South Dakota Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program: Using TeleAudiology to Conduct Infant Diagnostic Assessments Map

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Within South Dakota, there is a need for telehealth practices for pediatric audiology. While South Dakota implements universal newborn hearing screening and an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, there exists a high lost-to-follow-up/lost-to-documentation (LTF/D) rate. This rate is of concern because many children with hearing loss may not be identified until they are older, and the optimum window for intervention has passed. Much of the high LTF/D rate is due to limited accessibility to pediatric audiological services, rurality, and high poverty levels. The incorporation of teleaudiology allows providers to overcome barriers hindering the delivery of service. Within South Dakota, there are four pediatric audiology locations in the communities of Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Yankton and Vermillion that offer comprehensive pediatric audiologic diagnostic assessments. However, this leaves a large portion of South Dakota without access to comprehensive pediatric audiological care. The EHDI program has recognized this need and has established a teleaudiology program for screening infant hearing. A hub-and-spoke model includes a certified pediatric audiologist at the hub site who can assess hear hearing of infants at the two spoke (remote) sites. Due to the teleaudiology infrastructure, two additional locations, the cities of Winner and Aberdeen, are now available to families needing hearing assessment for their infant. Infant hearing assessments are completed through the use of video otoscopy, tympanometry, and auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing. Through this project, the interconnectedness of the current pediatric audiology sites, population density, annual household income, and other factors that may impact a child's likelihood of receiving follow-up assessment were evaluated. One aspect of this project will be creation of a South Dakota map representing these factors. This map will enhance the ability to identify areas of low accessibility and high need, which will contribute to future decisions regarding teleaudiology services.

First Advisor

Jessica Messersmith

Second Advisor

Jewel Goodman Shepherd

Research Area

University Honors

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