Remote Telehealth hearing assessment in a rural community - a validation study. (Thesis)
The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of pure tone air conduction thresholds obtained using a synchronous telehealth approach. This was conducted without a sound-booth in a rural community.
The KUDUwave™ diagnostic audiometer was used to obtain hearing thresholds in both a sound booth and in a natural environment (Without a sound booth). Thresholds obtained in the two environments were compared – test-retest threshold correspondence in the booth and natural environments were within ± 5 dB in 96.7% and 97.5% of comparisons respectively.
Threshold correspondence between the telemedicine compared to booth and natural environments were within ±5 dB in 82% and 85% of comparisons, respectively. The remote clinician was in audio-visual contact with the patient through video conferencing software (Skype). A 3G cellular network was used to connect to the internet at both sites.
This study concludes and validates the use of KUDUwave™ synchronous telemedicine for conducting hearings assessments in rural environments without a sound booth and with a lack of audiologists/clinicians.