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Audiology (from Latin: audire, "to hear"; and from Greek: and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is the branch of Science that studies hearing, balance and related disorders. Its practitioners, who treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage are audiologists. Employing various testing strategies (e.g. hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, videonystagmography, and electrophysiologic tests), audiology aims to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range, and if not, which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected and to what degree. If an audiologist determines that a hearing loss or vestibular abnormality is present he or she will provide recommendations to a patient as to what options (e.g. hearing aids, cochlear implants, surgery, appropriate medical referrals) may be of assistance.
In addition to testing hearing, audiologists can also work with a wide range of clientele in rehabilitation (cochlear implants and/or hearing aids), paediatric populations and assessment of the vestibular system.
The use of the terms "Audiology" and "Audiologist" in publications has been traced back only as far as 1946. The original creator of the term remains unknown, but Berger identified possible originators as Mayer BA Schier, Willard B Hargrave, Stanley Nowak, Norton Canfield, or Raymond Carhart. The first US university course for audiologists was offered by Carhart at Northwestern University, in 1946. Audiology was born to address the hearing damage from World War II veterans.
Audiologists are licensed professionals who hold a masters or doctoral degree (Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) or Ph.D. in the hearing sciences) as well as state licensure and national board certification. Since January 2007 a doctoral degree is the entry level degree to become to be a practicing Audiologist. Audiologists who have earned the Master's degree prior to the change in licensing standards are not required to earn a doctorate to continue practicing in the field. Audiologists have a clinical/educational background that emphasizes diagnostic testing, amplification technology, hearing science, and assistive device fitting. Audiologists may also specialize in pediatric diagnostics/amplification, cochlear implants, educational audiology, intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, vestibular and balance issues, and/or industrial hearing conservation. Audiologists can also evaluate and fit patients for hearing aids as treatment for various forms of hearing loss.
Audiologists are also involved in the prevention of hearing loss and other communication disorders. Hearing Conservation programs in industry and government strive to prevent noise induced hearing loss through education and Audiologist intervention. Audiologists are often in charge of Newborn Hearing Screening programs designed to identify hearing loss within the first 3 months of life.
In the United States, 50 states license Audiologists and they all require a graduate clinical degree. Starting in 2007, the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) will be the entry level degree for clinical practice. Other requirements include passing a national exam offered by Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service, at least 375 hours of supervised clinical experience, and a full year mentored fellowship or supervised externship. All states have continuing education renewal requirements that must be met to stay licensed. Audiologists can also earn a certificate from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or seek board certification through the American Board of Audiology. Most states also require a Hearing Aid Dispenser License to enable the Audiologist to dispense hearing aids, though legislation is currently underway in many states which would not require this extra step. It would allow Audiologists to dispense under their Audiology license. Currently there are 67 AuD. or programs in united states:
In Australia Audiologists must hold a Masters in Audiology, alternatively Bachelor's degree from overseas certified by the vetasses. As per the law of the land currently to practise as an Audiologist one doesn't need to be a member of any professional body. But to dispense hearing aids to eligible pensioners and eligible war veterans one must have 2 years clinical experience and be registered with an approved body such as Audiology Australia or the Australian College of Audiology (ACAud).
In India, an Audiologist must hold a Bachelors/Masters Degree in Audiology and be registered with an approved body such as Indian Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA)or Rehabilitaion Council of India (RCI).
Hearing aid dispensers (Hearing Instrument Specialists, Hearing Aid Dealers) are not to be confused with Audiologists. Hearing aid dispensers must pass a state licensing written and practical examination in fitting hearing aids. A Board Certified dispenser must have two years experience and pass a National Competency Examination. However, no college education is required. Hearing aid dispensers work on a commission. Prior to 1988, hearing instrument dispensers fit patients referred to them by Audiologists and physicians who wrote a prescriptions for hearing aids.
There are currently three routes to becoming a Registered Audiologist:
· BSc in Audiology
· MSc in Audiology
· Fast track conversion Diploma for those with a BSc in other relevant science subject, available at Southampton, Manchester, UCL, London and Edinburgh
There are 9 United Kingdom educational institutions offering degrees in Audiology:
Post Graduate Diploma
Entry qualification:- A 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant Science degree or previous experience as an audiologist through the old BAAT training route.
Structure of the course:- One-year university based course followed by a one-year full-time salaried supervised clinical practice placement, working under the guidance of a qualified audiologist. A national training scheme and logbook is a requirement and requires competence-based assessments to be undertaken. The in-service training period is currently under review and may get extend to 3 years.
MSc in Audiology
Entry qualifications:- Entry requirements are a good relevant science degree [usually 2:1], preferable some knowledge of physics or behavioural science and a proven interest or experience in Audiology. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and an interest in direct patient care are also essential. Training posts are via the NHS Regional Scheme  or British Academy of Audiology  Some NHS Audiology Departments employ trainee clinical scientist directly.
Structure of the Course
One year full-time MSc in Audiology can be undertaken at Southampton University, University College London or Manchester University. This is then followed by 18-24 months supervised in-service clinical placement culminating in a written, practical and oral examination to obtain the BAA Certificate of Audiological Competency. Successful completion of the M.Sc practical training also includes a portfolio of clinical training, research and personal development leading to the Association of Clinical Scientists Certificate of Attainment required for Registration to the Health Professions Council.
Postgraduate diploma students and MSc students follow the same academic course, the only difference being that the MSc students take an extra three months to complete an additional dissertation. The CAC scheme (only available to MSc students) resulting in "clinical scientist" status is likely to be replaced by the diploma/BSc in-service training year and an additional higher training certificate available to all students.
Audiology and Speech Pathology in India was started by a group of dedicated professionals like Dr. N Rathna, Dr. S Nikam, Mr Ramesh Oza and Dr. Vijay Shah. The first Audiology & Speech Language Therapy program was started in 1966 at T.N.Medical College and BYL Nair Ch.Hospital in Mumbai. In the same year, Government of India established All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (www.aiishmsyore.com) which has become the country's leading Institute in the field of communication disorders. There are currently 20 Universities in India which provide Speech Pathology and Audiology programs. These programs are accredited by Rehabilitation council of India. Majority of these institutes provide excellent multidisciplinary clinical setup for persons with communication disorders. For a complete list of Institutes visit the website of Indo-International Society of Communication and Hearing Sciences (IISCHS www.iischs.com).
To practice audiology, professionals need to have either Bachelors/Masters degree in Audiology and be registered with Indian Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA) or Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). There are around 100 private clinics in India providing speech and hearing services. Apart from these clinics, Widex - one of the most innovative producers of hearing aids have opened state of the art Senso Hearing Centres in major cities in India.
Internationally recognised degree, unique multilingual/multicultural background, excellent communication in English has increased the global demand of Indian Audiologists considering the shortage of these graduates especially in western countries. There is a rapidly growing community of qualified and skilled Indian Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists across the world (mainly in North America, Singapore and Australia). Indo-International Society of Communication and Hearing Sciences (IISCHS www.iischs.com) provides a web-based platform for this rapidly growing Indian community. This Society was founded by Sharad Govil & Arvind K.N in 2003.
There are only 3 Malaysian educational institutions offering degrees in Audiology:
- University Kebangsaan Malaysia
- University Science Malaysia
- International Islamic University Malaysia
- Hearing Aid
- Speech and hearing measures
- Speech-Language Pathology
- American Academy of Audiology
- Academy of Dispensing Audiologists
- National Association of Future Doctors of AudiologyStudent Organization for future audiologists.
- Audiology Online News, information and online education for Audiology.
- Indo-International Society of Communication and Hearing Sciences-Global society of Indian Audiologists and Speech Pathologists
- Audiology Info
- Let Them Hear Foundation provides no-cost insurance advocacy and information for audiology, cochlear implants, and other hearing related medical services
- Canadian Academy of Audiology
- ACAud Australia
- Audiology Australia
- British Academy of Audiology
- Sound Seekers - The Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, delivering audiology services in the developing world.
Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists
-  House Ear Institute
- Berger KW. Genealogy of the words "audiology" sdfasdgafgadfgvfdgfgfdgfsdvfsdgcb fSoc. 1976 Sep-Oct;2(2):38-44. PMID 789309
- Raymond Carhart (1912-1975) Papers, 1938-1975. Northwestern University Archives, Evanston, Illinois. http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives/findingaids/raymond_carhart.pdf Accessed 2006-07-31.
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