Editorial I am convinced that the field of audiology is in trouble, and that if we continue to operate as we have over the past few decades, we will become little more than technicians. I believe this for several reasons. First, we have become primarily a diagnostic field. Computerized audiometry will ... Editorial
Editorial  |   December 01, 2005
Editorial
 
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Editorial
Editorial   |   December 01, 2005
Editorial
American Journal of Audiology, December 2005, Vol. 14, 110. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2005/010)
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2005, Vol. 14, 110. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2005/010)
I am convinced that the field of audiology is in trouble, and that if we continue to operate as we have over the past few decades, we will become little more than technicians. I believe this for several reasons. First, we have become primarily a diagnostic field. Computerized audiometry will likely become commonplace in the next few years, and this poses a threat to audiologists who do little more than traditional audiometry on cooperative adults. Second, many audiologists in private practice depend on selling hearing aids in order to make an acceptable living financially. Digital hearing aids have promised improvements over analog devices, in order to justify the higher cost of the digital products. However, there exists very little published data that demonstrate any real advantages of digital aids over analog aids in such critical areas as noise reduction. Many individuals with a hearing loss who very well might benefit from amplification choose not to purchase an aid, as they don’t value the potential benefits of amplification more than they value the money. This is not likely to change until there are some very significant advances in hearing aid technology. Unless there are substantial improvements in digital technology, in order to sell more aids, the price of hearing aids will have to be reduced, and this will of course affect the profit margin for the audiologist. If salaries of audiologists do not increase over time (to at least keep track with inflation), then it will become harder and harder to attract high-quality students to the profession. Universities need a certain number of students to remain solvent, and due to the large number of doctor of audiology (AuD) programs that are up and running and now accepting students, we are competing with other programs for a finite pool of high-quality students. Based on pressure from university administrators, departments are often forced to dip into the ‘‘marginal’’ student pool to fill admission quotas. If the quality of the students entering our AuD programs declines, this cannot bode well for the quality of clinical audiologists who are entering the profession.
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