I often share with friends and colleagues those thoughts about audiology that have indiscriminately robbed me of my evening slumber. One of the more persistent thoughts is the unknown number of audiologists embracing and carrying out best clinical practices. My thoughts are buoyed when I talk with colleagues who consistently and happily follow best clinical practices. They clearly take joy in demonstrating to their patients the value of an audiologist as a critical component of the health-care community.
In those moments, my mental estimate of the number of audiologists conducting best practices goes on the upswing. However, I must admit, the sleepless nights eventually return after meeting consumers across the United States, who, in an open forum, question audiologists (with 20-plus years of experience) who have only this year checked the hearing aid with “that special machine” (i.e., an inference of electro-acoustic or probe microphone measures).
A number of consumers have shared their experiences of purchasing a set of hearing aids without receiving any hearing aid care instructions, nor audiology oversight in the consumer ability of inserting and removing the hearing aids from their ears. Some consumers even report that in less than a year after purchasing a set of troublesome hearing aids from an unfriendly audiologist or hearing aid dispenser, they were informed that they need to buy a new set of “top-of-the-line” hearing aids to get rid of the troublesome behaviors experienced from the earlier set.
It’s during those times when my stomach drops to my feet and my mental estimate of the number of audiologists conducting best practices sinks to abysmally low numbers.
I do recognize that some patients are not accurate reporters of audiological procedures undertaken, and it is inadvisable to use such reports to accurately identify the number of audiologists conducting best clinical practices. But, as a DOCTORING PROFESSION, we are the best equipped to impact in a positive way our own quality of service provision models.
Though documents and guidelines have been written, it’s time for this DOCTORING PROFESSION to identify how 100 percent compliance can be achieved in offering nothing less than our very best clinical practices each and every time we interact with patients.
As a DOCTORING PROFESSION, we no longer can opt out of critical clinical protocols necessary for quality hearing and balance health care. This is not an insurmountable objective. It’s time we address this objective as if our very next breath is dependent upon succeeding. We have no other option but to remain resolved in demonstrating what this DOCTORING PROFESSION can DO!