By Renée Lefrançois

This article is a part of the September/October 2022, Volume 34, Number 5, Audiology Today issue

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, and others build windmills. This Chinese proverb has been particularly pertinent, while COVID-19 has compelled us to rethink how we live, work, and interact with the world; audiology is no exception. 

We took for granted aspects of our clinical routine: in-person patient evaluations, programming sessions, and follow-up appointments. However, when in-person hearing diagnostics and hearing loss intervention became harder or even not possible, many audiologists creatively adapted—building windmills, not walls.

Tele-audiology removes distance and travel as a barrier to patient-care delivery. Recruiting clinicians becomes easier when drawing from a remote talent pool, as opposed to one limited by commuting. Tele-audiology can relieve specific hurdles encountered by both patients and clinicians related to in-person sessions. Opening the door to expanded care by potentially shortening travel distances, decreasing wait times with a broader range of appointment options; helping people benefit from previously unavailable hearing care. In addition, with remote testing, audiologists can optimize their schedules and test from a location of their choice.

Tele-audiology can enable hearing care to be more cost-effective and patient-focused for those with mobility or compromised health challenges. Patients also benefit from broader care access, as well as more scheduling flexibility than found in the typical clinic-only model.

The future of tele-audiology is happening now rapidly transforming the overall delivery of hearing care.

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