INTRODUCTION : Mobile health (m-health) has the potential to improve access and uptake of health services globally. Noncommunicable diseases such as hearing loss have seen increasing use of m-health approaches to improve access, scalability, penetration, quality, and convenience of health services. This scoping review describes published research in m-health supported hearing health care services across the continuum of care.
METHODS : A search on Scopus, MEDLINE (PubMed), and Web of Science for articles published up to July 2, 2021 was conducted. Articles in which m-health was used across a continuum of care where the primary focus was hearing health care were included. A narrative synthesis was conducted.
RESULTS : One hundred forty-six articles meeting the inclusion criteria were included in data extraction. High-income countries contributed 56% of articles, upper-middle countries 32%, lower-middle countries 8%, and low-income countries 4%. Articles identified included promotion (2%), screening (39%), diagnosis (35%), treatment (10%), and support (14%) for hearing loss. m-Health applications in high-income countries were more represented in diagnosis (62% vs. 38%), treatment (67% vs. 33%), and support (82% vs. 18%) compared with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) except for screening (64% vs. 36%). Few studies focussed on hearing health promotion across all income brackets.
CONCLUSIONS : m-Health supported hearing health care services are available across a continuum of care and various world regions, although more prevalent in high-income countries. Although great potential is demonstrated, implementation evaluations are important to further validate its widespread use and potential to make services for hearing loss more accessible in LMICs.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL I: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) Checklist.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL II: Characteristics of identified applications (n=146).
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL III: List of articles included in review.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL IV: Number of publications (n=146) per country in
which study was conducted (n=32).
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL V: Number of publications (n=146) per mHealth solution application.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL VI: Characteristics of identified mHealth applications (n=152) across area of application and mHealth availability.