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The Warsaw Voice » Other » July 1, 2009
Medicine
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Telefitting: How It Works
July 1, 2009   
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In the breakthrough Telefitting system developed at the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Warsaw, a patient's cochlear implant can be adjusted remotely.

This is how the procedure looks in practice: Staff at one of the rehabilitation centers scattered across Poland connect the patient's speech processor to the diagnostic hardware interface. The specialist who makes psychophysical tests and programs the speech processor works on a computer at the International Center of Hearing and Speech in Kajetany near Warsaw. He or she gets access to the computer at the local center via the internet and launches the application software for speech processor programming. The specialist is able to use all the functions allowed by the application.

The specialist communicates with the patient through an audio and video internet connection. In the local center, the patient is assisted by a speech therapist, educator or audiologist, who speaks to the patient directly and conveys the patient's answers to the specialist if necessary.

A speech processor programming session involves:
• checking the internal part of the implant system;
• psychophysical measurements;
• objective tests-Response Telemetry;
• creating a new program with parameters set on the basis of an analysis of the results of tests made to assess progress in therapy;
• activating the processor with the new program in order to check the quality of the software;
• giving the patient recommendations for further auditory training.

After the programming session, the processor is disconnected from the diagnostic interface and returned to the patient with the new software. An extension to the Telefitting program enables direct contact between the patient and the program coordinator. Under this new option, which is still being tested, by the end of this year more than 4,000 implant patients who have undergone various types of procedures will be provided with permanent access to specialists.

The ability to program the speech processor remotely will contribute to promoting new methods of treatment for people with severe hearing loss. This is especially important as the number of patients who have undergone implant surgery is growing. Until recently they had to come for follow-up visits to a center performing such operations.
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