COVID-19

COVID-19

FY21 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Benefits Audiology Medicare Reimbursement

On January 11, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration effective January 21, 2021, for an additional 90 days. This means that all of the telehealth and other waivers and flexibilities that have been implemented during the PHE will remain in effect until at least April 21, 2021.

Close-up photograph of middle-aged woman with mask holding ear

New Study Evaluates How Different Face Masks Affect the Acoustics of Speech

A new study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America examined how the different types of face masks affect the acoustics of speech.

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As COVID Vaccinations Begin, Questions About Eligibility and Access for Audiologists Remain

As states begin vaccination efforts, many members have questions about when audiologists, as health-care providers, will have access. This vaccination effort faces unprecedented challenges in terms of the order of magnitude, the complexity of the vaccine administration, and the limited supply of the product.

Federal government responsibility for the vaccine is confined to vaccine approvals and the delivery of vaccine doses to each state. Each state is solely responsible for prioritizing access and vaccine administration.

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COVID-19 and Its Impact on Hearing Health Care for Older Adults

As audiologists, we are acutely aware that COVID-19 and related prevention and mitigation efforts have impacted our practices and our patients. 

Gaeta (2020) queried 150 older adults about their communication difficulties and thoughts on hearing health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority (n=119) experienced at least some hearing difficulties, half wore hearing aids (n=76), and just over half (n=79) reported communication difficulties due to masks. 

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Academy Encourages CMS to Allow Audiologists to Use Medicare Online Assessment “G” Codes

The Academy has delivered a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging them to issue a Correction Notice to the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule to add audiologists to the list of providers able to use online assessment “G” codes designed for practitioners who are not authorized to perform evaluation and management (“E&M”) services. 

Photo of a young girl virtual learning with laptop

Remote Learning During the Pandemic for Children with Hearing Loss

Introduction

Many students with hearing loss receive instructional accommodations, curricular modifications, and school-related hearing technology as outlined in their Section 504 or individualized education plans (IEPs). Historically, however, these plans did not account for a student’s online learning needs. As a result, school personnel are struggling to ensure equal access to education across varied learning environments during the pandemic for students with hearing loss.

Topic(s): COVID-19, virtual learning, Pediatric, Pediatric Audiology

He’s Falling Behind: Virtual Learning and Impact on Students with Disabilities

It’s a difficult time for everyone. Learning is virtual for many children, which is bringing new problems for children going to school at home. For children who need different and more services, virtual learning can be particularly challenging. 

A Charlotte, North Carolina, family is worried that their son Connor, who was born deaf, is falling too far behind because of virtual learning. When Connor was in school, he’d work with several teachers and aides who were specialists in helping children like him. Because of the pandemic, this isn’t possible any longer.

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New Israeli Study Suggests COVID-19 Does Not Damage Auditory System

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports in the professional literature on possible hearing loss caused by the disease. A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU), in collaboration with the Galilee Medical Center, finds no evidence of damage to the auditory system as a result of COVID-19 infection.  


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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Publishes Interim Final Rule Confirming Practice Across State Lines for VA Health-Care Professionals

In mid-November, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released an interim final rule allowing VA health-care professionals to practice across state lines beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency; as long as it is in accordance with the scope and requirements of their VA employment, regardless of state licensing requirements.