CHAPTER 397a

AUDIOLOGISTS

Table of Contents

Sec. 20-395a. Definitions.

Sec. 20-395b. License required.

Sec. 20-395c. Qualification for licensure. Waiver of postgraduate supervised employment requirement. Waiver of written examination.

Sec. 20-395d. License fees and renewal. Continuing education: Contact hours; attestation; record-keeping; exemptions, waivers and extensions; reinstatement of void licenses.

Sec. 20-395e. Permitted practices.

Sec. 20-395f. Disciplinary action; grounds.

Sec. 20-395g. Audiology assistants: Supervision requirements; prohibited activities.

Sec. 20-395h. Penalties.


Sec. 20-395a. Definitions. As used in this section and sections 20-395b to 20-395h, inclusive:

(1) “Audiologist” means an individual who engages in the practice of audiology under any title or description of service incorporating the words audiology, audiologist, audiological, hearing clinician, hearing therapy, hearing therapist, hearing conservationist, industrial audiologist, or any similar title or description of services.

(2) “Audiology assistant” means an unlicensed individual who provides specified services under the supervision of a licensed audiologist.

(3) “Audiometric testing” means the assessment of hearing sensitivity for pure tone air conduction stimuli.

(4) “Certification from a national professional organization” means certification issued by the American Board of Audiology or the Certificate of Clinical Competence in audiology issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or any other comparable certificate, awarded by a comparable national organization, approved by the commissioner.

(5) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Public Health.

(6) “Contact hour” means a minimum of fifty minutes of continuing education activity.

(7) “Department” means the Department of Public Health.

(8) “Registration period” means the one-year period for which a license renewed in accordance with section 19a-88 is current and valid.

(9) “Screening” means the use of test procedures, including pure tone frequency testing, for the purpose of identifying those individuals whose hearing may be at risk. Screening does not include diagnostic testing and does not employ threshold-seeking techniques.

(10) “The practice of audiology” means the application of principles, methods and procedures of measurement, testing, appraisal, prediction, consultation and counseling and the determination and use of appropriate amplification related to hearing and disorders of hearing, including fitting or selling of hearing aids, for the purpose of modifying communicative disorders involving speech, language, auditory function or other aberrant behavior leading to hearing loss.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 53.)

Sec. 20-395b. License required. No person shall engage in or offer to engage in the practice of audiology or represent himself as an audiologist in this state unless such person is licensed or exempted under the provisions of sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 54.)

Sec. 20-395c. Qualification for licensure. Waiver of postgraduate supervised employment requirement. Waiver of written examination. (a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, no person shall be licensed pursuant to this section until such person has successfully passed a written examination prescribed by the commissioner. Application for licensure shall be on forms prescribed by the department and shall be accompanied by satisfactory proof that the applicant: (1) If graduated on or after January 1, 2007, possesses a doctorate degree in audiology from a program accredited, at the time of the applicant’s graduation, by the educational standards board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or its successor organization, the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education, or other accreditation organization recognized by the United States Department of Education to accredit audiology education programs, (2) if graduated prior to January 1, 2007, possesses a master’s or doctorate degree in audiology from a program accredited, at the time of the applicant’s graduation, by the educational standards board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education, or other accreditation organization recognized by the United States Department of Education to accredit audiology education programs, or (3) (A) has completed an integrated educational program which, at the time of the applicant’s completion, satisfied the educational requirements of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for the award of a certificate of clinical competence; and (B) has satisfactorily completed a minimum of thirty-six weeks, including at least one thousand eighty hours of full-time or a minimum of forty-eight weeks, including at least one thousand four hundred forty hours of part-time professional employment in audiology under the supervision of a licensed audiologist. Such employment shall follow the completion of the educational requirements and shall consist of at least six sessions of supervision per month providing a total of at least four hours of supervision per month, at least two sessions of which shall provide a total of at least two hours of direct on-site observation of audiology services provided by the applicant. For purposes of this section, “full-time employment” means a minimum of thirty hours a week and “part-time employment” means a minimum of fifteen hours a week. Persons engaged in such employment under the direct supervision of a person holding a valid hearing instrument specialist’s license or a license as an audiologist, who is authorized to fit and sell hearing aids pursuant to section 20-398 shall not be required to obtain a temporary permit pursuant to section 20-400.

(b) The postgraduate supervised employment requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall be waived for persons who have been awarded a doctoral degree in audiology from an accredited program on or after January 1, 2007.

(c) The commissioner may waive the written examination required in subsection (a) of this section for any person who: (1) Is licensed as an audiologist in another state or territory of the United States and such state has licensing requirements at least equivalent to the requirements in this state; or (2) holds a certificate in audiology from a national professional organization, approved by the commissioner.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 55.)

Sec. 20-395d. License fees and renewal. Continuing education: Contact hours; attestation; record-keeping; exemptions, waivers and extensions; reinstatement of void licenses. (a) The fee for an initial license as an audiologist shall be two hundred dollars. Licenses shall be renewed in accordance with section 19a-88 upon payment of a fee of two hundred dollars.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, for registration periods beginning on and after October 1, 2011, each licensed audiologist shall earn a minimum of twenty contact hours of continuing education within the preceding twenty-four-month period. Such continuing education shall be in an area of the licensee’s practice and shall reflect the professional needs of the licensee in order to meet the audiology health care needs of the public. Qualifying continuing education shall consist of courses, workshops, conferences, professional journals, and activities offered on-line or in-person, that are accepted or approved by national or state audiology organizations, associations or societies for continuing education, as well as other related professional societies and organizations as appropriate to the educational needs of the licensee. Audiology-related graduate level coursework offered by an accredited college or university is also acceptable. One credit hour for each hour of attendance shall be recognized. Audited courses shall have hours of attendance documented.

(c) Each licensee applying for license renewal pursuant to section 19a-88 shall sign a statement attesting that he or she has satisfied the continuing education requirements of subsection (b) of this section in a format prescribed by the department. Each licensee shall retain records of attendance or certificates of completion that demonstrate compliance with such continuing education requirements for a minimum of three years following the year in which the continuing education activities were completed and shall submit such records to the department for inspection not later than forty-five days after a request by the department for such records.

(d) A licensee applying for the first time for license renewal pursuant to section 19a-88 is exempt from the continuing education requirements of this section.

(e) A licensee who is not engaged in active professional practice in any form during a registration period shall be exempt from the continuing education requirements of this section, provided the licensee submits to the department, prior to the expiration of the registration period, a notarized application for exemption on a form prescribed by the department and such other documentation as may be required by the department. The application for exemption pursuant to this subsection shall contain a statement that the licensee may not engage in professional practice until the licensee has met the continuing education requirements of this section.

(f) In individual cases involving medical disability or illness, the commissioner may, in the commissioner’s discretion, grant a waiver of the continuing education requirements or an extension of time within which to fulfill the continuing education requirements of this section to any licensee, provided the licensee submits to the department an application for waiver or extension of time on a form prescribed by the department, along with a certification by a licensed physician of the disability or illness and such other documentation as may be required by the commissioner. The commissioner may grant a waiver or extension for a period not to exceed one registration period, except that the commissioner may grant additional waivers or extensions if the medical disability or illness upon which a waiver or extension is granted continues beyond the period of the waiver or extension and the licensee applies for an additional waiver or extension.

(g) Any licensee whose license has become void pursuant to section 19a-88 and who applies to the department for reinstatement of such license pursuant to section 19a-14 shall submit evidence documenting successful completion of ten contact hours of continuing education within the one-year period immediately preceding application for reinstatement.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 56; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-8, S. 27.)

History: Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-8 amended Subsec. (a) by increasing fees from $100 to $200, effective October 5, 2009, and applicable to the renewal of a license that expires on or after October 1, 2009.

Sec. 20-395e. Permitted practices. Nothing in sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, shall be construed as prohibiting:

(1) Consulting with or disseminating research findings and scientific information to accredited academic institutions or governmental agencies or offering lectures to the public for a fee, monetary or otherwise;

(2) The activities and services of a graduate student or audiology intern in audiology at an accredited or approved college or university or a clinical training facility approved by the department, provided these activities and services constitute a part of his or her supervised course of study and that such person is designated as “Audiology Intern”, “Audiology Trainee”, or other such title clearly indicating the training status appropriate to his or her level of training;

(3) (A) A person from another state offering audiology services in this state, provided such services are performed for no more than five days in any calendar year and provided such person meets the qualifications and requirements for licensing in this state; or (B) a person from another state who is licensed or certified as an audiologist by a similar authority of another state, or territory of the United States, or of a foreign country or province whose standards are equivalent to or higher than, the requirements of sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, and regulations adopted under this section, or a person who meets such qualifications and requirements and resides in a state or territory of the United States, or a foreign country or province, which does not grant certification or license to audiologists, from offering audiology services in this state for a total of not more than thirty days in any calendar year;

(4) The activities and services of a person who meets the requirements of subsection (a) of section 20-395c, while such person is engaged in full or part-time employment in fulfillment of the professional employment requirement of said subsection;

(5) Nurses and other personnel from engaging in screening and audiometric testing, under the supervision of a licensed physician, surgeon or audiologist, for the purpose of identifying those persons whose sensitivity of hearing is below the standard acceptable level;

(6) The activity and services of hearing aid dealers;

(7) Any person possessing a valid certificate issued by the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation, or another organization recognized by the commissioner, as a certified industrial audiometric technician or occupational hearing conservationist from an organization recognized by the commissioner, if such service is performed in cooperation with either an audiologist licensed under sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, or a licensed physician;

(8) Audiometric tests administered pursuant to the United States Occupational Safety Act of 1970, by employees of the state or by a person engaged in a business in which such tests are reasonably required, and the persons administering such tests do not perform any other functions for which a license is required under sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive; or

(9) A person licensed or registered by this state in another profession from practicing the profession for which he or she is licensed or registered.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 57.)

Sec. 20-395f. Disciplinary action; grounds. (a) The commissioner may refuse to issue a license or may suspend or revoke the license of any licensee or take any of the actions set forth in section 19a-17 in circumstances which have endangered or are likely to endanger the health, welfare or safety of the public. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Obtaining a license by means of fraud or material misrepresentation or engaging in fraud or material deception in the course of professional services or activities;

(2) Violation of professional conduct guidelines or code of ethics as established by regulations adopted by the department;

(3) Violation of any provision of sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, or regulations of Connecticut state agencies;

(4) Physical or mental illness or emotional disorder or loss of motor skill, including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process;

(5) Abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals; or

(6) Illegal, incompetent or negligent conduct in the practice of audiology.

(b) The commissioner may order a license holder to submit to a reasonable physical or mental examination if his physical or mental capacity to practice safely is the subject of an investigation. Said commissioner may petition the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford-New Britain to enforce such order or any action taken pursuant to section 19a-17.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 58; P.A. 10-18, S. 23.)

History: P.A. 10-18 made a technical change in Subsec. (a).

Sec. 20-395g. Audiology assistants: Supervision requirements; prohibited activities. (a) An audiology assistant shall work under the direct, on-site supervision of a licensed audiologist. An audiologist supervising an audiology assistant shall assume responsibility for all services provided by the assistant.

(b) An audiology assistant may not engage in any of the following activities:

(1) Interpreting obtained observations or data into diagnostic statements of clinical management or procedures;

(2) Determining case selection;

(3) Transmitting clinical information including data or impressions relative to client performance, behavior or progress, whether verbally or in writing, to anyone other than the audiologist;

(4) Independently composing clinical reports except for progress notes to be held in the patient’s file;

(5) Referring a patient to other agencies; or

(6) Using any title, either verbally or in writing, other than that determined by the audiologist or any title implying that the individual is licensed as an audiologist.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 59.)

Sec. 20-395h. Penalties. Any person who violates any of the provisions of sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, or the regulations adopted under sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or be both fined and imprisoned. For purposes of this section, each instance of patient contact or consultation, which is in violation of any provision of sections 20-395a to 20-395g, inclusive, shall constitute a separate offense. Failure to renew a license in a timely manner shall not constitute a violation for the purposes of this section.

(P.A. 09-232, S. 60.)