Blogs continue to be an excellent medium for sharing ideas and information with the public simply and effectively. With more than 150 million blogs currently circulating the Web, there is no shortage of high quality blogs related to the field of ENT and audiology. This month, we’d like to take the opportunity of highlighting a few of them.
ENTSHO.com – ‘accessible ENT know-how for health professionals’
Figure 1: Screen shot on iOS device of homepage.
In my eyes, this website has passed its first test as both my CT1 and I could recall the domain name weeks after being asked to perform this review!
ENTSHO.com represents the fundamental core principles of medical education, with senior ENT trainees passing on their knowledge and expertise in a recognisable format to those less well experienced. A simple yet elegant user-interface offers the user a selection of relevant core topics (we all know what they are: epistaxis, airway, quinsy etc.) in an easy to navigate menu system. The site is a continuing work in progress and seems to be evolving each time I have clicked onto it.
The authors have clearly stated the target audience for this resource by the choice of domain name (though technically we are all aware the days of the ‘SHO’ are over). With this in mind, none of the information presented literally and illustratively is controversial and above all it is ‘common sense’ management.
A sub-menu to the right of each page keeps the user informed of any new content as well as some useful links for those embarking on a career in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery.
When using a mobile device, the text is clear and concise and the main menu is easy to navigate (Figure 1). ENTSHO.com represents having a safe and sensible registrar (ST3+) opinion in your pocket! If this is what the authors were intending to achieve I think they have been successful.
Figure 2: The HON certification badge.
Importantly, the authors have clearly stated their positions and roles in the ‘About’ section and there is a working link to contact the team directly for any queries about the website content.
Aside from updating the site content I do wonder what the future of this, and no doubt many other junior clinician websites will be? Most aim for some form of validation through ENT UK but there are other ways of legitimising a medical website. Keeping in this context, the ‘Health on the Net’ foundation (www.hon.ch), a non-profit organisation, reviews and checks thousands of online medical resources against its eight principles. Once a site has satisfied their code of conduct, they are able to display the ‘HON code’ icon (Figure 2) on their web pages.
I directed a couple of my ‘Core Trainees’ to ENTSHO.com and their responses were very positive. As expected they were unaware that this particular domain existed until I told them and this will continue to be the challenge for the ENTSHO.com team and many other web entrepreneurs like them.
I for one, am a huge advocate of trainees going the extra mile to ensure high standards are maintained and hope the webmasters of ENTSHO.com continue updating this valuable free resource keeping it relevant, fresh, informative and accurate. Well done!
Reviewed by Mr Ajith George FRCS (ORL-HNS), Locum Consultant ENT Surgeon, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.
Hearing Health & Technology Matters!
Hearing Health & Technology Matters! (HHTM) is a wonderful resource for audiologists looking for the latest information, a bit of inspiration, or even a few laughs. Boasting an impressive editorial board of industry experts covering a wide-array of topics, HHTM is well-organised, highly readable, and more than a little bit addictive.
HHTM is subdivided into multiple sections, each with a dedicated section editor responsible for producing content related to a particular area of interest. For example, in The Dizziness Depot, Alan Desmond offers his take on a multitude of topics related to vestibular assessment and rehabilitation. A natural educator, he devotes one entry to helpful analogies for explaining benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) to patients. Wayne’s World by Wayne Staab is delightfully eclectic in its examination of the factors that have shaped the hearing aid industry. His six-part series on Bluetooth technology is a must-read. Marshall Chasin’s Hear the Music blog pertains to all areas where music and audiology intersect. Previous entries have included optimising hearing aids for music listening and preventing hearing loss in musicians. In The Better Hearing Consumer, Gael Hannan discusses her personal experiences living with hearing loss with an often humorous slant. Her entry discussing the difficulties associated with speech reading when socialising with people who are inebriated was particularly amusing.
Other section topics include Hearing Economics, Hearing Health, Hearing and Kids, Hearing International, Hearing News Watch, and Hearing Views. They are all well worth a look. – CF
The Hearing Blog
The Hearing Blog is one that will appeal to audiologists hoping to get the inside scoop on the latest hearing aid technologies. The editor, Dan Schwartz, is an electrical engineer with hearing aid industry experience. Many of the entries have an electronics and technology focus, which will appeal to the audiological community as we collectively race to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape within our field.
Blog entries are grouped into one of several categories, including Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants, Engineering, and Bluetooth (among others). The content is diverse, ranging from first-person reports and book reviews to first looks at emergent technology. Most eye-opening was a reader-submitted post exploring some fairly frustrating limitations she faced when attempting to integrate a Bluetooth streamer into her daily life.
My only criticism of The Hearing Blog is the apparent lack of clinician presence and perspective in the majority of entries. Then again, as with most blogs, the site allows for open discourse in the comments section, so I suppose it is up to us to weigh in! – CF