How can audiologists enhance patient-centered communication, even during the COVID-19 pandemic? This self-study is from the journal, Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, SIG 7: Auditory Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation. It features two articles focused on patient-centered strategies for effective communication, from initial consultations to prioritizing follow-up care, during COVID-19. It also includes the article that won the 2021 ASHA Journals Editor’s Award for Perspectives (for SIGs 6, 7, 8, and 9) by Davidson and Marrone.
The first article is, “How to Provide Accessible Hearing Health Information to Promote Patient-Centered Care.” Kelly-Campbell and Manchaiah review the literature within audiology on patient-provider communication. They focus on research studies of communication during initial audiology consultation sessions. Through a summary of themes in the literature, they categorize important research findings that provide insight into communication between patients and their audiologists. Finally, they identify five key strategies for effective patient-centered communication. Each strategy is then reviewed in detail, with clinical examples and specific recommendations that can be immediately
implemented in practice.
The second article is, “A Clinically Valuable Interaction in the Midst of COVID-19 and Beyond: A Viewpoint on the Importance of Patient-Centered Outcomes in Rehabilitative Audiology.” Davidson and Marrone discuss patient-centered communication following hearing aid device fittings. They identify challenges facing patients and audiologists related to follow-up hearing aid services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on a literature review and their own recent research, they developed a decision-tree algorithm to help audiologists prioritize clinical activities following hearing aid fittings, including remote formats for care. The algorithm was based on use of a patient-centered outcome measure, the Measure of Audiologic Rehabilitation Self-Efficacy. Patient-centered outcomes measurement is suggested as an engagement strategy for continued communication with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
For people experiencing dizziness, what are possible options for vestibular and balance
rehabilitation? This self-study from Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups
(SIG 7) addresses treatment choices in vestibular and balance rehabilitation, the state of
the evidence on their efficacy, and future directions for interdisciplinary research and
practice. Written by clinicians and scholars with expertise in audiology and physical
therapy, the four articles present an interdisciplinary and life span approach to vestibular
and balance rehabilitation for children and adults. The first article by Christy is on the
use of vestibular and balance rehabilitation therapy for dizziness in children. Next, the
review by Herdman focuses on the evolution of vestibular function tests and
rehabilitation for major vestibular disorders as well as areas in which research and
clinical practice may grow in the future. In Holmberg, the relatively new but common
diagnosis of persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD) is presented in terms of its
pathophysiology, differential diagnosis, and treatment protocols. Finally, Clendaniel
provides a review on the use of vestibular rehabilitation in the treatment of benign
paroxysmal positional vertigo. Included are detailed photos and illustrations of current
techniques and exercises. As described in the introduction to the forum by Guest Editor
Neil Shepard, PhD, “It is hoped that these four articles will provide a needed look at
vestibular and balance rehabilitation therapy (VBRT) so the audiologist can serve as a
productive member of the treatment team and have a good understanding as to
These Perspectives (SIG 7) articles address therapy, patient education/counseling, and novel eHealth programs to serve clients across the lifespan. The topic of multisensory integration is addressed with a review of cognitive neuroscience literature and recommendations are made for therapy protocols for infants and children with hearing loss. There is a review of the development and outcomes of a multimedia education program for adults with hearing loss. The use of eHealth in patient-centered care for adults with hearing loss is considered for current practice and its future directions. Authors discuss considerations for the use of remote microphone technology by the oldest generation of patients. Finally, patient-centered strategies for communication during audiology consultations are presented to build trust and positive therapeutic relationships.