Audiologists play a central role in the identification, assessment, diagnosis, and re/habilitation of patients with permanent childhood hearing loss. Professional roles and activities in audiology include clinical/education services, prevention and advocacy, and education, administration, and research. See ASHA's Scope of Practice in Audiology (ASHA, 2004).
Appropriate roles for audiologists include:
- providing prevention information, promoting hearing wellness, and monitoring the acoustic environment;
- educating other professionals on the needs of children with permanent childhood hearing loss and the role of audiologists in diagnosing and managing permanent childhood hearing loss;
- identifying permanent childhood hearing loss, including early detection and screening program development, management, quality assessment, and service coordination;
- conducting a comprehensive assessment, using behavioral, electroacoustic, and/or electrophysiologic methods to assess hearing, auditory function, balance, and related systems;
- referring the patient to other professionals as needed to facilitate access to comprehensive services;
- evaluating children with permanent childhood hearing loss for candidacy for amplification and other sensory devices and assistive technology;
- fitting and maintaining amplification and other sensory devices and assistive technology for optimal use;
- developing and implementing an audiologic re/habilitation management plan;
- creating documentation, including interpreting data and summarizing findings and recommendations;
- counseling the patient and his or her family on the psychosocial aspects of hearing loss and other auditory dysfunction, modes of communication, and processes to enhance communication competence;
- advocating for the communication needs of all individuals, including advocating for the rights and funding of services for those with hearing loss, auditory, and/or vestibular disorders;
- consulting and collaborating with professionals of related and/or allied services regarding communication management, educational implications, accessibility, and legal implications of hearing loss and/or other auditory dysfunction;
- conducting education, supervision, and administration for audiology graduate and other professional education programs;
- remaining informed of research in the area of permanent childhood hearing loss and helping advance the knowledge base related to the nature, identification, and treatment of permanent childhood hearing loss.
As indicated in the Code of Ethics, audiologists who serve this population should be specifically educated and appropriately trained to do so.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a role in the screening, assessment, and re/habilitation of children with permanent childhood hearing loss. Professional roles and activities in speech-language pathology include clinical/educational services, prevention and advocacy, education, administration, and research. See ASHA's Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (ASHA, 2007). As indicated in the Code of Ethics, SLPs who serve this population should be specifically educated and appropriately trained to do so.
Note: The scope of this content is limited to the diagnosis and management, from an audiological perspective, of permanent hearing loss for children from birth through 5 years. Resources for SLPs are under development.