Audiology Telehealth: Helping Rural Veterans Access Hearing Evaluations

Veteran using telehealth technology for his hearing loss.

Hearing loss is one of the top issues that frequently affect Veterans nationwide, but until recently, many Veterans living in rural areas have had challenges in receiving needed hearing care. To address this, the Department of Veterans Affairs is proactively using the latest in telehealth technology to reach rural Veterans.

“Expanded use of innovative technology is increasing access points to hearing care in remote areas, enabling telehealth providers to expand their reach to patients and their families in satisfying and effective ways,” said Chad Gladden, audiology telehealth coordinator for the Audiology and Speech Pathology National Program Office.

Audiology Store and Forward Telehealth (SFT) is being implemented through a pilot program in targeted areas. As part of this SFT modality, trained personnel at remote sites compile automated audiometric test results and captured images, then send this medical data to audiologists at VA medical centers for analysis. An estimated 400 Veterans have now been tested through this pilot program.

The original sites for the pilot were medical centers in Nashville, TN; Bay Pines, FL; Topeka, KS, and San Francisco, CA. 11 new facilities have requested similar hardware setups in order to expand their programs. Continued expansion is planned for FY 2020.

Read more about this VA Telehealth program on VAntage Point.