. Hughes—identified four areas with the most pressing knowledge gaps. More than 20 keynote presentations, panel discussions, and poster presentations discussed barriers and facilitators to the implementation of telepractice, methodology of Internet-based research and service delivery, big data, and ethical issues related to Internet-based research, and service delivery. Of these, 14 articles were developed for publication.
The first 11 articles deal with the topic of teleaudiology and mobile health (mHealth). In these articles, authors evaluate revolutionary teleaudiology programs, describe inventive approaches to mHealth, illustrate the role of mHealth in a public health approach, and demonstrate more novel possibilities offered by mHealth. These articles address diverse populations from young children to older adults and in areas as far ranging as South Africa, rural India, or even in Arizona. These papers demonstrate the important role that mobile technologies can serve for all of these groups.
A clinical forum on Big Data and ethics comprises the final three articles. These papers look at the variety of applications for large data sets in areas such as clinical care, research, policy, and education. They describe how Big Data can be used to influence hearing health care policies, the ethical considerations and how to maintain privacy when collecting data without explicit consent, and using data mining to evaluate and improve distance education in audiology.
Thanks to special issue editors Jill Preminger and Ariane Laplante-Lévesque, as well as AJA editor-in-chief Sumit Dhar, for putting together this timely special issue. Be sure to read the entire issue or browse individual articles below.
Explore the Special Issue
Ainscough, E., Smith, S. N., Greenwell, K., & Hoare, D. J. (2018). Findings and ethical considerations from a thematic analysis of threads within tinnitus online support groups. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 503–512. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0013
Bernstein, L. E., Besser, J., Maidment, D. W., & Swanepoel, D. W. (2018). Innovation in the context of audiology and in the context of the Internet. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 376–384. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0018
Beukes, E. W., Allen, P. M., Baguley, D. M., Manchaiah, V., & Andersson, G. (2018). Long-term efficacy of audiologist-guided Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy for tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 431–447. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0004
Cleveland Nielsen, A., Rotger-Griful, S., Kanstrup, A. M., & Laplante-Lévesque, A. (2018). User-innovated eHealth solutions for service delivery to older persons with hearing impairment. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 403–416. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0009
Coco, L., Titlow, K. S., & Marrone, N. (2018). Geographic distribution of the hearing aid dispensing workforce: A teleaudiology planning assessment for Arizona. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 462–473. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0012
De Sousa, K. C., Swanepoel, D. W., Moore, D. R., & Smits, C. (2018). A smartphone national hearing test: Performance and characteristics of users. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 448–454. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0016
Gutenberg, J., Katrakazas, P., Trenkova, L., Murdin, L., Brdarić, D., Koloutsou, N., . . . Laplante-Lévesque, A. (2018). Big Data for sound policies: Toward evidence-informed hearing health policies. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 493–502. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0003
Hughes, M. L., Sevier, J. D., & Choi, S. (2018). Techniques for remotely programming children with cochlear implants using pediatric audiological methods via telepractice. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 385–390. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0002
Maidment, D. W., & Ferguson, M. (2018). An application of the Medical Research Council’s Guidelines for evaluating complex interventions: A usability study assessing smartphone-connected listening devices in adults with hearing loss. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 474–481. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0019
Paglialonga, A., Schiavo, M., & Caiani, E. G. (2018). Automated characterization of mobile health apps’ features by extracting information from the web: An exploratory study. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 482–492. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0008
Penteado, B. E., Paiva, P. M. P., Morettin-Zupelari, M., Isotani, S., & Ferrari, D. V. (2018). Toward better outcomes in audiology distance education: An educational data mining approach. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 513–525. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0020
Philips, B., Smits, C., Govaerts, P. J., Doorn, I., & Vanpoucke, F. (2018). Empowering senior cochlear implant users at home via a tablet computer application. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 417–430. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0014
Preminger, J. E., Laplante-Lévesque, A., Saunders, G. H., & Hughes, M. L. (2018). Internet and Audiology: A review of the Third International Meeting. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 373–375. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0147
Ramkumar, V., Rajendran, A., Nagarajan, R., Balasubramaniyan, S., & Suresh, D. K. (2018). Identification and management of middle ear disorders in a rural cleft care program: A telemedicine approach. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 455–461. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0015
Steuerwald, W., Windmill, I., Scott, M., Evans, T., & Kramer, K. (2018). Stories from the webcams: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center audiology telehealth and pediatric auditory device services. American Journal of Audiology, 27(3S), 391–402. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJA-IMIA3-18-0010
Institute of Medicine & Board on Health Care Services. (2012). The role of telehealth in an evolving health care environment: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.