AuD Programs ‘On Target’ : The Hearing Journal

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Letter to the Editor

AuD Programs ‘On Target’

The Hearing Journal 71(5):p 33, May 2018. | DOI: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000533811.55708.a9
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I finished reading Kathleen Wallace's “Student Speaks” column in The Hearing Journal's March 2018 issue with a smile on my face.

The column put me in a good mood because it reinforced the idea that AuD programs appear to be on target. When we first developed and promoted the AuD degree, the idea was to upgrade our profession to an entry entry-level doctoral degree. The ADA (the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists at the time) was adamant about the mission, and it was finally adopted by all major audiology organizations.

Beyond that basic purpose, we envisioned students coming out of programs “at speed,” ready to deliver audiology (hearing and balance) services. The focus was to be on patient care, including education, counseling, and service delivery programs that go beyond the delivery of the hardware.

In short, everything that differentiates audiology delivery models from all others. It is this “everything” that will make audiology survive in this seemingly competitive environment. This is an attitude that is appropriate in private practice, the medical world, the VA, or any setting where audiologists work.

Historically, we are in a profession that is doomed to imminent extinction as new retail and delivery models are being developed. I remember when the introduction of ITE hearing aids was billed as a threat to patient care and when I was told by my primary hearing aid provider that digital hearing aids would never be successful and, in fact, would shrink the market (that company no longer exists).

Ms. Wallace's reaction to COSTCO and OTC hearing aids is spot on.

While more than a few audiologists I know are retiring or selling their businesses because of the threat posed by this form of retail delivery, she clearly understands the role of services and patient care that will determine the success or failure of the technology in the long run.

I can only hope that the soon-to-be Dr. Wallace finds the position she wants. If not, sunny California is beckoning, where a position in a private practice is available.

—Kenneth Smith, PhD

The Hearing Center of Castro Valley, Castro Valley, CA

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