Beukes, E.W. & Manchaiah, V.
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Group, 4(3), 542-552. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_PERS-SIG18-2018-0003
Publication year: 2019

Abstract

Purpose: Advancements in digital and computing technologies have created opportunities for innovations in the provision of health care remotely. The aim of this article is to provide audiological professionals with a summary of literature regarding existing audiological Internet-based interventions (IBIs). The specific objectives are to (a) provide an overview of the range of audiological IBIs for adults with hearing loss, balance disorders, and tinnitus; (b) identify the features included in these IBIs and possible benefits; and (c) identify difficulties and challenges regarding the implementation and use of audiological IBIs.

Method: Relevant articles were identified through literature review conducted in the PubMed database and gray literature. The relevant information from these sources, such as the type of intervention and main outcomes, were summarized.

Results: A range of IBIs were identified, with the majority addressing tinnitus distress. Those for hearing loss have been applied at different stages of the patient journey. Unguided IBIs for vestibular difficulties included self-help for Ménière’s disease and vestibular rehabilitation. Most tinnitus IBIs provided cognitive behavioral therapy. Overall, IBIs showed benefits in terms of outcome and accessibility. Barriers include uncertainties surrounding cost-effectiveness, optimal level of support, and improving intervention compliance.

Conclusions: Telehealth applications are expanding in audiology, and IBIs have been developed to provide auditory rehabilitation, vestibular rehabilitation, and tinnitus interventions. IBIs have the potential to offer accessible and affordable services. More work is required to further develop these interventions and optimize outcomes.