Trends in Audiology

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Job growth in the field of audiology is expected to increase by 29% from 2014 to 2024 . Those increases are on both sides of the age spectrum.  Hearing loss impacts at least a third of those over 65 years, a cohort which is increasing in size.  A new and dangerous trend is that now, half of our youth between 12-35 are in danger of developing hearing loss as a result of exposure to levels of sound that are unsafe.

New research also tells us that hearing loss is linked to mental health, with correlations between hearing health and cognitive decline; with hearing loss comes a higher risk of dementia, depression, and anxiety.

The numbers who need hearing health care is growing, yet the number of those who require intervention and treatment who are actually seeking help through audiology services remains shockingly low, at less than 20%.

Changes need to happen.

“As ambassadors of communication, hearing care professionals shift focus away from the “problem” of hearing loss to a more holistic look at hearing health and overall well-being.” The Hearing Review

We need to address the whole person, not just the hearing loss.  This approach appeals to me.  My practice in the field has always been just that, as a rehabilitative audiologist.  I do not test hearing or fit hearing aids.  I teach classes for adults with hearing loss and if I’m lucky, they have a friend or family member join them.  We talk about hearing loss, its impact on relationships, and how to address the miscommunications that inevitably occur.  We communicate about communication.  I would love for all audiologists to be identified as the people who help the whole person, rather than the ones who sell hearing aids.  We will all benefit.  Clients will recognize that seeking help for hearing loss can make a difference.  More audiologists will know the joy and satisfaction of helping people to communicate and connect with others.  After all, that’s why we choose this profession.

This approach appeals to me.  My practice in the field has always been just that, as a rehabilitative audiologist addressing the person and how hearing loss is impacting him or her.  I do not test hearing or fit hearing aids.  I teach classes for adults with hearing loss and if I’m lucky, they have a friend or family member join them.  We talk about hearing loss, its impact on relationships, and how to address the miscommunications that inevitably occur.  We communicate about communication.

I would love for all audiologists to be identified as the professionals who help the whole person, rather than the ones who sell hearing aids.  We will all benefit when we take this holistic approach and build stronger relationships.  Clients will recognize that seeking help for hearing loss can make a difference.  More audiologists will know the joy and satisfaction of helping people to communicate and connect with others.  After all, that’s why we choose this profession.

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