All of those tasks listed in the article, that the audiologist is too busy to do, are exactly the things that are done everyday by hearing aid dispensers across the country. Yet, the article not only failed to mention this fact, but specifically referenced how in developing any training program for these assistants that the utmost care needed to be taken to not train their own replacement.
Clearly the academic audiological community demonstrated a level of pomposity that can best be described as self serving. The academic giants who contributed to this piece, PHD’s, or AUD’s all, seem to deem the actual provision of services to be far below their station, but one that they insist on keeping within their tight control, deeming anyone providing such services as worthy of being mere assistants to them.
Control over the marketplace is clearly the concern when it comes to their idea of training, and this is best illustrated by a direct quote from the article,
“TRAINING ASSISTANTS When it comes to implementing audiology assistants, there are as many barriers as there are benefits. A concern for many audiologists is that they will be training their replacements, Dr. Kasewurm said.
“I think in some cases audiologists feel that an assistant will take away the need for their job, but I couldn't disagree more,” she said. “Truly, if the assistant has to work for and under the supervision of an audiologist, there's no way he can take over your job. His assigned duties are very different.”
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.’”
Some audiologists may also believe that their patients won't accept someone other than the audiologist handling any of their hearing care, Dr. Kasewurm said, although she has never found that to be true. “I tell the patient from the beginning how our practice works. I'm the audiologist. I do the diagnostic work, the recommendation of technology, and the hearing aid adjustments. But if you come in for service, I will not be the one who provides that. We have people who are much more qualified than me to do that.”
That quote says it better than I could, Audiologists simply see themselves, as being above the actual providing of the services and skills needed to fit, and service hearing aids. They see their job as being in measurement, recommendation, and adjustments.
This position, and statement validates the observations of my old professor, Dr. Harold Williams, who taught the bulk of the early Audioprosthology curricula. Dr. Williams, held a PHD in Speech, Language Pathology and Audiology and had earned his credentials back before the two fields had split the way they are now.
Back in 1994 Dr. Williams made what I thought to be a rather outrageous claim during our first class meeting, regarding the field of Audiology and Speech Pathology that I found both fascinating, and revealing. He claimed to be able to pick the audiologists out of the speech pathologists within the first semester.
Being an old Trooper, I was more than a little curious, as to how he could make such a bold claim. When pressed for an answer, he smiled, and said it was easy, the audiologist were test takers, they wanted to measure everything. The speech pathologists were people oriented, not numbers oriented, and gravitated naturally to the patient contact required for success in speech pathology, while the audiologists were constantly looking for something else to measure.
This article clearly bears this observation out, and is instructive to any consumer who is looking for insights into the level, and type of professional services they are looking for when shopping for hearing help.
The article also makes clear several things; including, you don’t need to be a PHD, or AUD to accurately measure hearing, if you seek the medical model in your approach to getting hearing help, understand that the audiologist involved may very well be too busy to service the equipment that they are recommending, as this article explains.
If, you are looking to get measured, and adjusted, see an Audiologist, if you are actually looking to get fit well, and taken care of, see someone who specialises in that, your local Audioprosthologist, or Hearing Aid Specialist.