27 July 2022
National Guidelines to Support Teleaudiology Implementation
Launching nationally today, it is hoped new Teleaudiology Guidelines developed by Audiology Australia and the hearing health sector will encourage continued use of telehealth options alongside in-person care after increased demand for remote services during Covid-19.
Use of teleaudiology for the delivery of hearing health services almost doubled during the pandemic with nearly a quarter of hearing aid -related appointments conducted online. Keen to see this trend continue, AudA hopes the new Australian Government funded Guidelines create clarity for the sector by providing a voluntary framework to support hearing health professionals and clients to select the best service option for their care needs and circumstances.
Developed in collaboration with the hearing health sector, Teleaudiology Guidelines Working Group Chair, Dr Bec Bennett, said the Guidelines provided an important evidence-based guide to support the delivery of safe and effective teleaudiology.
“As we’ve seen during the pandemic, in-person care is not always possible. These Guidelines have been developed through extensive consultation, partnering with hearing health professionals and people with ear and hearing conditions, to empower them to make informed choices about, and engage with audiology services that suit an individual’s unique circumstances,” said Dr Bennett.
To support implementation of the guidelines and greater use of teleaudiology where suitable and practical, rollout of the new Guidelines is being supported by a practical implementation resource including relevant links, implementation tips and other information as well as consumer videos and professional development and training for hearing health professionals.
“Hearing health professionals and consumers can access information and materials to help them get the most out of the Guidelines. For hearing health professionals, the Guidelines will assist them with providing quality teleaudiology options to care for their clients,” she said.
Audiology Australia Board President, Dr Barbra Timmer, said expanding service delivery options and giving consumers and their health professionals choices would mean more Australians could access quality, effective hearing care compatible with their circumstance, location or need.
Welcoming the Guidelines, Dr Timmer said, “we’ve developed an evidence-based, real-world resource that makes teleaudiology as easy and workable as possible across a range of clinical settings. We hope this encourages greater use of teleaudiology to remove barriers to hearing care when in-person options are not suitable, or when remote access to services is preferred.”
Teleaudiology Working Group Member and Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist, Jane MacDonald from Country Hearing Care, has been using teleaudiology for some time to ensure continuity of care for clients across regional Victoria. The new Guidelines will support her and her clients in making important choices about the best way to deliver and access care while navigating the challenges of isolation and the need to travel vast distances for in-person care.
“Teleaudiology means we can provide our clients with flexible and convenient options for their hearing health care needs. This is particularly important for those clients who live remotely, or who are otherwise incapacitated and unable to access in-person care,” said Ms McDonald.
Download the Guidelines now: teleaudiologyguidelines.org.au/
Photographs and Images
Consumer infographic and videos
Case study images available
Case Study: Teleaudiology: Covid-19 No Barrier to Continuity of Services for Country Hearing Care
Our business quickly appreciated the benefits of teleaudiology, and telehealth, during the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and during lockdowns. Back when health recommendations included that we spend no more than 15 minutes with others in an enclosed room, we were able to continue working, with the use of teleaudiology. We would be able to perform hearing tests by having our client located in one room within our clinic, with the audiologist working in another room in the same clinic, or from home. We had another clinical team member enabling this, with headphone placement with the client, and facilitating other tests, which the audiologist could interpret from afar.
We were also able to use teleaudiology to conduct appointments with clients who were at their home. We could check their hearing goals and troubleshoot problems they may have been having with their hearing aids. It provided great flexibility when travel was prohibited, and we have continued this practice with our clients for whom travel is inconvenient or expensive, or when they are away on holiday. This has permitted access to the hearing care for which our clients otherwise would have had to wait.
About the Teleaudiology Guidelines Project
In 2020, the Australian Government commissioned Audiology Australia to develop a voluntary framework for the safe and effective delivery of teleaudiology services as part of a series of initiatives identified under the Roadmap for Hearing Health.
Overseen by a Working Group of nine hearing health sector representatives led by Dr Bec Bennett, AudA developed the Guidelines in extensive consultation with hearing health professionals, providers, consumers, and researchers to deliver a voluntary framework reflective of real-world clinical experience and need.
- assist hearing health professionals in making key decisions about client care and services
- support consumer access to quality hearing services regardless of location, ability, or social and economic circumstances
In addition to the Guidelines, support resources and training will assist hearing care professionals and consumers as they engage with teleaudiology services.
Expanding on in-person care, Teleaudiology provides access to remote hearing services to ensure continuity and quality of care where hearing care professionals cannot provide in-person care due to location, accessibility and other circumstances. This provides consumers with greater flexibility, choice and access to care.
Hearing care professionals draw on their clinical expertise and judgement to decide how best to evaluate and support the hearing rehabilitation needs of their clients. These Guidelines support a person-centred approach to health service delivery. The support resources are designed to empower consumers and the community with the knowledge required to make shared-decisions about utilizing teleaudiology as a complimentary service delivery option to existing in-person appointment.
About Audiology Australia
Audiology Australia is the peak professional association representing audiologists in Australia. Established in 1968, it has a current membership of over 3,000 audiologists representing approximately 95% of the profession.
Audiology Australia’s mission is to provide leadership in the science and practice of audiology through advocacy, education, and networking. We enable audiologists to deliver the highest standards of person-centred care. Audiology Australia provides professional accreditation for audiologists. Professional accreditation by Audiology Australia is a requirement to provide audiological services that fall under Medicare, the Hearing Services Program, state and territory work cover schemes, as well as many private health insurance funds. The profession of audiology is self-regulating, and Audiology Australia strives to help our members achieve the highest standards when delivering services to their clients.
Available for Comment:
Dr Barbra Timmer, Audiology Australia Board President
Dr Bec Bennet, Teleaudiology Working Group Chair
Ms Jane MacDonald, Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist, Country Hearing Care
Communications and PR Manager, Audiology Australia