What is an Educational Audiologist?

An Educational Audiologist is a professional concerned with audiological management in education settings as well as family homes.  

This MESHGuide is authored largely from the UK perspective, although limited treatment of the background and history in a few other countries is also covered.  Readers may wish to expound with comments about these and/or other countries.

In the United Kingdom, the British Association of Educational Audiologists defines the role. It is likely that the UK is the only country offering a training route for Educational Audiologists (separate from training programmes for clinical audiologists) who, for the most part, work for the local education authorities.  Historically, only qualified Teachers of the Deaf could train as an Educational Audiologist in the UK.  Since the advent of professional registration in the UK in 2018, this is no longer the case; although to register as an education audiologist, experience must be demonstrated in the roles and competencies as defined by the British Association of Educational Audiologists, which include educational expertise.

In the UK, Educational Audiologists are employed by the local education authority, although some are employed by the National Health Service (NHS). Webster and Keen (2018) note that many local education authorities ‘consider an Ed Aud as an essential but not a statutory post. The position of the BAEA is that all children and young people who are deaf benefit from access to the enhanced skills of an Ed Aud and that ...this provision should become statutory.’ One recent graduate commented that ‘Being an Educational Audiologist has opened more avenues and doors for the children and families with whom I work, than I ever could have with my Teacher of the Deaf training alone.’ per Lane 2018.

In the United States of America, the Educational Audiology Association defines the role from a North American perspective including newly agreed Standards of Practice. 

In Canada, a column on the Canadian Audiologist website has been dedicated to promoting the role.

In Brazil, Bevilacqua et al (2008) reviews the history and breadth of audiology in that country and mentions work in elementary schools, colleges and universities.

In Europe, the Leonardo Project produced Pan European competencies for Teachers of the Deaf which included some educational audiology aspects.

In Australia, some semester course options are entitled ‘Paediatric and Educational Audiology’ or 'Audiology for Special Educators’ inferring that both educational and clinical areas are covered in the training. King (2010) described the national protocol in Australia for pediatric amplification (government funded), and management approaches. 

In India (Perepa, 2018) an overview of audiology and speech language pathology career opportunities does not include a specific note on Educational Audiology.

In China (Cox 2017)  no specific information about educational audiology appears to be available, although Ida Institute presented paediatric audiology tools.

In South Africa, speech and language pathologists and clinical audiologists are usually trained in the same programmes.  Although Educational Audiology is not mentioned as an entity in the following article, there is discussion about audiologists working at schools for the deaf in Rutherford (2017).

In developing countries, according to Miles and McCracken (2008) where educational audiology exists, it can offer benefit, especially when clinical audiology is not yet established.  Possibly as part of a community-based rehabilitation programme there is potential for assessment and rehabilitation and training of workers and implications for ethical sustainable culturally competent service.  This chapter is in McPherson B and Brouillete R, eds. Audiology in Developing Countries. Nova Publishers;  reviewed by Christine Yoshinaga-Itano in 2012.

This notion of Educational Audiology in low resource environments, being well intertwined with the development of identification, schools and teaching for deaf children and young people, is taken up in the MESHGuide entitled Deaf Education in the Global South.

 

Training
In many countries Educational Audiology training comes about as options in a clinical audiology course of study. Goulios and Patuzzi (2008)  surveyed international education and practice of audiology, with results suggesting a wide range of professionals and variation in scope of practice and educational requirements. 

In the UK, the normal route to this qualification would be for an experienced Teacher of the Deaf or Clinical Audiologist to gain a further qualification of an MSc/PGDip in Educational Audiology. An overview of the role and of the training course in the UK can be found in this video.