Exploring the Full Scope of Audiological Services

Audiologists work with clients of all ages to identify, assess and treat hearing and balance disorders. They communicate their findings and recommendations in layman’s terms to empower patients.

A survey sent to students at Western Michigan University asked about their knowledge of different health professions’ scopes of practice. Results from this study may help to improve interprofessional education and practice.

Preventive Services

In addition to diagnosing and treating hearing, balance, and tinnitus disorders, audiologist near Caroline Springs prevent hearing loss for individuals of all ages. They screen individuals for possible hearing disorders and perform tests to confirm a diagnosis, determine the type and degree of loss, and identify any structural issues that may be impairing or obstructing the ear’s ability to process sound. Audiologists also provide counseling about hearing loss prevention, management of tinnitus, and other related concerns, and assist with the selection and fitting of hearing aids and assistive technology.

Audiologists plan and implement occupational and environmental hearing conservation programs (HCPs) for patients at risk of further hearing loss due to exposure to toxic substances or noise. They supervise the design, implementation, and monitoring of such programs and may consult with interdisciplinary colleagues (e.g., industrial hygienists, occupational physicians, nurses, and acoustical engineers) in the development of individualized treatment plans.

The Preferred Practice Patterns for the Profession of Audiology include procedures that address the guiding principles, expected outcomes, clinical indications for performing any given procedure, the structure and content of activities directed toward individual patients, support personnel who may perform selected procedures, setting/equipment specifications, safety and health precautions, and documentation. Audiologists make the ultimate judgment about the appropriateness of any particular procedure based on patient circumstances and often in collaboration with other professionals. In making decisions about procedures, audiologists must consider their sensitivity to and knowledge of cultural and linguistic differences and the preferences and needs of individuals with whom they interact.

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Diagnosis

Whether patients are dealing with hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or simply impacted earwax, it is important for them to see a hearing specialist, also known as an audiologist. You can find hearing specialists near you by searching online ‘hearing specialists near me‘ or calling your doctor’s office. They can get the diagnosis they need and help them decide what treatment options are best for them.

The diagnostic services offered by local audiologist clinic include screening for tinnitus and balance disorders, and comprehensive testing of the ability to hear in different environments and with various sounds. These tests are conducted by a licensed audiologist in one of our three state-of-the-art testing suites, which include large patient/tester viewing windows that eliminate any anxiety a person may have about being in an enclosed space.

A licensed audiologist will evaluate the results of each test and provide a complete report. This report includes recommendations for any follow-up testing or clinical care that may be needed, as well as the findings and interpretation of the audiologist. A copy of the complete report is provided to the patient for their personal record.

In addition to providing comprehensive diagnostic services, the audiologist will also provide counseling and educational services. This includes educating parents of school-age children with hearing loss and/or APD about the importance of early identification and assessment, and developing strategies for addressing their child’s individualized communication and academic needs in the home, community and school environment.

Treatment

Audiologist Eltham offer diagnostic services to adults and children with known or suspected hearing loss, or auditory processing disorders. They make recommendations to reduce the impact of such disorders on communication and academic learning. These may include referrals to other professionals for a diagnosis and/or treatment (e.g., speech-language pathologists, psychologists, physicians), audiology and assistive technology equipment or supplies, classroom and auditory training, individualized instructional services, accessible acoustic education environments, and follow-up and monitoring services.

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The educational needs of children with hearing loss and/or APD are the responsibility of SEAs and LEAs under IDEA, Section 504, and ADA. Consequently, the provision of comprehensive educational audiology services must include audiologists who are part of a collaborative team. Audiologists employed by or contracted to an LEA can deliver these services, either directly within schools or via a service contract model. In either case, the audiologists must comply with ASHA’s scope of practice and preferred practice patterns and state certification and/or licensure requirements.

The limited gender and racial/ethnic diversity of current graduates and enrolled students in audiology programs implies that the audiology workforce will not mirror the demographics of the U.S. population with hearing loss for the foreseeable future. The development of a more diverse student pipeline and expanded educational opportunities in the field are needed to address this issue. Moreover, the development of nationally relevant outcome measures, such as those being developed by the National Outcomes Measurement System for Speech-Language Pathology, and of clinical pathways or algorithms are also necessary.

Counseling

Audiologists help people who have hearing loss and related conditions, including vestibular disorders (e.g., Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), manage their condition by counseling them about appropriate care and helping them find ways to cope with their symptoms. They also counsel patients and their families about the impact of hearing loss and help them develop strategies to communicate more effectively. They collaborate with doctors, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, and classroom teachers.

Audiologist services are delivered in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospitals, and educational institutions. In addition to their clinical roles, many audiologists serve as researchers or educators and are involved in advocacy. In the United States, several professional societies represent various specialties and interests in the field of audiology. Historically, these organizations have worked independently on legislative health policy initiatives. However, in 2019 they developed and supported a single legislative strategy benefitting consumers and patients, the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act.

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School-based audiology services, whether provided by an LEA or contracted with a service provider, require a significant investment in the salaries and fringe benefits of personnel, purchase and maintenance of equipment, and assessment materials. These services are typically provided on a fee-for-service basis and may be reimbursed by federal, state, and/or local funds. In general, LEA-based audiologists provide more comprehensive services than contracted professionals due to their familiarity and close connection with their schools.