Use of Acoustical Standards in the Audiology classroom
Audiologists are primary providers of hearing healthcare. As part of their scope of practice, they perform detailed evaluations of the auditory function, prescribe hearing aids and other assistive listening devices, offer counseling and aural rehabilitation services, and participate in hearing loss prevention activities. In Canada, Audiology is taught at the Master’s Degree level, typically in an intensive 2-year program. Applicants are from a wide variety of disciplines (e.g. psychology, linguistics, education, health sciences) where acoustic measurements and use of electroacoustic instruments (e.g. audiometers, hearing aid analyzers) are not part of the curriculum. From a pedagogical perspective, acoustical standards provide an important vehicle for introducing proper terminology and keys concepts in acoustics and instrumentation. Through laboratory assignments and other learning activities, hands-on experience can be gained on the operation, calibration and tolerance limits of clinical instruments. From a professional perspective, self-regulated health colleges such as the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario issue Practice Standards and Guidelines (PSGs) and/or position statements on equipment use and servicing requirements for their Members that refer to specific acoustical standards, especially from the ANSI S3 series on Bioacoustics. This paper will focus on the use of audiometry standards (e.g. ANSI S3.1, ANSI S3.6) and hearing aid characteristics (e.g. ANSI S3.22) in the Audiology classroom as well as other CSA and ISO standards relevant to the profession.
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