Audiologist

Audiologist, Audiologists, Audiology Director   More Names
Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology Licensed Audiologist (CCC-A Licensed Audiologist), Clinical Audiologist, Clinical Director, Dispensing Audiologist, Doctor of Audiology, Educational Audiologist, Hearing Therapist, Licensed Audiologist, Pediatric Audiologist, Speech and Hearing Clinic Director
Description

Assess and treat patients with hearing loss, balance disorders and other neurological related disorders. Use various testing instruments to identify and diagnose hearing problems and develop solutions.

Most audiologists are employed in, or operate their own, healthcare facilities. These facilities include the offices of physicians or other health practitioner, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. Some work as part of educational services, while others are in health and personal care stores and facilities run by state and local governments.

Audiologists provide help to people who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems. They examine individuals of all ages and identify those with the symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory, balance, and related sensory and neural problems. They then assess the nature and extent of the problems and help individuals manage them.

Using audiometers, computers, and other testing devices, they measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds, the ability to distinguish between sounds, and the impact of hearing loss on an individual's daily life. In addition, audiologists use computer equipment to evaluate and diagnose balance disorders.

Audiologists interpret these results and may coordinate them with medical, educational, and psychological professionals to make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment. Hearing disorders can result from a variety of causes including trauma at birth, viral infections, genetic disorders, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, or aging.

Audiologists provide treatments such as examining and cleaning the ear canal, fitting and dispensing hearing aids, and fitting and programming ear implants. They may also counsel individuals on adjusting to hearing loss, provide training on the use of hearing instruments, and teach communication strategies for use in a variety of environments. For example, they may provide instruction in listening strategies. Audiologists also may recommend, fit, and dispense personal or large-area amplification systems and alerting devices.

Audiologists who diagnose and treat balance disorders often work in collaboration with physicians, and physical and occupational therapists. In audiology clinics, they may independently develop and carry out treatment programs. They keep records on the initial evaluation, progress, and discharge of patients. In other settings, audiologists may work with other health and education providers as part of a team that plans and implements services for children and adults.

Some audiologists specialize in work with the elderly, children, or hearing-impaired individuals who need special treatment programs. Others develop and implement ways to protect workers' hearing from on-the-job injuries. They measure noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs in factories and in schools and communities.

Audiologists who work in private practice and own their own business also are responsible for the overall management of their practice, such as developing a patient base, hiring employees, keeping records, and ordering equipment and supplies.

The career of audiologist is a higher-level, professional occupation for those who earn a master's or doctorate degree in audiology.

Credentials Needed: Audiologists are regulated by licensure in all 50 states. Eighteen of those states require a doctoral degree for licensure. Some States regulate the practice of audiology and the dispensing of hearing aids separately. This means that an additional license, known as a Hearing Aid Dispenser license, will be required in addition to an Audiologist license.

Licensure eligibility requirements, hearing aid dispensing requirements, and other requirements vary from state to state. For the specific requirements for your state, contact your state's medical or health board.

Audiologists can earn the voluntary Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They may also choose to be credentialed through the American Board of Audiology (ABA) by becoming Board Certified in Audiology. The ABA also sponsors two audiology specialty certifications: the Cochlear Implant Specialty Certification and the Pediatric Audiology Specialty Certification (PASC). This industry-based credentialing may satisfy certain or all of the licensure requirements for some states.

Some Key Things to Remember: Audiologists provide help to people who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems. In the course of their work, they use various testing devices to identify and diagnose hearing problems and to develop solutions. A master's degree in audiology is the standard level of education required to practice as an audiologist, but a doctoral degree is becoming increasingly necessary.

Reviewed for content and accuracy by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, February 06, 2012.

More Details
Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
29% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $61,370 - $94,170    Hourly: $30 - $45
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

Audiologists usually work at a desk or table in clean, comfortable surroundings. The job is not physically demanding, but does require attention to detail, the ability to complete tasks, intense concentration, and a lot of social interaction. The emotional needs of clients and their families may be demanding.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Master's and Above (High School + 6 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

29% - Much faster than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $61,370 - $94,170

Hourly: $30 - $45