History and description of the profession
The first electric hearing aids were created around 1899 with carbon microphones. They were not, strictly speaking, amplifiers, the first true portable amplifiers were designed in the 20s.
The invention of the germanium transistor constituted a major revolution in the field of hearing aid. In 1952, the company Acousticon was able to market a device much smaller in the shape of an ear hook. Since then, various technologies like the invention of the electret microphone, the miniaturization of electronic circuits and, more recently, the computer revolution has enabled the miniaturization of increasingly advanced devices in addition to a continuous improvement in sound quality.
In Quebec, before the 70s, no legal framework was governing the distribution and the adjustments of hearing aids. The first step in regards to regulating the profession was the creation in 1965 of the Associations of hearing aid acousticians of Quebec whose membership remained voluntary. The profession, as we know it today with its legal framework that is clearly oriented towards the publics protection, officially came into existence following the establishment in 1973 of the OAQ (l’Ordre des audioprothésistes du Québec) which is subject to the “Code des professions du Québec”. This incorporation was followed by the entry into effect on February 1974 of the “Act governing Audioprothology” which consecrated the profession among the 21 professions with exclusive rights to practice in Quebec. The law stipulates that only a hearing-aid acoustician can sell, install or adjust hearing aids in Quebec.
Currently, within the exercise of his profession, the hearing-aid acoustician performs the following functions:
- Greet the patient and make an overall assessment of his listening and communication problems;
- Establish the audiometric profile of the patient and his audioprosthetics needs;
- Make the necessary earprints and choose the set of characteristics needed for an optimum fitting of an hearing aid;
- Proceed with hearing tests to evaluate the effectivness of the fitting;
- Assure the rehabilitation of the patient's communication and soundscape;
- Assess the residual disability with his hearing aid and propose complementary technical solutions for his rehabilitation.
- Ensure office management services as well post-fitting maintenance, repair and adjustment of hearing aids;
- Ensure collaboration between the different professionals working on the patient's hearing disability and rehabilitation.