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Unlocking the Future of Audiological Rehabilitation: Hybrid Services Post COVID-19

Unlocking the Future of Audiological Rehabilitation: Hybrid Services Post COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the landscape of healthcare delivery, pushing many professionals to adapt to new methods. In the field of audiology, the hybrid model of combining online and face-to-face services has emerged as a promising approach. A recent study titled "Is a hybrid of online and face-to-face services feasible for audiological rehabilitation post COVID-19? Findings from three public health patients" sheds light on the feasibility and benefits of this model. Here's how practitioners can improve their skills and patient outcomes by implementing the research findings.

High Compliance and Minimal Contact Time

The study revealed a high compliance rate of 84.82% with minimal clinician contact time, averaging just 3 hours and 25 minutes over a 6-week period. This is a significant finding as it suggests that hybrid tele-rehabilitation does not heavily burden clinicians while maintaining high patient engagement. Practitioners should consider integrating online auditory training (AT) programs to ensure high compliance without overextending their resources.

Clinical Benefits

The research highlighted improvements in perceived hearing aid (HA) benefits and listening skills among participants. The use of the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB) and Quick Speech In Noise (QuickSIN) tests showed notable enhancements in listening in noisy environments. By adopting a hybrid model, practitioners can offer comprehensive audiological rehabilitation that extends beyond mere HA fittings, thus improving overall patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Positive Participant Experience

Participants reported positive experiences with the hybrid model, citing the convenience of online sessions and the helpfulness of weekly reminders. They also appreciated the communication tips provided during the sessions. This feedback underscores the importance of patient education and support, which can be effectively delivered through a hybrid approach.

Cost-Effectiveness

The study estimated the average cost per participant to be around R1350.00, including online program access, mobile data, and minimal travel expenses. This cost-effective model is particularly beneficial in low-resource settings, making it a viable option for public health systems. Practitioners should consider the financial benefits of hybrid services, which can provide high-quality care without significant additional costs.

Moving Forward

The study concludes that hybrid tele-rehabilitation is a feasible and beneficial approach for audiological rehabilitation, especially in the context of COVID-19. While further large-scale research is needed, the initial findings are promising. Practitioners are encouraged to explore hybrid models to enhance their service delivery, improve patient outcomes, and maintain compliance with health and safety protocols.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Is a hybrid of online and face-to-face services feasible for audiological rehabilitation post COVID-19? Findings from three public health patients.


Citation: Khatib, N., & Hlayisi, V.-G. (2022). Is a hybrid of online and face-to-face services feasible for audiological rehabilitation post COVID-19? Findings from three public health patients. The South African Journal of Communication Disorders, 69(2), Article 907. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.907

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