Audiology is focused on prevention, diagnosis and (re)habilitation of hearing loss and related conditions. Audiologists work in a variety of settings and provide service for all ages. The field of audiology is evolving rapidly and is very technology dependent. Audiologists are required to work collaboratively with many different disciplines including neurotology/otology, other medical specialties, speech language pathology, psychology and education. They also participate in teaching of audiology graduate students at both the masters and doctoral level and provide teaching/consultation to students in many other disciplines. Many audiologists are involved in the development, implementation and monitoring of programs including early hearing detection and intervention, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, tinnitus/sound tolerance, dizziness/balance, hearing conservation and auditory processing. Audiologists provide supervision of supportive personnel including audiology assistants, newborn screeners and audiometric technicians in many settings. Increasingly audiologists work autonomously as business owners in freestanding clinics so additional management training is included in many training programs at the doctoral level.
In Canada a minimum of a Masters degree in Audiology. An increasing number of audiologists in Canada have an Au.D (professional doctorate) or Ph.D. The Au.D. is now the entry to practice for audiologists in the U.S.
I work in a Hospital.
I am a Pediatric Audiologist but individuals of all ages benefit from the services of an Audiologist. Issues such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sound tolerance, balance, and auditory processing all benefit from the expertise an Audiologist. Audiologists provide assistance with prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation of these issues.
Interacting with clients and their families. I also love supervising Audiology graduate students for clinical externships.
Limited resources and manpower. Clinical workload is very heavy which has an impact on time available for other activities such as research and teaching.
Wait lists or limited access to service for clients. Professional burnout is also an issue. There is significant impact in terms of outcomes for pediatric clients when diagnosis and intervention are delayed. Children who are identified early have better outcomes related to speech language, academic and vocational potential than their later identified peers. Current early hearing detection and intervention guidelines support screening of all infants by one month of age, diagnosis by three months of age and intervention by six months of age. At the present time, Saskatoon and Saskatchewan are not meeting these targets. The limited services that are available are found primarily in Saskatoon and this presents hardships for families who must travel for appointments and incur expense for parking, hotels and meals while attending appointments. The schools are also facing a significant issue due to limited pediatric audiology services. Audiologists are so limited in time and resources that they are not able to provide necessary consultation to the school divisions regarding children diagnosed with hearing impairment. School divisions in Saskatchewan do not have educational audiologists on staff so these duties often fall to other personnel who are not audiologists. These personnel have varying degrees of training and expertise related to children with hearing impairment. In addition, there is a wide range of types/degrees of hearing loss and each child diagnosed has differing needs regarding technology and additional auditory-based therapies and related supports. Without input from the audiologist who diagnoses the child there is no guarantee that the needs of the child will be met to the degree required in order to ensure the best speech language, academic and vocational outcomes.