As an audiologist, you play an essential role in contributing to interprofessional health teams. These teams are often organized in order to address conditions that require the care and expertise of several health professionals. Audiologists are often called on to participate in interprofessional health teams to aid patients with conditions associated with hearing or balance disorders. These conditions could include ototoxicity, cognitive decline, depression, diabetes, or dizziness with falling.
Because these conditions and others associated with hearing loss can lead to hearing disabilities, is especially important that you become involved in interprofessional health teams. When patients are unable to communicate effectively (whether listening, speaking, or writing), it may affect their activities of daily living (ADLs).
Furthermore, communication disabilities can inhibit health care professionals in providing effective care, since these disabilities typically increase the time, effort, and frustration associated with providing health care. Communication disabilities can also contribute to poor adherence to or the inability to understand treatment recommendations. This can then lead to accidental injury or further medical difficulties and can also affect clinical outcomes.
In an effort to better understand how audiologists like you participate in and contribute to interprofessional health teams, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Audiology Advisory Council was surveyed in 2018. 69 percent of responding audiologists reported engaging in interprofessional activity within the last 18 months. Of those, 59.1 percent reported engaging in interprofessional practice, while 40.9 percent engaged in interprofessional education.
The surveyed audiologists reported that they most often collaborated with otolaryngologists, nurses, social workers, and speech-language pathologists. They also worked with surgeons, athletic trainers, and industrial hygienists. Overall, the survey found that audiologists collaborate with a variety of other health professionals related to specific care teams. Some of the care teams that audiologists reported contributing to included complex neurological cases (e.g., stroke, MS, traumatic brain injury), cleft palate clinical teams (craniofacial disorders), healthy aging and fall prevention, cognition and hearing loss, and familial hypercholesterolemia.
In the survey, audiologists reported that contributing to these interprofessional health teams resulted in consensus building across professions for difficult treatment decisions, coordinated care for patients, and streamlined treatment planning for patients. These outcomes demonstrate the importance of interprofessional health teams and collaboration.
As an audiologist, you have a wealth of knowledge and experience related to hearing and balance disorders. Most other health care professionals do not have such a breadth of knowledge in these fields and collaborating with health teams is an important way to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. With your unique abilities and expertise, you can ensure that patients receive treatment that considers their hearing abilities, balance issues, and other hearing-related issues. You can also help ensure that communication disabilities are treated when possible and are taken into consideration when providing treatment.
For more information about the importance of interprofessional collaboration and how audiologists can grow their practice, we welcome you to contact us at AudiologyPlus. We take pride in staying up to date on the latest news in the audiology field, as well as in marketing and business growth.