LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — In a strongly worded statement issued on April 13, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) accused the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) of attempting to expand the scope of practice for Speech-Language Pathologists to include audiology services.
According to the statement, ASHA’s leadership has recently advocated the inclusion of hearing conservation within the SLP scope of practice to “promote the use of work-site hearing protection” and “institute school and community based hearing conservation programs”.
ADA says that it also takes issue with language within ASHA’s 2014 Model Bill for State Licensure document that includes provisions for “screening individuals for hearing loss or middle ear pathology using conventional pure-tone air conduction methods (including otoscopic inspection), otoacoustic emissions screening, and/or screening tympanometry.”
ADA Makes Position Clear
In a letter to ASHA leadership, ADA says they applaud the removal of some of the previously concerning language used, but continue to strongly believe that adding hearing conservation services to the SLP scope of practice is inappropriate.
ADA is shocked and disappointed that ASHA has assigned an area of expertise to SLPs for which they are not properly educated, trained or licensed. Any unfounded expansion of the SLP scope of practice, which includes the independent provision of hearing conservation services, puts noise-exposed workers and the public at risk.
—Rita Chaiken, AuD
ADA has urged ASHA to completely remove the recommendation that hearing conservation services be included in the SLP scope of practice altogether. They have urged their membership, particularly those who are also members of ASHA, to demand removal of services from the proposed SLP scope of practice that is reserved to the profession of audiology.