Audiology in the Past The very beginning of the audiology profession had its roots in counseling. Until June of 1978, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) banned hearing aid dispensing. Therefore, most audiologists did not dispense hearing aids in the early years of our profession. Instead, they worked with veterans suffering otologic complaints alongside physicians, speech pathologists, psychologists, and other professionals. Hearing aids during the early years had relatively few adjustments that could be made, consisting of potentiometers that adjusted gain and output. Physical modifications were commonplace, such as adjusting tone hooks or venting to achieve the optimal sound quality. Beyond these basic adjustments, patients needed to be counseled on adjusting to their hearing aid settings. Expertise in counseling and communication strategies, the art of hearing aid dispensing, was a defining element of our great profession. Audiology in the Present Hearing aid technology has become infinitely smarter. Our current generation of audiologists have a standardized education that provides competency on the science of hearing aid dispensing. We have doctoral level professionals who are exiting our programs well versed in concepts such as real-ear coupler differences, directional microphones, and frequency transposition. But what about the art? Today, blending the science of hearing aid dispensing with the art of hearing aid dispensing is often what differentiates one practice from the next. Most educational programs have at least one class dedicated to patient counseling. The additional length of the doctoral education also affords more opportunities to observe other clinicians and to practice counseling skills. In other words, the educational foundation and clinical experience of audiologists allows for unique insights into how to maximize the benefits of amplification. Despite the exposure to these skills, the challenge of counseling is largely in learning how to adopt a style that resonates with your patients, covers the necessary material, and feels both natural and ethical to deliver. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!