Communication Sciences and Disorders Publications
A Scoping Review of Technology and Infrastructure Needs in the Delivery of Virtual Hearing Aid Services
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Purpose: The digital health revolution has brought forward integral technological advancements enabling virtual care as a readily accessible delivery model. Despite this forward momentum, the field of audiology still faces barriers that impede the uptake of virtual services into routine clinical practice. The aim of this study was to gather, synthesize, and summarize the literature around virtual hearing aid intervention studies and the related technology and infrastructure requirements.
Method: A scoping review was conducted using MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus, Nursing and Allied Health, and Web of Science databases. Objectives, inclusion criteria, and scoping review methods were specified in advance and documented in a protocol.
Results: The 11 studies identified through this review related to virtual hearing aid services delivered by a licensed health care provider and/or facilitator(s) specific to hearing aid management, programming, verification, and validation services. Service delivery models varied according to patient population, technology experience, type(s) and time course of care, type of remote location, and technology/support requirements. Barriers and facilitators to implementation-related themes including technology access and function, client sociotechnical, convenience, education and training, interaction quality, service delivery, and technology innovation.
Conclusions: This scoping review provides evidence around the technology and infrastructure required for full integration of virtual hearing aid services into practice and according to care type. Low-tech versus high-tech requirements may be used to guide virtual service delivery triaging efforts. Research and development efforts in the areas of pediatrics, clinical support tools, and hearing aid/app-based solutions will support further uptake of virtual service delivery in audiology.