Purpose: The goal of this study was to compare clinical and research-based cochlear implant (CI) measures using telehealth versus traditional methods.
Method: This prospective study used an ABA design (A = laboratory, B = remote site). All measures were made twice per visit for the purpose of assessing within-session variability. Twenty-nine adult and pediatric CI recipients participated. Measures included electrode impedance, electrically evoked compound action potential thresholds, psychophysical thresholds using an adaptive procedure, map thresholds and upper comfort levels, and speech perception. Subjects completed a questionnaire at the end of the study.
Results: Results for all electrode-specific measures revealed no statistically significant differences between traditional and remote conditions. Speech perception was significantly poorer in the remote condition, which was likely due to the lack of a sound booth. In general, subjects indicated that they would take advantage of telehealth options at least some of the time, if such options were available.
Conclusions: Results from this study demonstrate that telehealth is a viable option for research and clinical measures. Additional studies are needed to investigate ways to improve speech perception at remote locations that lack sound booths and to validate the use of telehealth for pediatric services (e.g., play audiometry), sound-field threshold testing, and troubleshooting equipment.