Pediatric Amplification: A Protocol for In-Person Fittings and Virtual Follow-Ups
Children with hearing loss and their families face a multitude of barriers to accessing appropriate and timely audiologic care. At Rush University, a pediatric hearing loss outreach program is under development to address and overcome those barriers. This program, one of many within the Student Community Outreach Program of Excellence (SCOPE), will provide in-person hearing aid fittings and virtual follow-up visits to families who are unable to obtain amplification by other means due to either a lack of or insufficient insurance coverage. The value of this program is three-fold: it will support timely intervention for children with hearing loss between the ages of two years, nine months and eighteen years; it will remove financial and logistic barriers to care; and it will provide unique, on-campus clinical education opportunities in teleaudiology and pediatric amplification to Doctor of Audiology students at Rush University.
The bimodal service delivery of this program, as described in this presentation, intends to overcome the logistic barriers to care - such as the burdens of travel and excessive wait times for appointments - while adhering to evidence-based practices. To do so, a clinical protocol has been developed based on relevant literature and previously published protocols. This protocol details the rationale and target population, necessary equipment, procedures for in-person hearing aid fittings, procedures for virtual follow-ups, outcome measures, and schedule of appointments. Although the efficacy of this program cannot be formally reviewed until after its implementation, studies both within and without the field of audiology support the efficacy of a telehealth mode of service delivery to provide high-quality, effective patient care.