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New telecommunications technology that delivers specialist hearing health services to regional Australia has been successfully trialled by researchers from the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).
HEARing CRC Chief Executive Officer, Associate Professor Robert Cowan, said several of the CRC's research projects have used new technologies to deliver remote hearing healthcare.
‘A good example is our Management of cochlear implants using remote technologies project which is developing procedures where audiologists can have remote consultations with their patients via the internet. By having such a setup, that includes video conferencing technologies, an individual who has received a cochlear implant can receive essential follow up consultations without having to go into the clinic,' Cowan explained.
'One of our members involved in this project, the University of Queensland, has been effectively using a specialised Australian telehealth support system called eHAB to work remotely with children between ages of 3 and 12 with cochlear implants.'
A further challenge for hearing health providers operating in remote Australia is finding ways to provide timely and effective hearing assessments in areas where health professionals and facilities are scarce or difficult to establish.
The Remote assessment of hearing project based at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) in Sydney trialled different combinations of technologies to provide both initial paediatric hearing screening and full audiological followup assessment as required.
The results of these projects will steer the development of clinical guidelines for the emerging field of internet based audiology and are also relevant to other health service providers operating in rural and remote Australia.
Source: HEARing CRC
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