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Understanding the Role Played by Audiologists.

It’s barely a century since the evaluation of hearing loss first became the focus of dedicated healthcare professionals. Until that point, the diagnosis was undertaken by a GP or perhaps an ENT doctor, and the patient was left to acquire whatever assisted hearing device might have been available. Although instruments with which to measure deafness were around in the 1920s, in practice, it was service personnel returning from two successive world wars with the condition we now call noise-induced hearing loss that prompted greater interest and led, eventually, to the science known as audiology and the first professional audiologists.

Locally, the profession is governed by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) with which both students and graduates must register and abide by its codes of practice. The minimum requirement for practitioners is an appropriate bachelor’s degree. Those currently offered in South Africa include the BA or BSc (Audiology), Bachelor of Communication Pathology, BA Speech and Hearing Therapy, and Bachelor in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Regardless of which course they may choose, all students aiming to become audiologists are also required to complete 400 hours of clinical work covering diagnostic audiology and rehabilitation, as well as the management of vestibular disorders and tinnitus. For those seeking a higher qualification, PhD programmes and research-based master’s degrees are available at some SA universities.

In common with other healthcare professionals in South Africa, following their graduation, all audiologists are legally required to complete a year of paid community service, during which they are supervised by more senior colleagues before they will be eligible to apply for a position elsewhere.

Whether in a community clinic or a private practice, the job requires both sound technical and interpersonal skills. While the ability to conduct and interpret the results of diagnostic procedures such as the audiogram, and the Rinne and Weber tests, it is important to put patients at ease and ensure that they fully understand the possible outcomes, as well as the various management options that may be available to them.

Once the results of the tests are known and the hearing loss is confirmed, the next step is normally to recommend a suitable assisted hearing solution. In most cases, this will be a hearing aid, but severe or profound deafness may require a cochlear implant and a referral to an ENT surgeon. It is common practice for audiologists to stock a range of hearing aids for sale to patients.

Once a suitable unit has been selected, the healthcare professional must then fit it and adjust it to match the user’s hearing requirements, while offering advice on its operation and care.
Nadine Treurnich – Clinical Audiologist
Nadine graduated at the University of Pretoria in 2010, where she completed her degree in B. Communication Pathology: Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology with distinction.  She has eight years of experience in the field of audiology and managing practices.  Her passion lies in the early identification and intervention of hearing loss, education regarding hearing deterioration and building of relationships within the field of clinical audiology.

“I wanted to persue a field of practice where I could have a positive effect in my community.  I am passionate about improving the quality of life for individuals experiencing hearing deterioration and hearing loss.  I thoroughly enjoy working with both people as well as technology.  The field of audiology offers a unique opportunity for me to create a positive and effective relationship between the above mentioned areas.  I strive to develop a strong, trusting relationship with my patients and provide them with the psychological, informational and medical support that those with hearing loss need.  I am very proud to work at YourHearing as we are dedicated to help people with hearing loss with the very best and latest information and technology” – Nadine Treurnich
Liezl Dale – Director
Liezl graduated at the University of Pretoria in 2004, where she completed her degree in B.Communication Pathology.  She has 14 years of experience in the field of audiology and managing practices in a retail setting.  Her passion lies in the improvement, continuous development and growh of audiology practices, ensuring continuous refinement of the service delivery within the field of audiology.

“I have realized that, in the 14 years I have worked in the hearing industry, that there is still a big area of improvement when it comes to delivering professional hearing service, and simultaneously creating a personal hearing experience for each patient.  YourHearing was built on the belief that it’s not only important to deliver high quality hearing service, but also necessary to make a difference on a personal level to each of our patients.  I am also passionate about enabling other audiologists to live out their dreams within the framework of our practice. I truly believe that it is much better to give back to others and the community through serving others than it is to receive “– Liezl Dale
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