How to Become an Audiologist

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Audiology is an essential part of the medical field that deals with hearing, balance, and other related conditions and disorders. Audiologists are specially trained professionals that aim to prevent and treat hearing loss and other conditions in many different patients.


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What does an audiologist do?

Audiologists work with a variety of patients who have conditions related to hearing, balance, and other areas of the ear. They examine individuals and diagnose hearing loss symptoms and other auditory, balance, sensory, and neural problems. They evaluate the extent of problems and develop treatment plans. They use a variety of devices such as computers, audiometers, hearing tests, and other equipment and tests to measure a person’s hearing ability including the volume needed to hear sounds and the ability to identify differences between sounds. Audiologists provide many different treatment options including cochlear implants, hearing aids, and cleaning the ear canal. They also provide counseling to help patients adjust to hearing loss and treatments.

What kind of training does an audiologist need?

Audiologists need at least a master degree in audiology, but many positions are increasingly requiring doctorate or professional degrees. Many audiologists have the professional doctorate in audiology (Au.D.) degree. Coursework often includes anatomy and physiology, genetics, physics, pharmacology, normal and abnormal communication development, and diagnosis and treatment of auditory disorders. All states require audiologists to be licensed or registered. Licensing requirements vary by state but usually include at least a master degree and passing an examination. Audiologists can become certified from the American Speech-Language-hearing Association and the American Board of Audiology. Audiologists must stay up to date with new diagnostic and treatment methods and often participate in continuing education courses, conferences, and workshops.

What are the prospects for a career as an audiologist?

Employment of audiologists is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% from 2006 to 2016 (1). A growing and aging population and increased need for hearing medical services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable, especially for audiologists that have the Au.D. degree. A few job openings will arise from the need to replace audiologists that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do audiologists make?

As of October 2009, the middle 50% of audiologists earn annual salaries between $60,336 and $77,079. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $86,465 (2).

A career as an audiologist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong desire to help people with hearing problems. Audiologists must have good communication and interpersonal skills to work with a variety of patients. They must be able to effectively communicate diagnoses, test results, and treatments options in ways patients can easily understand. Patience, compassion, good problem solving, and good listening skills are also essential. They must also be able to approach issues in an objective manner and provide emotional support to patients and families.

Joshua T Osborne

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