Rationale for Plan of Study
The ETSU AuD curriculum is designed to meet or exceed qualifications needed for ASHA’s CCC-A and for state licensure. All enrolled students complete the same required curriculum comprising of didactic 75-credit-hour program of study along with 45 semester hours of clinical courses to result in a total of 120 semester hours. Any elective coursework completed by a student will be in addition to that 75-hour minimum.
The program of study starts with foundation courses covering a wide variety of topics in the areas of anatomy and physiology of the auditory system, neuroscience, acoustics, and basic audiological tests. Students’ schedule during their first spring trimester includes four didactic courses strongly linked to clinical aspects of audiology, i.e., 1. first course on amplification introducing students to hearing aid selection/fitting procedures, verification of performance measures, and hearing aid troubleshooting; 2. first course on the electrophysiological procedures, covering a variety of tests based on auditory evoked potentials, mainly brainstem auditory evoked responses, as well as new techniques; 3. a foundation course on auditory perception with the emphasis on understanding of the perceptual changes associated with cochlear and/or retrocochlear hearing loss, and 4. the course devoted to pathological conditions that affect the auditory system, including embryological development and identification of congenital syndromes linked to hearing loss, post-natal maturation, and pathologies affecting the pediatric patient and the effects of aging. Together with the first fall trimester’ classes students are provided with essential knowledge not only of what happens in the auditory system of patients seen in audiology clinics but also why it happens and what the consequences of those anatomical and physiological changes in the system are.
The courses offered during the first summer trimester enhance educational growth of the students by providing more comprehensive knowledge in the areas of: 1. the most recent innovations in hearing aid technology, including digital and programmable amplifying systems; 2. advanced audiologic techniques aimed at evaluating the middle-ear function (e.g., multifrequency tympanometry) and objective diagnostic tests based on otoacoustic emissions, and 3. speech audiometry, including tests evaluating speech recognition in quiet and in noise.
The second year of the program includes two courses addressing the anatomy and physiology of the normal vestibular system and understanding of balance problems in clinical populations. Those courses provide unique opportunities to apply basic and more advanced (computerized and dynamic) techniques of testing of the vestibular system, as well as interpretation of tests’ results and therapy techniques linked to measures of treatment outcome measures for patients with balance problems. In addition, students are introduced to pediatric audiology, including etiology of hearing loss in children, the development of auditory behavior, and the techniques and skills utilized for auditory assessment and management of children with auditory disorders. Another two courses address current methods, techniques, and models for rehabilitation of children and adults with hearing impairment including central auditory processing disorders, counseling, auditory training, and other relevant techniques used in the management of hearing disorders. A course of medical audiology covers topics of medical management of hearing and balance disorders, pharmacological agents, aging, and deaf culture. Two courses offered in the second summer trimester complete the most essential part of the educational growth by addressing: 1. more advanced middle and late latency auditory evoked responses, and electrophysiological measures of cognitive responses and 2. advanced hearing aid technologies including implantable devices and the strategies used to select and verify their fittings. In summary, the curriculum of the first two years is designed to create a sequence of courses starting with basic-science foundation and introductory level clinically-oriented classes followed by more advanced topics built upon the early part of the curriculum and broadening the scope of practice.
During the third and the fourth year, the load of didactic courses drops significantly to provide more opportunities for clinical practica. Those courses include: 1. tinnitus management (topics comprise strategies used to diagnose, quantify, and manage tinnitus); 2. two alternating on-line courses, i.e., audiology clinical practice management (an examination of personal, organizational, economic, legal, and ethical issues of autonomous audiology practice) and hearing conservation (occupational and recreational aspects of noise exposure), and 3. counseling in communication disorders (addressing issues related to the individual and family counseling interventions that can support speech therapy and audiology practices).
When students complete all requirements related to the Program of Study, Comprehensive Examinations, and Capstone Research Project, they will embark upon a clinical externship that comprises their fourth and final year in the AuD program.