Audiology

Audiology

[aw-dee-ol-uh-jee]
Audiology (from Latin audīre, "to hear"; and from Greek -λογία, -logia) is the branch of Science that studies hearing, balance and related disorders. Its practitioners, who treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage are audiologists. Employing various testing strategies (e.g. hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, videonystagmography, and electrophysiologic tests), audiology aims to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range, and if not, which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected and to what degree. If an audiologist determines that a hearing loss or vestibular abnormality is present he or she will provide recommendations to a patient as to what options (e.g. hearing aids, cochlear implants, surgery, appropriate medical referrals) may be of assistance.

In addition to testing hearing, audiologists can also work with a wide range of clientele in rehabilitation (cochlear implants and/or hearing aids), paediatric populations and assessment of the vestibular system.

History

The use of the terms "Audiology" and "Audiologist" in publications has been traced back only as far as 1946. The original creator of the term remains unknown, but Berger identified possible originators as Mayer BA Schier, Willard B Hargrave, Stanley Nowak, Norton Canfield, or Raymond Carhart. The first US university course for audiologists was offered by Carhart at Northwestern University, in 1946. Audiology was born to address the hearing damage from World War II veterans.

Audiologists

Audiologists are licensed professionals who hold a bachelor's degree, master's degree, Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), or Ph.D. in the hearing sciences. The specific degree and experience requirements necessary to practice are determined by each state audiology license board. As of January 2007 all professional training programs for audiologists in the United States culminate with the Au.D. (Doctor of Audiology) degree. Many state license laws now require the Au.D. degree for all newly licensed audiologists, and it is expected that eventually all license laws will require this (in the United States of America). Audiologists who have earned the master's degree prior to the change in licensing standards are not required to earn a doctorate to continue practicing in the field. Audiologists have a clinical/educational background that emphasizes diagnostic evaluation of auditory (hearing) and vestibular (balance) systems, amplification technology (especially hearing aids), hearing science, aural rehabilitation and assistive device fitting. Audiologists may specialize in pediatric diagnostics/amplification, cochlear implants, educational audiology, intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, vestibular and balance issues, and/or industrial hearing conservation. Audiologists are trained extensively to evaluate and fit patients for hearing aids as treatment for various types of hearing loss.

Audiologists are also involved in the prevention of hearing loss and other communication disorders. Hearing Conservation programs in industry and government strive to prevent noise induced hearing loss through education and Audiologist intervention. Audiologists are often in charge of Newborn Hearing Screening programs designed to identify hearing loss within the first 4 months of life.

Hearing aid dispensers (Hearing Instrument Specialists, Hearing Aid Dealers) are not to be confused with Audiologists. Hearing aid dispensers must pass a state licensing written and practical examination in fitting hearing aids. A Board Certified dispenser must have two years experience and pass a National Competency Examination. However, no college education is required. Hearing aid dispensers work on a commission. Prior to 1988, hearing instrument dispensers fit patients referred to them by Audiologists and physicians who wrote a prescriptions for hearing aids.

Requirements

Australia

In Australia Audiologists must hold a Masters in Audiology, alternatively Bachelor's degree from overseas certified by the vetasses. As per the law of the land currently to practise as an Audiologist one doesn't need to be a member of any professional body. But to dispense hearing aids to eligible pensioners and eligible war veterans one must have 2 years clinical experience and be registered with an approved body such as Audiology Australia or the Australian College of Audiology (ACAud).

Canada

In Canada, a Masters of Science (MSc) is the minimum requirement to practice Audiology in the country. The profession is regulated in certain provinces: New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, where it is illegal to practice without being registered as a full member in the appropriate provincial regulatory body.

There are currently five universities in Canada which offer graduate programs in Audiology. Entry requirements typically include specific prerequisite course work in undergraduate studies or an additional preparatory year prior to entry into the program:

India

The first Audiology & Speech Language Therapy program was started in 1966 at T.N.Medical College and BYL Nair Ch.Hospital in Mumbai. In the same year, Government of India established the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing which has become the country's leading Institute in the field of communication disorders. There are currently 20 Universities in India which provide Speech Pathology and Audiology programs. These programs are accredited by Rehabilitation council of India.

To practice audiology, professionals need to have either Bachelors/Masters degree in Audiology and be registered with Indian Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA) or the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). There are around 100 private clinics in India providing speech and hearing services.

An internationally recognized degree, unique multilingual/multicultural background, excellent communication in English has increased the global demand of Indian Audiologists considering the shortage of these graduates especially in western countries. There is a rapidly growing community of qualified and skilled Indian Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists across the world (mainly in North America, Singapore and Australia). The Indo-International Society of Communication and Hearing Sciences (IISCHS) provides a web-based platform for this rapidly growing Indian community. This Society was founded by Sharad Govil & Arvind K.N in 2003.

Malaysia

There are only 3 Malaysian educational institutions offering degrees in Audiology:

United Kingdom

There are currently three routes to becoming a Registered Audiologist:

· BSc in Audiology

· MSc in Audiology

· Fast track conversion Diploma for those with a BSc in other relevant science subject, available at Southampton, Manchester, UCL, London and Edinburgh

There are 9 United Kingdom educational institutions offering degrees in Audiology:

Post Graduate Diploma

Entry qualification:- A 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant Science degree or previous experience as an audiologist through the old BAAT training route.

Structure of the course:- One-year university based course followed by a one-year full-time salaried supervised clinical practice placement, working under the guidance of a qualified audiologist. A national training scheme and logbook is a requirement and requires competence-based assessments to be undertaken. The in-service training period is currently under review and may get extend to 3 years.

MSc in Audiology

Entry qualifications:- Entry requirements are a good relevant science degree [usually 2:1], preferable some knowledge of physics or behavioural science and a proven interest or experience in Audiology. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and an interest in direct patient care are also essential. Training posts are via the NHS Regional Scheme or British Academy of Audiology Some NHS Audiology Departments employ trainee clinical scientist directly.

Structure of the Course

One year full-time MSc in Audiology can be undertaken at Southampton University, University College London or Manchester University. This is then followed by 18-24 months supervised in-service clinical placement culminating in a written, practical and oral examination to obtain the BAA Certificate of Audiological Competency. Successful completion of the M.Sc practical training also includes a portfolio of clinical training, research and personal development leading to the Association of Clinical Scientists Certificate of Attainment required for Registration to the Health Professions Council.

Postgraduate diploma students and MSc students follow the same academic course, the only difference being that the MSc students take an extra three months to complete an additional dissertation. The CAC scheme (only available to MSc students) resulting in "clinical scientist" status is likely to be replaced by the diploma/BSc in-service training year and an additional higher training certificate available to all students.

United States

In the United States, in at least 48 states, they require licensing of Audiologists and they all require a graduate clinical degree in audiology. Starting in 2007, the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) became the entry level degree for clinical practice for some states, with most states expected to follow this requirement very soon, as there are no longer any professional programs in audiology which offer the master's degree. Minimum requirements for the Au.D. degree include a minimum of 75 semester hours of post-baccalaureate study, meeting prescribed competencies, passing a national exam offered by Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service, and practicum experience that is equivalent to a minimum of 12 months of full-time, supervised experience. Most states have continuing education renewal requirements that must be met to stay licensed. Audiologists can also earn a certificate from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or seek board certification through the American Board of Audiology. Most states also require a Hearing Aid Dispenser License to enable the Audiologist to dispense hearing aids, though legislation is currently underway in many states which would not require this extra step. It would allow Audiologists to dispense under their Audiology license. Currently there are over 70 Au.D. programs in the United States:

Distance Au.D. Programs:

Residential Au.D. Programs:

See also

References

External links

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