Although many of us remain current with our yearly physical, dental cleaning, and eye examination, we often fail to take into account the health of our hearing. And when our hearing does start to worsen, it appears so slowly that we hardly notice and fail to do something about it. It’s this lack of interaction with hearing care professionals that makes people question what the profession actually involves.
And that’s a shame, because hearing care professionals serve as a significant component of the healthcare system. It’s through the hearing care professional that the proper performance of one of our major senses — one for which we have a tendency to take for granted — is maintained or restored.
Due to the fact that we take hearing for granted, we often fail to fully grasp just how critical hearing is. With precise hearing, we can help to increase attention, savor the details of sound, converse better, and strengthen family relationships. And the hearing care professionals are the ones who make certain that this fundamental sense is functioning correctly.
If you’d like to discover more about this crucial but little-known healthcare field — or if you’re looking into entering the field yourself — read on.
Attraction to the hearing care field
Hearing care professionals are driven to the field for many reasons, but a couple different central motivating factors are repeatedly present. First of all, several practitioners have experienced, and continue to suffer with, hearing difficulties themselves. Due to the fact that they were themselves helped by a hearing care professional, the impulse to repay the favor for other individuals is powerful.
To provide an example, Zoe Williams, a hearing care professional in Australia, has moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears. This could have led to an inability to communicate, but thanks to cochlear implants and hearing aids, Zoe is now able to communicate normally. Realizing from experience how healthier hearing leads to a better life, Zoe was motivated to enter the field and to assist others in the same manner.
Other people are enticed into the hearing care field thanks to its fascinating blend of counseling, problem solving, science, and technology. In addition to studying the science of hearing and the engineering of hearing technology, practitioners also learn how to work with individuals in the role of a counselor. Coping with hearing loss is a sensitive situation, and people present a range of emotions and personalities. Practitioners must be able to use the “soft skills” required to deal with these difficulties and must work with patients on an individual level to conquer hearing loss.
Training and education
Part of the attractiveness of earning a living in the hearing care profession is the fascinating assortment of subject areas included as part of the education and training. Those pursuing a career in the field study interesting topics in a number of fields such as:
- Biology – topics include the anatomy and physiology of hearing, balance, the ear, and the brain, as well as classes in hearing and balance disorders and pharmacology.
- Physics – topics include the physics of sound, acoustics, and psychoacoustics (how the brain processes sound).
- Engineering – topics include the creation and operation of hearing technology such as assistive listening devices, hearing aids, and cochlear implants, in addition to the programming of digital hearing aids.
- Counseling – topics include how to interview patients, how to teach coping skills, and how to train on the use of hearing aids, along with other fascinating topics in psychology and counseling.
- Professional practice – topics include diagnosing hearing problems, conducting and interpreting hearing tests, employing hearing treatments, fitting and programming hearing aids, professional ethics, and running a business.
Hearing care professionals work in a number of of settings (schools, hospitals, private practices) performing various activities such as research, teaching, and diagnosing and treating hearing and balance issues.
Conventional responsibilities include carrying out diagnostic tests, interpreting hearing tests, and working with patients on selecting the optimum hearing treatment, often including the use of hearing aids. Hearing care professionals custom-fit and program hearing aids to best fit the individual and will train the patient on how to use and maintain them. Hearing care professionals also work with employers and businesses to prevent hearing damage in loud work locations.
The benefits mentioned most regularly by people in the hearing care profession center on the ability to favorably impact people’s lives on a very personal level. Long term friendships between patients and hearing specialists are also prevalent as a consequence of the personal nature of care.
When patients announce that they can hear again for the first time in a very long time, the emotions can be overwhelming. Patients frequently describe a sense of reconnection to the world and to family, in addition to improved relationships and an enhanced overall quality of life.
How many professions can claim that kind of personal impact?