Using tele-practice to support early hearing aid fitting for infants

Ms Karin Gillies1

1Australian Hearing, Melbourne, Australia

Early action is essential for optimising outcomes of children who are diagnosed with hearing loss through newborn hearing screening, so Australian Hearing offers initial appointments within 2 weeks of referral for newly-diagnosed infants if this is convenient for families.   Equally important is the need for services to be delivered by Paediatric Audiologists who have had specialised training in the management of infants with hearing loss.

Families’ access to appropriate services can be impacted by a range of factors, including travel distances to their closest hearing centre and availability of appropriately trained staff at that location.   Unexpected staff absences due to illness or other factors also affect ease of access.

By considering three case studies, this paper will describe how Australian Hearing has used experienced a senior paediatric specialist to support the development of infant-specialist skills of paediatric audiologists in three regional hearing centres and to provide continuity of service to families at a convenient location.  The local audiologist was supported with preparation, planning and debriefing the infant’s appointment via phone or video-link.  Clinical services were delivered in person by the local audiologist, with the senior specialist participating via video-link.  The local audiologist was able to develop skills in a supportive environment and the family were able to access expert support, while minimising the travel burden with their baby.  When the local audiologist was unavailable due to illness, the senior specialist was able to run the family’s appointment from a remote location to avoid cancellations and delays in the program.


Karin is a Clinical Coach at Australian Hearing.  Karin joined Australian Hearing in 1981 after completing her studies at the School of Audiology at the University of Melbourne.  She has worked as a Paediatric Audiologist and Educational Audiologist and has also completed a Master of Education at the University of Melbourne.  Currently Karin is involved with coaching and mentoring clinicians, and developing and providing clinical training.