From Starkey’s head of Education, to several PHD educators, the cry was that the poor audiologist needed help, provided that help was directly subservient to the audiologist.
A Nova University Professor, contributed as follows,
“An audiology assistant should make the clinician more productive, not replace him, added Teri Hamill, PhD, a professor of audiology at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. “We don't want to create hearing aid dispensers or technicians who work in ENT offices doing audiograms. Our slogan is, ‘Train your assistant, not your replacement.’”
Clearly indicating a firm belief that hearing aid dispensers were the replacement technicians that the article is referring to.
Indication that this entire push is part of the VA’s abject failure to provide adequate hearing aid services to it’s patients was clear from the addition of the statistic that the Veteran’s Administration had a 619% increase in the employment of “audiological assistants”.
Below is a direct quote from the article,
“Steve Wright has worked as an audiology assistant with the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System for more than three years. “Without us, he said, “the audiologists here would have to do most of the mold impressions, do all the repairs that are dropped off, and answer simple questions on the phone. We take a big load off the audiologist's hands. Without us, I think it would be like nurses working without CNAs.”
Mr. Wright said he does at least 10 to 12 ear mold impressions and checks an equal number of hearing aids every day. “Sometimes the patient just sends it in with his name on the box and doesn't say what's wrong with it, so we have to call them and troubleshoot the issue. I troubleshoot patient calls on the phone, order supplies, and check scopes to make sure they're not out of date,” he said.
The article failed to mention that the Veteran’s Administration has accounted for 15% of all hearing aids dispensed in this country for two years running, up from 12% the year before, representing a creeping socialization of the industry.
All of the services being asked of these ‘assistants’ are exactly the services performed in offices across the nation everyday by hearing aid specialists. If ever there was an acknowledgement of the value of these service, it is this article. It is also a very clear indication that those with advanced academic credentials deem these services valuable, but see those outside of academia’s blessed as a direct threat to their jobs. The audiological community is clearly afraid of training their own replacements.
The educational pomposity of the entire article shows just how far away from a market model the academic audiologist have taken this industry. Their ever continuing elevation of the educational requirements needed to dispense hearing instruments, yet their disdain for the actual practice of doing so, or actually serving the day to day needs of those they serve could not be clearer. Nor could we miss their contention that those services are below their elevated educational status.
Concerned with falling diagnostic billings, yet demonstrating a disdain for the everyday needs of their patients, the article clearly recognizes that none of the actual fitting, followup and patient care, or even the diagnostic protocols involved in the process of fitting, dispensing and servicing hearing aids, require a PHD level audiologist.
Yet the entire audiological community still want to maintain absolute control over the entire process. While the article completely ignores the fact that licensed hearing aid specialists everywhere already perform these services for those that chose to frequent their practices, rather than those run by those who run from those more messy, and time consuming aspects of a practice that actually deals with taking care of those they serve.
A very biased article written with an agenda. An agenda of more regulation and control, carrying us further down the medical model by experts with agendas, rather than more open markets where consumers choose who provides the best mix of products and services.
If, ever there was an argument for deregulation, and an opening of the marketplace to competition by the less well educated, this is it.
Let these lettered, highly educated professors compete in a marketplace where consumers aren’t compelled to seek them out due to their elevated educational and gatekeeper status, and lets see how well they do.