This article was originally published here
J Audiol Otol. 2022 May 12. doi: 10.7874/jao.2021.00584. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread use of telepractice in hearing health care services. In this study, we investigated the knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) of tele-audiology among Indian audiologists. The current study is based on tele-practice guidelines recommended by the Indian Speech and Hearing Association for tele-audiology services in India.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: An internet-based KAP questionnaire survey was performed among 108 audiologists. The questionnaire included 33 items categorized under the following domains: demographic information and KAP of tele-audiology. Of the 108 audiologists included in the study, 38 admitted to the practice of tele-audiology previously and during the COVID-19 pandemic (tele-practitioners), and 70 respondents had no experience of tele-audiology (non-telepractitioners).
RESULTS: Overall higher scores were observed with regard to the knowledge domain, and a mixed attitude regarding tele-practice was observed among audiologists. Most respondents acknowledged the advantages of tele-audiology in clinical practice. However, audiologists were hesitant to utilize this technology owing to the challenges associated with tele-practice.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite adequate awareness and a positive attitude, a gap is observed between available knowledge and its actual application/utilization in tele-audiology. Tele-audiology practice was limited to counseling, hearing impairment treatment, and troubleshooting tips for hearing aids. Evidence-based practices to perform diagnostic test battery in tele-mode, hands-on training to run diagnostic test battery/rehabilitation using a tele-mode approach, and greater understanding of the technical requirements for tele-practice may result in a positive perception and encourage tele-audiology practice among audiologists. Specialized training and regular continuing education programmes are important to promote tele-audiology services in clinical practice.