Clinical outcomes of Hearing Australia in-person and remote services


This study aimed to assess and understand, using a retrospective mixed-methods design:

  1. whether clients receiving hearing services delivered remotely obtained similar or different clinical outcomes to clients receiving hearing services delivered in-person, and
  2. the experiences that clients had of remotely delivered services and their decision to access or refuse those services.

One hundred and two Hearing Australia clients seen for hearing aid fitting were recruited and their clinical outcomes post-fitting were collected via telephone interview. Of these, 45 were seen entirely in-person and 48 received a remote follow-up by telephone or video. Nine clients who were seen for a remote appointment that was not a follow-up appointment were excluded from this analysis.

There were no significant differences in any clinical outcome between those who received a remote follow-up appointment and those who received their entire appointment journey in-person. Outcomes were self-reported hearing aid use, benefit, satisfaction, residual disability, and social isolation.

Clients seen remotely had a significantly weaker preference for in-person services than those seen in-person, although two thirds of them still preferred in-person services over remote services.

A subset of participants (n= 11) was also contacted for a follow-up interview about their experiences with in-person and remote services.

Participants described their experiences with Hearing Australia positively, whether they were seen in-person or remotely. Participants who preferred to be seen in-person stressed the importance of interpersonal relationships and communication that they felt would be strengthened by attending the hearing centre in-person.

This report also discusses a theoretical model that may be useful in designing, implementing, and reviewing technology-based hearing services in the future to improve acceptance by clients.

Research Report
David Allen
David Allen
Senior Research Audiologist, Honorary Research Fellow

Dr David Allen is Head of Research at Incept Labs and a Senior Research Audiologist at the National Acoustic Laboratories.