J Am Acad Audiol 2019; 30(01): 066-077
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.17087
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Counseling in Pediatric Audiology: Audiologists’ Perceptions, Confidence, and Training

Karen Muñoz
*   Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan, UT
†   National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Tanner Price
*   Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Lauri Nelson
*   Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Michael Twohig
‡   Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
26 May 2020 (online)



Pediatric audiologists are an important source of support for parents when a child is identified with hearing loss. As parents learn how to manage their child’s hearing loss they often need help navigating challenges that arise; however, audiologists may experience a variety of barriers implementing effective counseling strategies. Many internal and external barriers experienced by parents can be appropriately supported and navigated within audiology services.


To investigate audiologists’ perceptions, training, and confidence related to counseling and to explore the influence of years practicing audiology and taking a counseling course on perceptions and confidence.

Research Design:

A cross-sectional, population-based survey.

Study Sample:

Three hundred and fifty surveys were analyzed from pediatric audiologists across the U.S. Responses were received from 26 states and one U.S. territory.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Data were collected through the mail and online. Descriptive and comparative statistics were used to analyze the information. Content analysis was performed to identify emergent themes from the responses to open-ended questions.


Pediatric audiologists reported their perceptions about importance of counseling skills, challenges they encounter, their confidence in counseling, and how often they use the skills when needed in practice. Most audiologists (≥75%) felt it was very or extremely important to talk with parents about nine of the ten items (e.g., their [parents’] expectations). Three-fourth of the audiologists reported experiencing a moderate challenge or greater in knowing how to assess the presence of psychosocial challenges and in having enough time to address emotional needs. Many of the audiologists felt very or extremely confident in guiding parents in the development of an action plan (62%) and determining if parents have external barriers (60%). Approximately one-third or less of the participants reported performing any of the skills (e.g., determining if parent has external or internal barriers) ≥75% of the time, and a statistically significant difference was found with participants practicing ≤10 yr using the skills more frequently than participants practicing for ≥11 yr. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference between participants who had taken an audiology-specific counseling course and those who had not; those who had reported being more confident and using counseling skills more often than audiologists did not have a counseling course.


This study found strong support for audiologist perceived importance of counseling; however, fewer audiologists reported confidence in their counseling skills and in using counseling skills. Counseling training was variable; audiologists would benefit from a more systematic approach to counseling instruction within graduate training.