journal of biomedical informatics
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eHealth for Hearing - New Views and Apps Practicalities

Author(s): Gabriella Tognola, Alessia Paglialonga, Emma Chiaramello, Francesco Pinciroli

Background: We are observing a silent and disrupting rev- olution in the hearing health care practice due to the perva- sive use of eHealth methods and technologies, in particular mobile apps. This situation is very new, e.g., in the novel interactions and relationship between actors, in the implicit knowledge relevant to actors, and in the acquisition and comprehension of health messages and fragmented, e.g., in knowledge, standardization, regulation, and in methods for quality evaluation, so here we propose a new paradigm.

Objectives: We want to contribute to the de nition of the boundaries and rules of the new 'eHealth4Hearing' paradigm.

Methods: Starting from the needs perceived by peo- ple with hearing disabilities, we formulated a new 'eHealth4Hearing' paradigm and gave practical examples on its application.

Results: The 'eHealth4Hearing' paradigm is delivering a new patient-centered model where people have (1) tools for at-home checking of hearing status to monitor or to detect early hearing disabilities; (2) tools to acquire meaningful, accurate and personalized information on how their hearing condition may a ect their lives and to simulate how di erent rehabilitation solutions will work for them; (3) tools for self tting/control of hear- ing systems; (4) personalized solutions for sound enhance- ment through smartphones for people that do not require traditional hearing aids; (5) at-home interactive rehabilita- tion programs adapting to their speech and communication skills.

Conclusions: Researches have to be devoted to further boost the potential of 'eHealth4Hearing' and must address issues concerning safety, privacy, legal regulations, reliabil- ity and quality of the apps.