Audiologists are healthcare professionals who identify, diagnose, monitor and treat hearing, tinnitus or balance disorders. They work with patients by providing them with support, guidance, treatment, testing and device fitting during each appointment, and they make themselves available for any questions or concerns their patients and their families may have.
Duties and responsibilities
- Conduct introductory consultations and examinations for patients with hearing or balance problems
- Perform testing for children and adults, and record results for future reference and treatment
- Assess patients’ hearing quality and sensitivity
- Use audiometers, computers and other technology to test patients' hearing ability and balance
- Explain the results of each test as simply and thoroughly as possible
- Dispense listening devices and fit the equipment on the patients’ body
- Speak with other physicians and department professionals about patients’ needs or progress
- Counsel patients and their families about how to better communicate, such as lip reading or signing
- Update medical records to match the patients’ advancements or setbacks
- Educate patients on how to reduce the chances of hearing loss
- Establish a child’s candidacy for cochlear implants and other complex treatments
- Complete clerical tasks to better organise patient records for future use
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Some nights and weekends
An audiologist will primarily work a typical 40-hour weekly schedule. Although some audiologists will come into the office on weekends or evenings to meet their patients’ needs, only about 20% of audiologists work more than 40 hours a week.
Audiologist generally perform their duties from a medical office. They may also often visit a school for the hearing-impaired, speak at a university or college and travel to another city for an industry conference.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
To become an audiologist, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in any field of your choosing, although it would be preferable if you studied a related science field. You will then need to enrol in a four-year doctoral degree in audiology (AuD), before obtaining the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A), which is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
You could go on to specialise in a particular area of audiology, including clinical audiology, paediatric audiology and dispensing audiology. You can also move into a research or teaching role, or you could set up your own private practice.