Prior to its launch four groups of Educational Audiologists had gathered together locally for mutual support primarily in the Midlands, Northeast, Northwest and the South and were holding meetings but there was no umbrella organisation to bring the profession together. These local groups served as a great impetus in the eventual formation of the BAEA.
Very soon they had developed acronyms: the Southern Educational Audiologists Group (SEAG), the Midlands Educational Audiologists Group (MEAG), the North Eastern Educational Audiologists Group (NEEAG), and the North Western Educational Audiologists Group (NWEAG). It was not long before the Scottish Educational Audiologists Group (ScEAG) was formed. (Please see the BAEA website page entitled “Regional Groups” for contacts within each of these groups).
The BAEA National Committee originally consisted of 14 members: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and then two representatives from each of the 5 local Educational Audiologists groups. It is now (in 2003) a 15-member team as post of Membership Secretary has recently been added.
Back in 1997 initial BAEA activities included the development of The Role of the Educational Audiologist document and the start of a Newsletter. There were also wide ranging surveys which included UNHS and research into the location and activities of Educational Audiologists across the U.K. Membership of two key groups, the Paediatric Audiology Healthcare Working Party and the National Committee of Professionals in Audiology meant that the BAEA began to gain a higher profile in the country.
The BAEA membership comprises mostly those Educational Audiologists working within education support services or schools for hearing-impaired children. However associate members come from a wide range of backgrounds and interest in paediatric audiology or hearing-impaired children such as teachers of the deaf, hospitals and hearing aid manufacturers.
The aims of the organisation are set out in the new constitution (see appropriate web page) and are as follows:
- To raise the professional profile of educational audiologists.
- To provide an opportunity for communication between members of the Association and other
related professional agencies, to allow them to work effectively in partnership to sustain and
enhance the quality of audiological provision for hearing impaired children.
- To provide a forum for debate, research, the exchange and dissemination of ideas for
mutual support and collective influence.
- To contribute to debate regarding quality standards in practice and training in Educational Audiology.
At this point in time a full member is required to have a qualification as a Teacher of the Deaf and also a master’s degree/diploma in Educational Audiology. Naturally this is not applicable to associate and student members.