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Counseling in Audiologic Practice: Helping Patients and Families Adjust to Hearing Loss

Counseling in Audiologic Practice: Helping Patients and Families Adjust to Hearing Loss

RATING: (4 of 5 ears)
AUTHORS: John Greer Clark and Kristina M. English
PUBLISHER: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon
ISBN: 0-205-36697-X
COST: US$45.33 (softcover)

REVIEWER: Lisa Lucks Mendel, PhD, Associate Professor, Audiology, The University of Memphis

SYNOPSIS: Counseling in Audiologic Practice is a welcome addition to the literature that focuses on the practical and theoretical issues of counseling in an audiologic context. Clark and English have done an exceptional job of using an appropriate balance of science and humanity in this text to deal with the unique issues facing individuals and families who encounter hearing loss. This text provides useful information regarding the "how to" of counseling in the field of audiology and emphasizes ways that audiologists can be effective in their counseling. As our field continues to move toward a doctoring profession, these concepts are critically important for practicing clinicians, students, and teachers to fully understand and apply to their work. Clark and English present this information in a unique and enjoyable way by sharing the humanistic side of our professional endeavors in the area of counseling.

REVIEW: Each chapter in this text begins with a brief description of a situation or scenario that might occur in daily practice and emphasizes the difficulties that audiologists often face when dealing with patients with hearing loss. Throughout each chapter, the authors assist the reader in learning novel ways to deal with such situations, so that by the end of the chapter, the reader has a better feel for and has improved tools at his/her disposal to respond more appropriately to the situation presented. Each chapter also contains learning objectives at the beginning as well as a summary, review questions, and exercises at the end to help the reader synthesize the information presented. Throughout the book, the authors also include short vignettes to emphasize important points.

Chapter One begins with definitions of audiologic counseling and discusses the role and responsibilities of audiologists as counselors. Information is presented regarding appropriate recognition of boundaries and making referrals to other professionals if needed. This chapter also provides a brief review of the fundamental theories of counseling providing a framework for the topics covered.

Chapter Two focuses on emotional responses to hearing loss by reviewing stages of grief and stages of life and introducing ways that emotional responses can be transforming for patients and their families. It also addresses the emotional toll that clinical services can have on patients and their families. Chapter Three then covers the dynamics between the patient and the practitioner by discussing perceptions, locus of control, personal social styles, and resistance to change. It also provides a very nice overview of some practical techniques that audiologists can use to respond appropriately to the questions that patients ask.

Chapter Four provides a careful overview of the hearing loss consultation from the initial exchange where counseling begins to suggestions regarding how to break the news to patients and parents regarding family members with significant hearing loss. This chapter provides some very useful guidelines that audiologists can follow in the counseling situations they encounter.

Chapter Five spends its energy on the unique challenges that children and adolescents as well as their parents face when hearing loss is present. This chapter presents a fine overview of the development of self concept and its importance in one's acceptance of one's own hearing loss. In addition, it introduces the importance of support systems and support groups along with specific suggestions for dealing with teens who have hearing loss. In contrast, Chapter Six addresses issues facing adults who have acquired hearing loss. Again this chapter discusses the issues of self concept and it adds a very detailed look at stress and hearing loss. A unique look at counseling related to issues of dizziness and tinnitus is also included.

Chapter Seven focuses on the role of support groups for everyone involved including parents, extended families, siblings, teens, and adults. Practical suggestions are integrated regarding the advantages of Hearing Help Classes and support group dynamics. Finally, Chapter Eight addresses multicultural considerations in audiologic practice with a specific section devoted to deaf culture.

There are several appendices included at the end of this book that the reader will find extremely useful including information about national support groups; suggested readings for children, adults, and families living with hearing loss; communication strategies for teachers, individuals with hearing loss, and individuals communicating with those who have hearing loss; understanding tinnitus and its management; and guidelines for the audiologist developing a Hearing Help Workshop.

CRITIQUE: Counseling in Audiologic Practice is an excellent text that is appropriate for students, practicing clinicians, and teachers. This text is unique in its ability to focus on the humanistic side of our profession and really focuses on how the audiologist can effectively counsel the individual who has hearing loss and his/her family. The information is presented in a simple, straightforward fashion.

One of the strengths of this text is its use of special features in each chapter that add to its pedagogy. The scenarios at the beginning of each chapter set the stage for the information to follow. In addition, the review questions and exercises at the end of each chapter allow the reader to begin to apply the information presented. Finally, the vignettes presented throughout the book provide useful examples and applications of the information emphasized. Although there are few figures included in this text, the tables presented offer useful information and the headings used to separate sections in each chapter are clever and helpful. This text reminds us about the importance of caring and compassion in what we do.