Hearing Therapists Association of New Zealand Scope of Practice

Hearing Therapists in New Zealand provide a comprehensive aural rehabilitation service for people 16 years and over and their family/whanau/fono/communication partners/caregivers.

This Scope of Practice:

  • Describes the services offered by appropriately qualified Hearing Therapists.
  • Serves as a reference for other health professionals, consumers and members of the public who wish to understand the role of the Hearing Therapist in New Zealand.
  • Provides full, provisional and student members of the Hearing Therapists Association of New Zealand (HTANZ) with an outline of the professional activities included in the role of the qualified Hearing Therapist.

Definitions of Hearing Therapy

  • “To facilitate the use of any device, procedure, information, interaction or therapy, which lessens the communicative and psychosocial consequences of a hearing loss.” Ross, M. (2006)
  • “ A person-centered approach to assessment and management of hearing loss that encourages the creation of a therapeutic environment conducive to a shared decision process which is necessary to explore and reduce the impact of hearing loss on communication, activities, and participations.” Montano, J. (2014, p. 27)

The Hearing Therapist in New Zealand

Hearing therapists practising in New Zealand have successfully completed the New Zealand Diploma in Hearing Therapy (level 5 or level 6) or equivalent qualification as approved by HTANZ, with knowledge and understanding of the core practical skills required for hearing assessment and hearing rehabilitation.

A Hearing Therapist may be a student, provisional or full member of HTANZ.  HTANZ requires all members to participate in supervised clinical practice, regular professional monitoring and ongoing professional development.

Hearing therapists are accountable for their actions in accordance with professional standards and a Code of Ethics

 

Scope of Practice

General:

The hearing therapist:

  • Understands and uses the guiding principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and the NZ Disability Strategy as a framework for their professional practice.
  • Understands and applies their knowledge of the following in their practice:
  • the anatomy and physiology of the peripheral auditory system, central auditory system and vestibular system
  • the communication process and auditory behaviour
  • the purpose and application of assessment tools
  • the principles of psychosocial adjustment and rehabilitation
  • the principles, methods and applications of appropriate standards for calibration and maintenance of equipment and the testing environment
  • funding options available in New Zealand for the purchase of hearing aids and other hearing assistive technology.
  • Understands and practises the principles of InterProfessional Practice (IPP) as defined by the World Health Organisation:

“When two or more professionals effectively collaborate together to improve outcomes and the quality of care for their client (patient).” (2010)

Specific:

1/ Assessment of communication and psychosocial needs of clients. Assessment may include:

  • Otoscopy – to check outer ear and canal for any abnormalities that could impact on the outcome of the hearing assessment, e.g. ear wax
  • Pure tone screening audiometry and bone conduction (Hearing Therapists with the relevant training) to determine hearing level
  • Appropriate assessment tools – applied to help identify communication and psycho-social needs of the person
  • Timely onward referral to appropriate health professional/s if required, including General Practitioner/Audiologist/Ear Nurse Specialist/Otorhinolaryngologist.

2/ Development, implementation and evaluation of a person-centred, person-driven rehabilitation plan to address a client’s identified needs, including:

  • Using a  “relationship approach” (ref. Te Tiriti o Waitangi) through application of  motivational interviewing techniques (e.g. use of open-ended questions and positive language) to obtain in-depth insight to the person’s psychosocial needs, and to recognise when they have reached a “behaviour change point”
  • Providing education and facilitating understanding of hearing loss and hearing-related disorders and their impact
  • Enabling people to problem-solve and set realistic and achievable goals
  • Facilitation of self-advocacy
  • Creation of tailored rehabilitation programmes to support people to achieve their identified goals
  • Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) assessment for specialised alerting systems.

3/ Enablement of people to maximise their communication ability in a range of listening environments through:

  • Teaching of communication strategies and speech reading
  • Auditory training
  • Assistance with hearing instrument management (in consultation with audiologist/audiometrist)
  • Assistance with selection and management of appropriate Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) including FM systems, personal listeners, amplified telephones, loop systems
  • Providing information on possible equipment requirements and funding options.

4/ Provision of service to cochlear implant candidates pre- and post-implantation, including:

  • Understanding of the criteria for receiving publicly funded cochlear implantation in New Zealand
  • Pre-CI assessment of communication needs and speech perception
  • Liaison with audiologist/rehabilitationist regarding the pre-assessment process and post-implantation delivery of and reporting on agreed rehabilitation plan.

5/ Education on hearing loss and its impact, management and prevention, including:

  • Liaison with hearing, health and other relevant professionals, agencies and community organisations
  • Presentations to professionals, community groups, employers and employees
  • Training to caregivers and rest-home staff
  • Provision of tinnitus/Meniere’s information and management strategies
  • Development and facilitation of aural rehabilitation groups
  • Hearing conservation education and advice

6/ Maintenance of professional standards through:

  • Understanding confidentiality requirements and legislated privacy principles as outlined in the Health Information Privacy Code 1994
  • Understanding the Principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its relevance to the health of Maori in New Zealand, and applying its principles to practice
  • Understanding and application of culturally safe practice
  • Ethical practice
  • Participation in regular external professional supervision
  • Upholding human rights as defined in relevant legislation
  • Adhering to a professional code of practice
  • Maintenance of professional networks and established links with other hearing services, health professionals, relevant government agencies and community organisations.

7/ Professional development

  • Regular (annual) monitoring of professional practice by an appropriately qualified individual/body
  • Attendance and participation in organisational/employer - provided training, e.g. in-service courses
  • Self-directed professional development, e.g. online courses, seminars, etc.
  • Annual submission to HTANZ of personal Professional Development Record (PDR), in order to  maintain membership of the professional body
  • Maintenance of Ministry of Health assessor accreditation for Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT)
  • Maintenance of health provider registration with NZ Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)