What is a Dispensing Audiologist? (Doctor of Audiology)

 

DrNorma graduate

"Audiology is the science of hearing, balance and related disorders. Audiologist are healthcare professionals who provide patient-centered care in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. Hearing and balance disorders are complex with medical, psychological, physical, social, educational, and employment implications. Audiologists provide professional and personalized services to minimize the negative impact of these disorders, leading to improved outcomes and quality of life."  ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Associated).

The current minimum requirement in the State of California to practice audiology is a Doctorate Degree in Audiology (total of 8 years of University Education).   The graduate program will also include clinical practice, which will provide the candidate with valuable experience and training in the field.  This experience is obtained under the supervision of an experienced dispensing audiologist or Audiologists. The degree granted is an Au.D. A Doctorate in Audiology.

In addition to the classroom training/instruction and labs, Audiologist must also complete two supervised internships (Adults and Pediatrics)at the University. Two supervised externships (Adults and Pediatrics) are then followed up with a supervised clinical year . All Audiologists must pass a practical state exam in Audiology and then a state written and practical exam in Hearing Aid dispensing. Prior to disensing in the field of audiology, the candiate must posses vast of experience in dispensing.  Audiologist must complete supervised hours to obtain the Clinical Certification in Audiology granted by the American Speech and Hearing Association. Some Audiologists take additional course work and exams to obtain Board Certification granted by the American Board of Audiology. 

Audiologist course work includes: Electronics, auditory and vestibular pathologies,medical and surgical treatment of hearing, hearing aids, assistive listening devices, impression-taking techniques, acoustics of sound, physics, ear disorders, genetics, pharmacology, radiology, forensic audiology, communication disorders, and syndromes. We understand acoustics of sound, anatomy and physiology of the ear and throat, vestibular system (balance disorders and pathologies),Neuroanatomy, pediatric and geriatric audiology.  Our course work includes phonetics, speech disorders.  In grad school Audiologist plan speech therapy sessions for those patients who suffer from speech delay or have problems with speech, autistic children/adults or those who have special needs.  We work closely with Medical doctors and specially with ear nose and throat specialist.  We work closely with teachers, speech pathologist, school counselors, psychologist, teachers of the deaf, special aid teachers, Universities to at times contribute to new testing methods, collection of data, as well as any research related to finding the cure for heairng loss. 

Audiologist training

  • Assesment:
  • Identify, assess, diagnose, manage, and interpret test results related to disorders of human hearing, balance, and other neural systems, Conduct and interpret behavioral, electroacoustic, or electrophysiologic methods used to asses hearing, balance, and neural system function. Supervise and conduct newborn hearing screening programs.Measure and interpret sensory and motor-evoked potentials; use and interpret results of electromyography, and other electrodiagnostic tests for purposes of neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring and cranial nerve assessment. Assess the candidacy of persons with hearing loss for cochlear implants and provide fitting, programming, and audiologic rehabilitation to optimize device use. Screen speech-language, the use of sign language, and other factors affecting communication function for the purposes of audiologic evaluation and/or initial identification of individuals with other communication disorders, Evaluate and manage children and adults with central auditory processing disorder.

Treatment:

  • Perform otoscopic examination and external ear canal management for the removal of cerumen in order to evaluate hearing or balance, make ear impressions, fit hearing protection or prosthetic devices, and monitor the continuous use of hearing aids, Provide hearing care by (a) selecting, evaluating, fitting, facilitating adjustment to, and dispensing prosthetic devices and hearing aids and (b) recommending sensory aids, hearing assistive devices, alerting and telecommunication systems, and captioning device, Provide audiologic rehabilitation—including speech reading, communication management, language development, and auditory skill development—and counseling for psychosocial adjustment to hearing loss for persons with hearing loss and their families/caregivers. Perform assessment and nonmedical management of tinnitus using biofeedback, masking, hearing aids, education, and counseling.

counsulation:

As members of interdisciplinary teams, consult with educators regarding communication management, educational implications of hearing loss, educational programming, classroom acoustics, and large-area amplification systems for children with hearing loss, Consult regarding, and provide rehabilitation to, persons with balance disorders using habituation, exercise therapy, and balance retraining, Consult about accessibility for persons with hearing loss in public and private buildings, programs, and services, Act as a consultant to individuals, public and private agencies, and governmental bodies regarding the effects of hearing loss and balance system disorders, as well as relevant noise-related considerations; act as an expert witness regarding legal interpretations of audiologic findings, Provide case management and serve as a liaison for consumers/clients and their families and agencies in order to monitor audiologic status and management and to make recommendations regarding educational and vocational programming, Consult to industry on the development of products and instrumentation related to the measurement and management of the auditory or balance function, Participate in the development of professional and technical standards.

Education:

Prevent hearing loss and conserve hearing function by designing, implementing, and coordinating occupational, school, and community hearing conservation and identification programs, Design and conduct basic and applied audiologic research to increase the knowledge base, develop new methods and programs, and determine the efficacy of assessment and treatment paradigms; disseminate research findings to other professionals and the public, Teach in and administer audiology graduate and professional education programs, Measure functional outcomes, consumer satisfaction, effectiveness, efficiency, and the cost–benefit of practices and programs in order to maintain and improve the quality of audiology services, Supervise professional and technical personnel who provide support functions to the practice of audiology.  (ASHA, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).

The ability to dispense hearing aids is a critical distinction when helping patients understand how best to obtain a hearing aid device. The Doctors of Hearing staff are experts Dispensing audiologists who focus on the patient's needs instead of just selling patients expensive hearing aid products. A battery of test must be completed during the process of fitting these devices and counseling is provided to patients and patients family.   

Audiologists/Hearing Doctors must remain current on changes in the industry.  The two areas of focus are hearing aid development and improvements, prevention of hearing loss, and hopefully one day the cure for hearing loss. When cochlear implants were first introduced by Dr. House in the 70's.  The development of the cochlear implant allowed for huge advances for certain patients suffering from hearing loss as a result Audiologist are constantly attending optional seminars and state required seminars. Dispensing audiologists are required to complete at least 50% of continuing education hours in topics directly related to hearing aid dispensing. Dual licensees shall complete 16 hours in each discipline for a total of 32 hours per license renewal period. Audiologist are always prepare when someone is searching for the latest information, current technology available.

At Doctors of Hearing Inc.  We believe that Education and experience along with great service can make a big difference in someone's life when it comes to hearing better because we are the professional who's focus in hearing needs.