This post follows “Ireland’s Only Audiology Course Being Scrapped” (August 2, 2013). Today, the students don’t have the answers they need, and are losing time to transfer to new audiology courses in the UK.
To start with, what is the impact of Ireland losing its only audiology course?
Dropping this 4-year degree course at Athlone Institute of Technology is a serious blow to regional hearing-services, with the accreditation issues cited.
Serious Long-Term Implications
Ireland’s National Audiology Review roadmap for hearing-services (2011), clearly delineates the need for a BSc course in Audiology in this country, and for collaboration with the UK for certification at the BSc and MSc levels.
Notably, this roadmap’s recommendations showed long-term and joined-up thinking when planning future audiology services. This course at AIT in 2012 was a vital feeder to address the national shortage of qualified audiologists.
Lack of accreditation from the British Academy of Audiologists (BAA) is cited as the reason for the course’s cessation in July 2013. Press reports suggest dialogue to have continued for a time between Ireland’s Higher Education Authority (HEA), the Health Service Executive (HSE) and with the BAA.
Twenty-one students affected, are seeking to obtain some answers with an online petition and facebook page, while finding audiology course options in the UK, after AIT offered an alternative Level 6 Health Science course.
What Might The Course’s Removal Mean?
Firstly, Ireland seriously needs audiology services. Too many families talk of misdiagnoses of children by regional audiologists, and cite waiting lists of up to five years, for hearing-appointments. Understandably, nobody wants to repeat past mistakes – but is this really the way to go about it?
Importantly, “children who do not receive early [hearing] intervention cost schools an additional $420,000 and face overall lifetime costs of $1,000,000 in special education, lost wages and health complications,” according to the Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition.
Over 3,300 deaf children currently attend mainstream schools in Ireland in a reversal of previous policy (#statistics: NCSE and Dept. of Education).
Secondly, Newstalk asked, “Why Can’t Ireland Train Its Own Audiologists?” (August 8th). The speaker was UK-based Paul Harris, an audiology advisor who has raised the AIT students’ situation with industry contacts in the UK.
Thirdly, Ireland misses a big chance to establish a home-grown audiology industry with links to multi-device industries and R&D synergies with firms such as Sennheiser Ireland, as the field is broad with uses in the aviation, architecture, educational, speech teaching, IT, hobby and sound industries.
Fourthly, the rationale for this four-year BSc course in Audiology is defined to students in China. With the global shortage of audiologists, one wonders what would happen if any overseas students were on the cancelled course.
Where Does This Leave The Students?
Sound Advice believes every effort should be made to retain this feeder BSc course in audiology within Ireland, to ensure the graduates can progress to roles in the country’s long-neglected hearing-services after their studies finish. This was the reason for establishing the BSc course at Athlone, in the first place.
The risk remains that the students affected will not return to Ireland after finishing their studies in the UK, where they may now need to go. In the long term, audiologists will still need to be hired in from the UK or elsewhere, for roles in Ireland – and a global shortage of audiologists already exists.
Please show your support to the students by adding your name to their petition (anonymously if wished). It’s the least they deserve – many thanks.
- Ireland’s Only Audiology Course Being Scrapped
- Audiology students fight back after course cancellation
- Massachusetts Prices The Cost Of Not Providing Hearing Services
- The Sound Of Silence – The Medical Independent
- Children Waiting Up To Five Years For Hearing-Aids
- One Parent’s Feedback: National Audiology Review
- National Audiology Review – Another Mum’s Story
- Family Gets Apology From HSE After Misdiagnosis
- School Acoustics – By An Educational Audiologist
- Teacher’s Assumptions: Kids With Hearing Issues
- Educational Audiologist Uses Her Life Experience