PURPOSE : This review examined (a) the current evidence from studies on teleaudiology applications for rehabilitation of adults with hearing impairment with hearing aids and (b) whether it is sufficient to support the translation into routine clinical practice.
METHOD : A search strategy and eligibility criteria were utilized to include articles specifically related to hearing aid fitting and follow-up procedures that are involved in consultations for the rehabilitation of adults, where the service was provided by the clinician by teleaudiology. A search using key words and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) was conducted on the main electronic databases that index health-related studies. The included studies were assessed using validated evaluation tools for methodological quality, level of evidence, and grade recommendations for application into practice.
RESULTS : Fourteen studies were identified as being within the scope of this review. The evaluation tools showed that none of these studies demonstrated either a strong methodological quality or high level of evidence. Analysis of evidence identified 19 activities, which were classified into service outcomes categories of feasibility, barriers, efficiency, quality, and effectiveness. Recommendations could be made regarding the (a) feasibility, (b) barriers, and (c) efficiency of teleaudiology for the rehabilitation of hearing loss with hearing aids.
CONCLUSION : This review provides up-to-date evidence for teleaudiology hearing aid services in new and experienced hearing aid users in different practice settings. Findings direct future research priorities to strengthen evidence-based practice. There is a need for further studies of many aspects of teleaudiology services for rehabilitation with hearing aids to support their implementation into clinical practice.