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Triton Hearing delivers teleaudiology world first

Media release
4 April 2017

Triton Hearing delivers teleaudiology world first

Nationwide audiology chain Triton Hearing is introducing a world first with teleaudiology that will provide more New Zealanders with easy and affordable access to professional advice about their hearing.

By connecting specialists with clients using advanced communications technology, the cost and ease of access to audiologists is set to be revolutionised.

The company is inviting those interested to see the technology in action when it connects its Remuera and Timaru clinics on Tuesday 4 April. Going forward the technology can be viewed every Tuesday.

While it has 56 clinics across the country, Triton Hearing recognises that seeing an audiologist can still be difficult for some New Zealanders, particularly the elderly says the company’s Managing Director, James Whittaker.

“With Triton Hearing Teleaudiology, the challenge of distance is eliminated. Communication technology enables remote consultations and the delivery of audiological services even if the client and audiologist are hundreds of kilometres apart.”

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the New Zealand Audiology Society and Australian Audiology have endorsed telepractice is an appropriate model of service delivery for the audiology profession. Further, the quality of services delivered via telepractice are consistent with the quality of services delivered face-to-face.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health, who recently viewed Triton Hearing’s Teleaudiology service, supports Telehealth providing access to health information, advice and support from trained health professionals, using a range of communication channels so people can receive the right care at the right time and in the right place.[1]

The introduction of the technology locally is a world first, Whittaker adds, because it combines multiple innovations to create a unique teleaudiology model which fully adheres to the New Zealand Audiological Society Best Practice Guidelines, including all provisions for room and equipment calibrations. “That means we provide a full diagnostic assessment, hearing and communication needs assessments, impression taking, hearing aid fitting and verification, purchase and full follow-up services through a synchronous, live connection.”

Craig Lett, Triton Hearing’s Clinical Development Manager, who has worked on the project for 18 months, explains that the client, audiologist, and ear nurse communicate through a high-definition teleconferencing system.

“The audiologist works from in a dedicated teleconferencing room, while the client visits their local clinic with a registered Ear Nurse who has additional training as a Triton hearing Teleaudiology Clinical Assistant,” he says.

“The audiologist has full remote control of the audiological equipment at the host site, while the client, audiologist and ear nurse are in constant visual and audio contact. The ear nurse provides the in-room support including performing video otoscopy, positioning transducers, handling hearing aids, and ensuring patient comfort and safety,” says Lett. “And, we’ve worked hard to ensure the customer experience is exceptional and equal to that of a face to face consultation.”

With the teleaudiology service being introduced to connect Auckland-based audiologists with clients in Timaru, the potential to offer full audiological services anywhere is demonstrated. “We want to be able to go to places we can’t usually get to, to ensure everyone has access to our full range of hearing services. Teleaudiology will enable all New Zealanders to experience a full life, connecting with friends, family and the wider community and to not be limited by hearing loss,” says Whittaker.

“The health system faces real challenges with an aging population facing increasingly complex health concerns. Teleaudiology, thoughtfully applied to professional clinical consultations, will enable the delivery of better, more cost effective audiological health services to all,” he concludes.

About Triton Hearing
As New Zealand’s only Consumer Trusted Hearing Expert, Triton Hearing is at the forefront of delivering innovative hearing solutions to New Zealanders as well as expert advice and Free Lifetime Care. Uniquely, their Hearing Experts are contractually obliged to prescribe the best solution for each client, from a huge range of hearing devices, independent of manufacturing brand.

[1] (New Zealand Audiology Society, 2015; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2005).
(Ferrari & Bernardez-Braga, 2009; Krumm, Ribera, & Klich, 2007; Patricoski, et al., 2003; Swanepoel, Koekemoer, & Clark, 2010) Ministry of Health National Telehealth Service,www.health.govt.nz/our-work/national-telehealth-service.

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