ADA Requests Rescission of DOL Approval of IHS Apprenticeship Program

The International Hearing Society (IHS) recently announced that it has received certification, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), for new National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (National Guideline Standards) for the occupation of Hearing Aid Specialists.
The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), upon researching the program, discovered that the Standards of Apprenticeship submitted by IHS to the DOL contain a description of the occupation of hearing aid specialist (HAS) within a Work Process Schedule that could encourage HAS apprentices and journey workers to perform services and procedures that are clearly outside the allowable scope of practice and licensure for services of HAS’s in any state.
The IHS apprenticeship program, if implemented in its current form, will harm consumers, apprentices and journey workers alike. ADA has therefore issued an official request to the Department of Labor asking the agency for, “rescission of the Approval and Certification of National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards Developed by the International Hearing Society for the Occupation of Hearing Aid Specialist (“the Certification” and “the Standards”).  The Certification is No. C-2105-03 dated June 2, 2015.” View the full letter.
The IHS apprenticeship program appears to be, at its core, a mechanism to expand the scope of practice for hearing aid specialists and is consistent with the IHS’ published model licensure act.
As a tireless advocate for best practices in hearing healthcare, ADA will work diligently to ensure that the scope of practice and licensure requirements for hearing aid specialists and other providers are commensurate with their education and training. 
ADA encourages its members to contact their state professional associations to make them aware of this important issue. ADA will also be contacting appropriate state agencies regarding the deficiencies and risks inherently posed by the IHS Standards of Apprenticeship.
Please contact Stephanie Czuhajewski for more information.