Original Research

Is a hybrid of online and face-to-face services feasible for audiological rehabilitation post COVID-19? Findings from three public health patients

Nuha Khatib, Vera-Genevey Hlayisi
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 2 | a907 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.907 | © 2022 Nuha Khatib, Vera-Genevey Hlayisi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2022 | Published: 17 August 2022

About the author(s)

Nuha Khatib, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Vera-Genevey Hlayisi, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has pushed many audiologists to incorporate remote service delivery methods to adhere to mandatory health and safety protocols. The use of tele-audiology for audiological rehabilitation may provide a sustainable, cost-effective modality to suit the existing need, particularly in low-resourced countries.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of implementing a hybrid tele-rehabilitation programme in a South African public health context. An online auditory training (AT) programme was used to determine (1) compliance, (2) clinical benefit, (3) participant experience and (4) costs.

Method: A convergent mixed methods design with a feasibility approach was utilised. Data collection was done through questionnaires, in-booth assessments, online AT, and face-to-face interviewing. Participants undertook online AT over 4 weeks. For pre- and post-online AT, the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), QuickSIN, entrance and exit questionnaires, interviews and a system usability scale were administered.

Results: Key findings of this study included (1) a high compliance rate (84.82%) with minimal clinician contact time at 3 h 25 min over 5–6-weeks; (2) improvement in perceived hearing aid (HA) benefit, and improvement in listening skills; (3) reported positive experiences; and (4) minimal programme costs at an average of R1350.00 per participant.

Conclusion: The results showed positive indicators that the use of hybrid tele-rehabilitative strategies may provide a viable alternative to the traditional face-to-face modality. The hybrid approach showed clinical benefits, cost-effectiveness, minimal contact time as well as COVID-19 compliance. Further large-scale research is still needed.


tele-audiology; hybrid; COVID-19; public health; auditory training; hearing aids; adult; South Africa


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Crossref Citations

1. The impact of COVID-19 on speech–language and hearing professions in low- and middle-income countries: Challenges and opportunities explored
Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Nomfundo Moroe, Joanne Neille, Anita Edwards
South African Journal of Communication Disorders  vol: 69  issue: 2  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.937