skip to main content

EHDI: Early Hearing Detection & Intervention | NTRC: National Technical Resource Center

mobile device menu button

Improving Access to Care through Teleaudiology: A Tale of Collaboration

Presented by: Hannah Ditmars, MeLissa Butler, Sara Peterson

When: February 18, 2021 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MT


In Nebraska, the majority of pediatric audiology services are concentrated in the metropolitan areas in the eastern part of the state. Because of the location and limited number of pediatric diagnostic facilities in Nebraska, families with young children often travel over four hours with a very young infant to access the necessary services. Families covered only by Medicaid cannot obtain services outside of Nebraska, and often times these families do not have the resources (safe vehicle, gas money, money for overnight lodging) to travel long distances. Central and western Nebraska have historically been underserved, which resulted in children who live in rural Nebraska being identified late as deaf or hard of hearing, and not receiving timely access to appropriate intervention services. Timing of the screening and diagnostic process for a child with permanent sensorineural hearing loss is critical. Nebraska EHDI formed a learning community to address this issue and determine how to ensure that children throughout Nebraska can all have timely access to the same quality of audiology services, regardless of where they live. Throughout the process, many barriers were encountered including finding the right partners, securing funding, and ensuring long term sustainability of the program. This poster will outline the process of establishing collaborations between state entities to provide tele-audiology services (including OAE, ABR and tympanometry) in Nebraska. The poster and accompanying presenters will discuss the partnerships needed for implementation, case studies of families impacted by delayed diagnosis and early intervention, data collected, issues to secure funding, barriers to implementation, and the outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

  • Improving Access to care
  • Implementing teleaudiology
  • Supporting families


Dr. Hannah Ditmars is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She provides clinical audiology services to individuals of all ages including infants. Dr. Ditmars teaches graduate students, both in the clinic and classroom, who are pursuing their Doctorate Degree in Audiology. She instructs the Auditory Electrophysiology course and co-teaches the Humanitarian Audiology course, which includes study abroad and provision of audiology services to individuals in Nicaragua.

MeLissa Butler has been with the Nebraska Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program since April, 2011, and serves as Community Health Educator Senior. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Technical Studies from Bellevue University. MeLissa's training includes Evidence Based Public Health-A Course in Chronic Disease Prevention; American Sign Language; Genetics and Hearing Loss for EHDI Professionals; ASTra Family Support training; and she is a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt.

Sara Peterson is a Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing at ESU#13 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Sara is also a Coordinator for the Central Western Nebraska Partnership for Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.