I've been reading lots of hate mail etc on the AuD and I have an opinion
on the matter myself that my really make the ---- hit the fan. I think
the entry to AuDiology should be the BSC, like physiotherapy and
Occupational therapy. Lets face it, we are not as exact a science as
optometry which has the 4 year doctorate. Consider the bulk of our
field which is the fitting of hearing aids. A fitting formula may be a
matter of philosophy; it is not correct or incorrect like a vision
prescription is. Optometrists most often are trying to refocus light on
to an intact retina, which is like fitting conductive hearing loss. We
are trying to do with a hearing aid what the natural outer haircells do
in the cochlea. This is like the optometrist trying to restore normal
vision by refocussing light on a retina that is all scratched up! Our
fitting formulas for hearing aids are like trying to pick up needles
with mittens on.
An AuD for our field may be a bark up the wrong tree. With the Masters
degree we do not really have 6 to 7 years of study for Audiology; on the
contrary, we have about 3 years, all of them segregated at the graduate
or near graduate level. Why not take these 3 years early on right away
at the BSC level? In this way I think Larry Humes at the U of Indiana
is correct by focussing on the BSC. This degree should have courses
like Acoustics, Bioacoustics, Psychoacoustics, etc during the first 2
years, with several hearing aid classes further on. Electrophysiology
can also be included, with a final year of clinical practicum. This way
the newly-minted Audiologist is ready to begin in clinical practice
right away without the extra CFY year.
We presently make the Audiology/SLP major a concentration like a major
in philosophy or history or math, and then pile it on in a 2 year
Masters degree course. I think we should take a close look at a
concentrated 4 year BSc degree crammed with courses in Audiology and
call that person an Audiologist.
I realize that this view runs smack dab into the face of what ASHA
has fought for years, namely, the establishement of a profession
where the minimal entry degree is the Masters degree. But what is
the use of studying politcal science, history, etc in a liberal arts
degree and getting a major in communication Disorders - and then going
on for the Master's degree where we finally get to really study the
profession? Why not study the relevant clinical and academic topics
right away? Have physiotherapy and occupational therapy really suffered
as professions because they did this? I think not.
The BSc could become the designated degree for ANYONE who wishes
to fit hearing aids, including the fabled "Dispenser" who may
have no degree whatsoever. A BSc makes the road somewhere in
between the Masters degree and the correspondance training
offered by many Dispensing curricula.
Perhaps the person who wishes to specialize in further areas should then
go for the MSc or even the AuD for another 2-3 years. That person would
SPECIALIZE in say cochlear implants, implantable hearing aids,
otoacoustic emissions, vestibular research, or anything!! In short, we
could do what the profession of pharmacology does: offer the BSc
and then the Pharm D.
I just wanted to express an opinion on a matter that is volatile and
also a matter for which an easy solution is hard to find. Sometimes the
truth is halfway in between. Sometimes the answer isn't A or B but C.
Enough of my nattering epistle. Thanks for reading.
"NoBart" or tvenema at unitron.com