A pilot study of telepractice delivery for teaching listening and spoken language to children with hearing loss.J Telemed Telecare. 2014 Apr; 20(3):135-40.JT
Telemedicine ("telepractice") allows improved access to specialised early intervention services such as Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) for children with hearing loss. We investigated the effectiveness of a tele-AVT programme (eAVT) in the spoken language development of a group of young children with hearing loss. In a retrospective study we compared the language outcomes of children with bilateral hearing loss receiving eAVT with a control group who received therapy In Person. Seven children in each group (mean age 2.4 years) were matched on pre-amplification hearing level for the better hearing ear, age at optimal amplification and enrolment in the AVT programme. The eAVT sessions were conducted via Skype. Results on the Preschool Language Scale-4 were compared at 2 years post optimal amplification. There were no significant differences in language scores between the two groups. Language scores for the children in the eAVT group were within the normal range for children with normal hearing. The results suggest that early intervention AVT via telepractice may be as effective as delivery In Person for children with hearing loss.