By Augustina Noel Z, MS
Ms. Noel is an audiologist from India with a passion for research. She received her bachelor’s degree in audiology and speech pathology from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry. During her internship, she collaborated on a research project entitled “Auditory Processing in Children with Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media” and was awarded Best Oral Presentation and a silver medal. She completed her master’s degree in audiology from the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Mysore. She is currently working as a Speech-Language and Audiology Project Assistant in an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Project, Department of ENT, JIPMER, Puducherry. She is responsible for the material development of auditory training and planning the design for app development for children with cochlear implants. She is also responsible for data collection and publication. She also worked as an Educational Content Developer-Audiologist at Montfort Care Early Intervention Centre, Mumbai, where she had researched and written for blogs and LinkedIn articles. She is committed to improving the quality of life of people with hearing impairment with evidence-based diagnostic and rehabilitative services. She is certified by the Rehabilitation Council of India-RCI (Central Rehabilitation Register number: A69714) and is a life member of the Indian Speech and Hearing Association-ISHA (Life Membership Number: L22024048). She enjoys travel, gardening, and writing.
I would like to begin this blog by quoting a poetic phrase in the Tamil language: “Selvathul selvam sevichelvam acchelvam Selvathul ellam thalai”, by Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil poet and philosopher. It means, “the most precious wealth is the wealth acquired by the ear. Indeed, of all wealth, that wealth is the crown.”
Hearing is a treasure and being an audiologist is what makes us responsible to give this treasure to people in need. As an audiologist, I was curious about how medical professionals, apart from ENT providers, are aware of the profession of audiology or audiologist.
I conducted a small survey among my peers who are in the medical profession (physicians, dentists, and nurses) by sending a questionnaire (Deshpande et al., 2019) via social media platforms. Furthermore, I sent a few questions (Appendix) to answer briefly in one or two lines. I got a response from ten of my friends.
The following Table 1 depicts the answers reported by the medical professionals in percentages for five questions on the Audiology awareness survey.
Table 1 Audiology awareness survey on medical professionals
|Sl no||Questions||Answers reported (in percentage|
|1||Do you know what an audiologist does?||Somewhat sure (60%)|
Yes definitely (20%)
Rather sure (20%)
|2||How did you first learn about the profession of audiology?||Career fair (30%)|
Health fair (20%)
|3||When did you learn about the profession of audiology?||*Others (70%)|
High school (30%)
|4||Have you ever been seen by an audiologist and/or accompanied someone to be seen by an audiologist?||Yes (30%)|
|5||What do you think is the minimum education requirement to become a licensed/ certified audiologist?||Bachelor’s(40%)|
High school Diploma (30%)
Don’t know (20%)
Now back to the question “are audiologists visible?!”. The answer is yes, we are! Most of my peers knew my profession through undergraduate and internship placements in the department of ENT.
But… is it enough?
Right from the day I started my undergraduate study in audiology and speech-language pathology, I knew I was studying a different course because people didn’t know what audiology is about. Coming from a small city in India, it was difficult to get a job in a hospital setting as the medical professionals were not aware of audiology.
Why should other medical professionals know about our profession?
- For employment in various departments such as pediatrics, neurology, plastic surgery (cleft lip and palate), emergency, and trauma
- More patients would get referred by them for evaluation and treatment of hearing loss
- To expand the expertise of an audiologist
The profession of audiology has evolved in private practice, which has significantly increased awareness of the profession among common people. However, we still need to work our way through by communicating with medical professionals, apart from ENT physicians.
This professional communication can be achieved by:
- Hearing camps and rallies
- Advertisements in newspapers, movie halls, and radio
- Giving podcasts about the profession in various social media outlets
- Active participation and involvement in meetings conducted by medical professionals to raise our concerns
- Having a healthy professional relationship is the key
I conclude with the quote of Hellen Keller, “Blindness cuts people from things, but deafness cuts people from people.” We, as ambassadors of hearing treasure, should make sure to reach out to everyone in need and be grateful forever…
Grateful to be an Audiologist
Deshpande, S. B. (2019). Awareness of the profession of audiology among ethnically diverse adolescents: A pre-and post-education study. American Journal of Audiology, 28(4), 964-972.
- Do you know what an audiologist does? (Choose the ONE that best describes your level of Knowledge)
- Yes, definitely know
- Rather sure
- Somewhat sure
- Not sure
- No, definitely not
- How did you first learn about the profession of audiology?
- Health fair
- Career fair
- Don’t know
- When did you learn about the profession of audiology?
- Elementary school
- Middle school
- High school
- Don’t know
- Have you ever been seen by an audiologist and/or accompanied someone to be seen by an audiologist?
- What do you think is the minimum education requirement to become a licensed/ certified audiologist?
- High school diploma
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s degree
- Doctoral degree
- Don’t know
Briefly answer the following.
- What is an audiologist?
- Where do audiologists work? What do they do?
- Can an audiologist treat hearing loss?
- What’s the difference between an ENT doctor and an audiologist?
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