PROFESSIONAL ISSUES

Audiology Assistants

Overview

An audiology assistant is a person who, after appropriate training and demonstration of competency, performs delegated tasks that are prescribed, directed, and supervised by a certified and/or licensed audiologist. When hearing aid dealers are serving in the role of assistant, their duties will always be clarified by the supervising audiologist.

Audiology assistants may or may not be regulated by state laws and regulations, and the supervising audiologist is responsible for determining the applicable requirements in his or her state and work setting. See ASHA’s State-by-State page for a summary of state requirements for audiology assistants.

Audiology assistants improve access to patient care by increasing the availability of audiology services, increase productivity by reducing wait times and enhancing patient satisfaction, and reduce costs by performing tasks that do not require the professional skills of a certified and/or licensed audiologist (Dunlop et al., 2006; Kasewurm, 2006; Saccone & Steiger, 2008).

Support personnel may assist audiologists in the delivery of services, where appropriate, provided these guidelines are followed.

  • The roles and tasks of audiology assistants are assigned only by supervising audiologists.
  • Supervising audiologists provide appropriate training that is competency-based and specific to job performance.
  • Supervision is comprehensive, periodic, and documented.
  • The supervising audiologist maintains the legal and ethical responsibilities for all assigned audiology activities provided by support personnel.
  • Services delegated to the assistant are those that are permitted by state law, and the assistant is appropriately registered/licensed if the state so requires.
  • The needs of the consumer of audiology services and protection of that consumer are always paramount. (AAA, 2010a, 2010b; ASHA, 2010; National Hearing Conservation Association, 1990)

Note: Teleaudiology Clinical Technicians (TCTs) provide patient/equipment interface support under the supervision of a licensed audiologist who is delivering audiology services from a site located at a distance from the actual patient testing site. TCTs are currently only being used in the Veterans Administration and are not specifically included in the scope of this document

Affiliation with ASHA

ASHA has established an Associates Affiliation program for support personnel in speech-language pathology and audiology, open to individuals who

  • are currently employed in support positions providing audiology or speech-language pathology assistant services and
  • work under the supervision of an ASHA-certified audiologist (CCC-A) or speech-language pathologist (CCC-SLP).

Applicants are required to obtain the signature of their ASHA-certified supervisor(s) in order to become ASHA Associates.

Key Issues

Resources

References

Content Disclaimer: The Practice Resource Project, ASHA policy documents, and guidelines contain information for use in all settings; however, members must consider all applicable local, state and federal requirements when applying the information in their specific work setting.