Int J Audiol. 2020 Sep 10:1-8. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1814432. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To document changes in audiology practice resulting from COVID-19 restrictions and to assess audiologists’ opinions about teleaudiology.
DESIGN: A survey consisting of closed-set and open-ended questions that assessed working practices during the COVID-19 restrictions and audiologists’ attitudes towards teleaudiology.
SAMPLE: About 120 audiologists in the UK recruited via snowball sampling through social media and emails.
RESULTS: About 30% of respondents said they had used teleaudiology prior to COVID-19 restrictions; 98% had done at the time of survey completion, and 86% said they would continue to do so even when restrictions are lifted. Reasons for prior non-use of teleaudiology were associated with clinical limitations/needs, available infrastructure and patient preferences. Respondents believe teleaudiology will improve travel, convenience, flexibility and scheduling, that it will have little/no impact on satisfaction and quality of care, but that it will negatively impact personal interactions. Concerns about teleaudiology focussed on communication, inability to conduct some clinical procedures and technology.
CONCLUSIONS: Respondents’ experience with teleaudiology has generally been positive however improvements to infrastructure and training are necessary, and because many procedures must be conducted in-person, it will always be necessary to have hybrid-care pathways available.