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The University of Southampton

Research project: Telemedicine in cochlear implants

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Dr Helen Cullington is interested in how we are going to continue providing excellent care when the number of cochlear implant users is increasing so rapidly. 

Some predictions suggest that there will be seven times as many patients using cochlear implants in seven years’ time. There are currently 800,000 people using cochlear implants worldwide; they need lifelong care at a specialist clinic. How can we continue to follow up so many patients? The answer may lie in remote person-centred care.  We can empower people to use telemedicine tools to care for their implant at home – only visiting the clinic when help is needed.  Patients can check their hearing, practise listening in background noise, check their implant site, order spare equipment, and receive reminders – all from their own home.   Doing a hearing check at home means the patient can take action and seek help if their hearing gets worse.  We use a simple test repeating back groups of three numbers (triple digit test):

Helen has been using a modified version of this test and found that the results in people with cochlear implants match well with those obtained in conventional hearing tests in the clinic.  A recent student project has also shown that a test using numbers is more effective for people whose native language is not English.

Helen is currently organising the Fourth International Internet & Audiology meeting, visit the Internet Audiology website for more information.

Associated research themes

University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science
Child with a cochlear implant
Child with a cochlear implant

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