Counselling of adults who need amplification : practices of South African audiologists.
Ratanjee, Husmita Narendra.
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This study focused on adult rehabilitative audiology, in particular the counseling offered to adults who require hearing aids; and examined the practices and views of South African Audiologists. Counseling within the audiology profession has gained increased attention over the years as the profession has evolved with the technological advancements of modern hearing aids. On a global scale the educational qualification as well as curriculum has shifted in recent years. The current practises of counseling adults, who need amplification, needs to be understood more widely in South Africa and these topics were investigated in this research, with the purpose of highlighting and influencing best practice. The barriers faced by audiologists need to be better understood in order to improve service delivery and to look at curriculum needs of the new graduating students of the profession. The study reviews literature available regarding the scope of audiology practise, and the challenges faced by adult clients acquiring hearing amplification. The aim of the study was to describe the current practice of audiologists who counsel adult clients who require amplification by focusing on the nature and scope of services offered and the perceptions of factors affecting practice within the South African context. An online descriptive survey was selected as the research design. Information was gathered on the educational and clinical background, current practise, skills and challenges audiologists faced in dealing with the complex task of counseling adult clients with acquired hearing loss. The study sample consisted of 152 participants of which 148 (97%) were female and 4 (3%) were male. All practitioners were registered with either of the two professional audiology associations, the South African Association of Audiologists (SAAA) and the South African Speech Language and Hearing Association (SASLHA). The majority of participants were qualified as Speech Therapists and Audiologists, and worked in the private sector. The results revealed that Audiologists spend more time on informational counseling than rational acceptance or adjustment counseling. They also reported more time spent on counseling the client only rather than the client and significant other. The majority spent up to 15 minutes on counseling, and tended to offer counseling mostly after audiological evaluation and during hearing aid fitting and evaluation. Even though audiologists rated their skills in counseling high, especially for informational counseling and adjustment counseling, the majority of the participants indicated the need to improve their counseling skills to serve adult clients who need hearing aids. The results have valuable clinical implications for the rendering of adult rehabilitative audiological services in South Africa by incorporating more focus on counseling within the curricula of audiology training and by offering courses to qualified professionals to increase knowledge and skills in the area of counseling. Another implication is the need for supervision during clinical training of audiology students in order to develop skills in informational, rational acceptance and adjustment counseling.
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