U.S. Department of Labor: National Apprenticeship Program for Hearing Aid Specialists
The U.S. Department of Labor established National Apprenticeship Standards for hearing aid specialists that would expand their scope of practice beyond what is authorized by state licensing laws. In September 2015, the Academy sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship Program requesting that they rescind the approval and certification of the National Guidelines for the Occupation of Hearing Aid Specialist dated June 2, 2015. While the Academy does not oppose creation of an apprenticeship program for hearing instrument specialists, the specifics of this particular program do not align with what hearing aid specialists are allowed to do under existing laws in many states. It appears that the International Hearing Society, who submitted the guidelines to the Apprenticeship Program, intended to establish this program at the federal level in order to expand their scope of practice at the state level. An additional letter was sent from the Academy to all state offices of apprenticeship highlighting the Academy’s concerns and asking that each state apprenticeship agency or departmental equivalent use any flexibility allowed under the law to halt implementation of the guidelines at the state level. The Academy noted that the program, as currently written, represents an inappropriate expansion of the scope of practice of a hearing aid specialist and puts the public health at risk. Both of the Academy’s letters are available below. The Academy also continues to coordinate with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) on developing additional resources for state audiology associations regarding this issue.