While the majority of us stay current with our annual physical, dental cleaning, and eye exam, we notoriously forget to give consideration to the health of our hearing. And when our hearing does begin to worsen, it appears so gradually that we barely notice and neglect to take action. It’s this lack of interaction with hearing care professionals that makes people want to know what the career actually entails.
And that’s a shame, because hearing care professionals make up a vital part of the healthcare system. It’s through the hearing care professional that the correct performance of one of our vital senses — one for which we have a tendency to take for granted — is preserved or restored.
Given that we take hearing for granted, we usually also fail to fully grasp just how priceless hearing is. With precise hearing, we can increase focus, take pleasure in the details of sound, communicate better, and strengthen family relationships. And the hearing care professionals are the ones who make certain that this key sense is functioning efficiently.
If you’d like to find out more about this interesting but little-known healthcare field — or if you’re considering joining the field yourself — read on.
Attraction to the hearing care field
Hearing care professionals are attracted to the field for various reasons, but a few main motivating factors are frequently present. First, several practitioners have endured, and continue to endure, hearing troubles themselves. Due to the fact that they were themselves helped by a hearing care professional, the desire to return the favor for other individuals is strong.
To provide an example, Zoe Williams, a hearing care professional practicing in Australia, has moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears. This would have produced an inability to communicate, but thanks to cochlear implants and hearing aids, Zoe is currently able to communicate normally. Knowing first-hand how healthier hearing leads to a much better life, Zoe was motivated to enter the field and to assist others in a similar manner.
Other individuals are pulled into the hearing care field thanks to its distinctive blend of counseling, problem solving, science, and technology. In combination with learning about 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 number of emotions and personalities. Practitioners must be able to make use of the “soft skills” required to address these difficulties and must work with patients on a personalized level to defeat hearing loss.
Training and preparation
Part of the allure of working in the hearing care profession is the intriguing mix of subjects included as part of the education and training. Those pursuing a career in the field master fascinating topics in numerous fields such as:
- Biology – topics include the anatomy and physiology of hearing, balance, the ear, and the brain, as well as courses 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 development and functioning of hearing technology such as assistive listening devices, hearing aids, and cochlear implants, along with 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, carrying out and interpreting hearing tests, implementing hearing treatments, fitting and programming hearing aids, professional ethics, and managing a business.
Hearing care professionals work in various kinds of settings (schools, hospitals, private practices) performing varied tasks such as research, teaching, and diagnosing and treating hearing and balance ailments.
Basic responsibilities include carrying out diagnostic tests, interpreting hearing tests, and working with patients on selecting the best 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 high decibel work locations.
The benefits reported most regularly by individuals in the hearing care profession center on the capacity to favorably impact people’s lives on a very personalized level. Long term friendships between patients and hearing specialists are also typical thanks to the personal nature of care.
When patients declare that they can hear again for the first time in years, the emotions can be overwhelming. Patients more often than not report a feeling of reconnection to the world and to family, together with strengthened relationships and an enhanced overall quality of life.
How many vocations can claim that kind of personal impact?