Audiologists Resuming Services During COVID-19
Many audiology services can’t quickly pivot to telepractice, which may result in audiologists experiencing a greater sense of urgency to return to or increase in-person services. ASHA is advocating for the expansion of codes that can be used for telepractice, as currently, the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have only approved only cochlear implant codes. Audiologists should check their private payer contracts to determine what codes/procedures are covered for telepractice provision. Audiologists face challenges related to reimbursement needs from in-person
service provision and modification of services to allow for their personal safety and the safety of those with whom they work.
Considerations Related to Audiology Service Provision
Note: This list is not intended to be exhaustive and will be updated as additional information and opinions become available.
- Use disposable items for each patient interaction. For example, speculum, inserts for audiometry, electrodes, immittance tips, and/or ear light tip
- Consider requiring the use of masks for clients/patients, staff, and providers, or use plexiglass barriers. Also consider the use of clear, full-face plastic masks for providers.
- Change the foam covering or barrier over microphones that audiologists use or consider providing each audiologist with their own headset mic that only they use.
- Consider the use of video-otoscopy or other otoscopy technology that allows for adequate light and ability to view the ear, ear canal, and tympanic membrane while allowing physical distancing from the client/patient during otoscopic inspection.
- Require patients to wear masks for earmold impressions, placement of tiptrodes, or other procedures that may elicit a cough reflex from the client/patient, as well as Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT) or head-shake tests with Frenzel goggles.
- Wear PPE for procedures that involve close physical contact with patients, or delay performing such procedures, when possible (e.g., otoscopy, videonystagmography [VNG], electronystagmography [ENG]).
- Follow best practices disinfecting audiology equipment. See
Infection Prevention and Control for Audiology Equipment [PDF]
Resources for Audiology
Infection Control and Service Provision
Guidelines for Audiology Equipment
Follow best practices for disinfecting audiology equipment. See the following chart:
Infection Prevention and Control for Audiology Equipment [PDF].