The Profession of Audiology – A Self-Appraisal

June 12th, 2018

If Audiology is the science of ear & hearing, then definitely Audiologists should be the scientific group of professionals who have mastered the art of science of ear & hearing. I wouldn’t use the term “master”, rather let’s us say that Audiologists are the group of scientific professionals, who have specialized in the field of “Hearing Health & Rehabilitation”. Yes.., that’s the term, we need to promote – “ Specialist in Hearing Health & Rehabilitation”.

Now, if we are actually the “Specialists in Hearing Health & Rehabilitation”, then the next question arises –“Are we performing as Specialists in this field of Hearing Health & Rehabilitation ?” Specialists as the term indicates refers to a person who is an expert in the field of his learning. So, Audiologists, being an expert in the field of Hearing Health, need to dispense his professional liabilities with the kind of knowledge & skillful performance in a very independent manner.

Now, here lies the second matter of inquiry. How independent are we in our clinical practice? Are we, discharging our professional duties in a purely independent manner? One might wonder with the term independency, and keep guessing, what it could mean in our clinical practice. Let’s describe few situations of independency, for an aggregate understanding:

  •  If an Audiologist is dispensing his clinical duties, without the external influences of the medical/allied practitioners, in the determination of the various horizons of our work domain; then, yes it’s a form of independency.
  • If the Audiologist has the temperament to establish direct relationship with the clinical population being served; then, yes it’s a form of independency. When direct relationship is established with the clinical population being served, it reduces the need for relying on other professionals for the much needed referrals.
  •  If the Audiologist exhibits the capacity to relate his professionally secured clinical findings to various disordered conditions in hearing health domain, then that turns out to be a self imposed discretionary service leading to independent practice.
  • If Audiologist takes courage in holding responsibility for his professional statements and expresses his professional judgments free of fear & avoidable errors; then, yes it’s a form of independency.
  • If Audiologist reveal his unwillingness to work, without minimum recommended infrastructure; then, yes that’s an inherent sign of independency.
  • If Audiologists expresses their confidence in determining & categorizing his own work purview; then, yes, it throws light on his independent skills.
  • If Audiologists rationalizes every part of his work with evidence based practice; then, yes it’s a form that leads to independency.

These are only few of the common factors that proves to be a deciding factor towards maintaining independency in the clinical practice of Audiology. Therefore, every Audiologist should nurture a retrospective attitude in building, maintaining, and taking forward a healthy independent practice; thereby ensuring the dignity of our profession.

Having said that, the investigation automatically leads to the next question. Yes, Dignity!

With regard to our field, with regard to the discharge of our duties, with regard to the dispensation of our clinical services, we can consider the term ‘Dignity’ from various aspects & angles. Although there is hardly any universal agreement on the meaning of the term ‘Dignity’, one thing that is common to the said term is that:-

  • “Dignity should be seen as an innate right of an individual to be valued, respected & treated ethically, without any sort of discrimination.”
  • Dignity also denotes “respect” & “status”; suggesting the way in which we treat ourselves with proper self-respect.

I have interacted with many of the professionals in the state & outside; only to find that dignity is being compromised at various levels in the execution of our professional duties. I understand that the ‘determinants of dignity’ in our professional practice is multi-folded and is dependent on various factors. Given the multi-faceted dimension, I would like to attract the attention towards couple of loci:

  • The self-worthiness of the services rendered by the Audiologists. Is our performance standard in disbursing our clinical duties, qualitative enough to be categorized as being worthy of self-esteem. Retrospection need to be displayed to a heightened degree; and adequate measures need to be implemented to ensure that Audiologists are self-worthy of the services dispensed.
  • The economic freedom enjoyed by the Audiologist’s in determining his lifestyle in relation to the economic status. Since Dignity reflects the status of the professional in the society, since Dignity reflects the kind of respect that he/she commands in the society, lifestyle plays an important and defining role. It should be our aim to reach the level of dignity with the lifestyle with which we are engaged! How is this possible? Do we need to exaggerate ourselves in terms of the professionalism? No….Not really. We just need to price ourselves judiciously, proving extremely worthy of our services to the core. And, this is the core issue where emerging Audiologists have failed repeatedly, revealing concerns of social insecurity.

Though the area under discussion is vast, I am limiting my thoughts to these issues faced by the current emerging Audiologists & non-established Audiologists, so that necessary corrections are introduced in their clinical dispensation.

Let me conclude by saying that, every Audiologist have a lifestyle of his or her choice. Let there be Audiologists, who “choose-to-live” a life-style; but let there be no Audiologists, who are “forced-to-live” a life-style!