Internet-based/remote fitting

Often CI recipients have to travel far to reach specialized implant clinics. For this reason there is considerable interest for fitting over the internet where recipients are hooked up to a PC at one end (either at home or in a service center/hearing aid shop close to their home) and are being fitted by an CI-audiologist at the far end behind a second PC.
Considerations in such a setup are:
·         Safety: overstimulation should not occur so the remote site should be ensured control at all times.
·         Fast response times.
·         Audio and video link as well as remove PC control. (remember it can be difficult to communicate to CI recipients when their device is not fitted so visual communication will be essential without too much delay).
 
Recently 2 studies have been proposed: Wesarg et al. presented a paper at the EFAS Conference in Heidelberg (Wesarg et al. 2007), Laszig et al. and Wasowski et al. presented on the EUFOS conference in Vienna (Laszig et al. 2007, Wasowski 2007). Wesarg and Laszig presented an experiment where a LAN connection was used on for 2 fitting sessions. They concluded that a webcam and a bandwidth of 512 kbit/sec was needed. They used Ework software to control the remote PC. They found the remote sessions to be successful but taking a little longer than a local session (10-15 minutes). Wasoswki et al. tried a similar setup with 19 recipients, they reported that remote fitting is very well possible.
 
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