What do Audiologists do?
An audiologist provides hearing health care, working on a daily basis with complex hearing problems including hearing aid prescription, fitting and management. Specifically, audiologists work to prevent, identify, assess, diagnose, manage and treat audiology related disorders. Audiologists work with infants, children and adults and work in both the public and private sector.
Around 30 audiologists graduate each year and in 2013 there were 250 people employed as audiologists in New Zealand. To become an audiologist you usually require a Master of Audiology (MAud), an MAud is required to become a member of the New Zealand Audiological Society. To enter Master of Audiology programmes, you need to have an undergraduate degree such as a Bachelor of Arts or Science, preferably in physiology and/or psychology, or a Bachelor of Speech-Language Therapy.
- Study, identify and measure hearing problems, using specialised equipment.
- Advise on hearing problems and prescribe, select and fit hearing aids.
- Help patients with rehabilitation after an accident or condition that caused hearing loss.
- Repair hearing aids and supply hearing aid batteries.
- Research hearing problems.
- Assess and manage auditory processing disorders.
- Carry out assessments of workplace and classroom sound levels.
- Work with cochlear implantees to fine-tune what they are hearing through the device.
- Prescribe other specialised hearing devices.
Audiology Workforce Assessment Report
The Workforce Strategy Group commissioned this workforce assessment to identify the current state, key trends and emerging issues impacting on the various occupations which make up the audiology (reo ataata) workforce. A summary of the key issues for the audiology workforce are as follows:
- Demand for audiology services has increased significantly during the reporting period and is forecast to continue throughout the next 5-10 years.
- DHBs are increasingly rationing access to non-acute adult services to focus on paediatric workloads.
- DHBs have experienced challenges associated with the 2017 introduction of paediatric certification for audiologists in particular the capacity of senior staff to provide supervision, the length of time to become fully qualified and maintaining service continuity in DHBs with a small headcount.
- The small number of audiologists being trained each year and the difficulty of overseas trained audiologists gaining practicing certificates in NZ.
- Most DHBs have experienced difficulties filling vacancies at all experience levels.
- Limited opportunities for flexibility exist between audiologists and other allied health staff as a result of agreed guidelines of who can perform or assist with paediatric work.
- The majority of audiologists and clinical leaders consulted within this assessment perceived that the disparity in salaries offered between public and private providers is the most significant factor influencing DHBs ability to recruit and retain audiologists.