eHealth and hearing loss: Effect of remote programming of hearing aids and rehabilitation support on device usage
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are poised to have increasingly larger roles in health care systems globally and one possible scenario is that Ontario emerges as a leader in providing eHealth innovation and service delivery. Although ICT-based methods of service delivery are well established in particular areas of health care, the potential benefits for hearing health care have not been fully realized due to a number of technological and non-technological barriers. Foremost among them, successful aural rehabilitation requires face-to-face consultations where practitioners can program hearing aids and provide follow-up support and care (eg. device adjustments). Recently, our industrial partner (Unitron Hearing/Sonova Holding AG) has addressed the critical challenge of remote detection of a hearing aid; however, several technical and non-technological challenges remain. The proposed program of research is designed to address this gap, with a particularly emphasis placed on understanding clinical outcomes and patient-practitioner experiences through the interface of technology.