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J Audiol Otol > Epub ahead of print
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7874/jao.2021.00584    [Epub ahead of print] Published online May 12, 2022.
Tele-Audiology in India: Current and Future Trends in Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice Among Audiologists
Nazreen Nihara M R  , Jayashree Seethapathy 
Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur, Chennai, India
Correspondence  Jayashree Seethapathy ,Tel: +91 044 24768027, Fax: +91 044 24767008, Email: jayashrees@sriramachandra.edu.in
Submitted: October 9, 2021  Accepted after revision: March 18, 2022
Abstract
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.
Keywords: Tele-audiology; Tele-health; Audiologists; Attitude; Practice
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