The Fifth International Meeting on Internet and Audiology highlighted new ways that Internet-based applications can help better meet the needs of audiology patients and improve hearing health around the world. The latest issue of the American Journal of Audiology (AJA) brings exciting innovations from this meeting to readers.

Guest editors Valeriy Shafiro, Laura Coco, Jill E. Preminger, and Gabrielle H. Saunders write that the articles demonstrate “many exciting opportunities for assessment, treatment, and delivery of individually tailored patient-centered hearing care via teleaudiology and provide specific suggestions for their implementation,” (Shafiro et al., 2022, p. 848).

About the Articles

The articles address issues in four categories: (1) patient-centered care and implementation science, (2) the future of online assessment, (3) remote hearing aid services, and (4) historical and social media perspectives.

Patient-Centered Care and Implementation Science

Four articles discuss the best ways to implement new technologies while maintaining the highest possible standard of patient care. Young et al. present two case studies that showcase the importance of taking patients’ needs into account when designing interventions. Later, Abrams and Callahan look at how teleaudiology has lagged behind other telehealth services.

Two articles look at the intersection of patient-centered care and clinical practice. Studts presents a tutorial focusing on the public health impact of evidence-based programs and practice in teleaudiology. Then, Morgan and colleagues discuss how clinical audiology and new technologies have historically been both at odds with and dependent upon each other.

The Future of Online Assessment

Pure-tone testing typically requires special equipment, but Hazan and colleagues look at the feasibility of a mobile application to allow patients to test themselves at home. van der Mescht et al. used a digits-in-noise (DiN) test to validate a mobile application that could help cochlear implant users monitor their hearing outside the clinic.

Two more articles also focused on online applications of the DiN test. Hisagi et al. studied how native language can affect auditory processing and speech perception for bilingual listeners. Then, Goodwin and colleagues investigated the links between (a) hearing and (b) cognitive impairment, cardiovascular health, and psychosocial well-being using the World Health Organization’s DiN mobile application.

Machine-learning models may have the potential to detect hearing loss based on test performance. Lenatti et al. tested an application to detect hearing loss, whereas Bruns and colleagues compared speech intelligibility scores measured by human and machine listeners.

Remote Hearing Aid Services

Hybrid services—wherein patients receive hearing aid fittings in person and have follow-up appointments virtually—show great potential to help patients. Petrarca and Worthington propose a six-section protocol for a hybrid pediatric outreach program, and Arnold et al. showed positive results with older clients using a hybrid service model.

Tye-Murray and colleagues surveyed older adults who received a fully remote fitting and follow-up intervention. Then, Duckworth et al. compared new and experienced hearing aid users who received conventional, fully remote, and hybrid hearing aid fittings.

Historical and Social Media Perspectives

We’ve seen online intervention come a long way, particularly in the past 2½ years, but Internet-based treatments have been around for more than 20 years! Andersson gives a historical review of Internet-based treatment for tinnitus, centered around cognitive behavior therapy.

Social media can help patients with health problems seek out advice or support. Manchaiah et al. used natural language processing to scan posts on Reddit for patients’ needs and perspectives on tinnitus. Then, Ulep and colleagues reviewed previous studies on social media and its relation to hearing loss, tinnitus, and vestibular disorders, finding the potential for both practical advice and misinformation.

The Latest in Teleaudiology

We’d like to thank Drs. Shafiro, Coco, Preminger, and Saunders for their work putting together this special issue. This collection of articles will support and inspire audiologists and researchers looking toward the future.

You can learn more about the special issue from the guest editors by watching the video below. Once you’re done, you can read the whole special issue here, or check out the individual articles below.

Explore the Special Issue

Abrams, H. B., & Callahan, C. M. (2022). Health behavior and motivational engagement models can explain and modify teleaudiology uptake. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 1043–1051.

Andersson, G. (2022). Internet-delivered psychological treatments for tinnitus: A brief historical review. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 1013–1018.

Arnold, M. L., Schwartz, B., Neil, H., Chisolm, T. H., & Sanchez, V. A. (2022). Feasibility and assessment of a hybrid audiology service delivery model for older adult hearing aid users: A pilot study. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 892–904.

Bruns, T., Ooster, J., Stennes, M., & Rennies, J. (2022). Automated speech audiometry for integrated voice over internet protocol communication services. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 980–992.

Duckworth, Z., Beckman, A., & Heinrich, A. (2022). Did changes to adult hearing aid pathways due to COVID-19 affect patient outcomes? A service evaluation. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 876–891.

Goodwin, M. V., Hogervorst, E., & Maidment, D. W. (2022). Test your health at home: Comparing online screening tests of hearing, cognition, and cardiovascular health. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 950–960.

Hazan, A., Luberadzka, J., Rivilla, J., Snik, A., Albers, B., Méndez, N., Wack, N., Paytuvi, O., Zarowski, A., Offeciers, E., & Kinsbergen, J. (2022). Home-based audiometry with a smartphone app: Reliable results?. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 914–922.

Hisagi, M., Baker, M., Alvarado, E., & Shafiro, V. (2022). Online assessment of speech perception and auditory spectrotemporal processing in Spanish–English bilinguals. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 936–949.

Lenatti, M., Moreno-Sánchez, P. A., Polo, E. M., Mollura, M., Barbieri, R., & Paglialonga, A. (2022). Evaluation of machine learning algorithms and explainability techniques to detect hearing loss from a speech-in-noise screening test. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 961–979.

Manchaiah, V., Londero, A., Deshpande, A. K., Revel, M., Palacios, G., Boyd, R. L., & Ratinaud, P. (2022). Online discussions about tinnitus: What can we learn from natural language processing of Reddit posts? American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 992–1002.

Morgan, S. D., Zeng, F.-G., & Clark, J. (2022). Adopting change and incorporating technological advancements in audiology education, research, and clinical practice. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 1052–1058.

Petrarca, K. A., & Worthington, M. (2022). Pediatric amplification: A proposed protocol for in-person hearing aid fittings and virtual follow-ups. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 864–875.

Shafiro, V., Coco, L., Preminger, J. E.,& Saunders, G. H. (2022). Introduction for the 5th International Meeting on Internet and Audiology special issue of the American Journal of Audiology. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 845–848.

Studts, C. R. (2022). Implementation science: Increasing the public health impact of audiology research. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 849–863.

Tye-Murray, N., Spehar, B., Mauze, E., & Cardinal, C. (2022). Hearing health care digital therapeutics: Patient satisfaction evidence. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 905–913.

Ulep, A., Deshpande, A. K., Beukes, E. W., Placette, A., & Manchaiah, V. (2022). Social media use in hearing loss, tinnitus, and vestibular disorders: A systematic review. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 1019–1042.

van der Mescht, L., le Roux, T., Mahomed-Asmail, F., De Sousa, K. C., and Swanepoel, D. W. (2022). Remote monitoring of adult cochlear implant recipients using digits-in-noise self-testing. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 923–935.

Young, T., Pang, J., & Ferguson, M. (2022). Hearing from you: Design thinking in audiological research. American Journal of Audiology, 31(3S), 1003–1012.