Graduation Year

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Au.D.

Degree Granting Department

Audiology

Major Professor

Abrams, Harvey

Keywords

VA

Abstract

Eligibility reform in the VA and the resulting increased caseloads have brought about unacceptable wait times for new audiology appointments. Mandates to decrease wait times without increased resources have brought new demands on audiology clinics. One proposed solution is the addition of audiology technicians to VA audiology clinic practice. The first purpose of this study was to survey the attitudes of VA audiologists and service chiefs regarding the use of technicians. The second purpose was to ask the survey respondents to assign as generally appropriate or inappropriate, job duties which might be accomplished by an audiology technician. Following a pre-survey to pilot the questionnaire, the final survey was e-mailed to all members of a national e-mail group. Ninety-three acceptable responses were analyzed. The survey responses indicate that a large majority of the respondents hold positive attitudes concerning the use of technicians, believe technicians can accomplish some duties now done by audiologists and believe technicians can help reduce current appointment backlogs. The respondents assigned a number of clerical, assistive, minor hearing aid repair and other duties as appropriate for technicians and many testing, evaluation, programming, and perceived professional duties as inappropriate for technicians. There were several items which were not clearly assigned as either appropriate or inappropriate technician duties. Open-ended responses indicated that strong feelings, both positive and negative, exist within the audiology and service chief community. The survey results will be used to develop an audiology technician job description and to identify specific training needs for establishing audiology technician positions throughout the VA healthcare system.

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