An Audiologist works with 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 the individuals manage them.
Common Work Tasks
- Use audiometers, computers, and other testing devices to 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
- Use computer equipment to evaluate and diagnose balance disorders
- Examine and clean the ear canal, fit and dispense hearing aids, and fit and program cochlear implants
- Provide counseling on adjusting to hearing loss, training on the use of hearing instruments, and teaching communication strategies for use in a variety of environments
- Recommend, fit, and dispense personal or large area amplification systems and alerting devices
- Keep records on the initial evaluation, progress, and discharge of patients
- Work with other health and education providers as part of a team in planning and implementing services for children and adults
- Measure noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs in factories and in schools and communities
- Manage the business aspects of running an office, such as developing a patient base, hiring employees, keeping records, and ordering equipment and supplies
- Conduct research on types of, and treatment for, hearing, balance, and related disorders
Other Job Titles
Audiologists are also known by other titles, including:
- Health Educators
- Medical Assistants
- Recreational Therapists
- Registered Nurses
Education, Training, and Experience
Education and Training
Individuals must have at least a master’s degree in audiology to qualify for a job. However, a first professional or doctoral degree is becoming more common. Requirements for admission to programs in audiology include courses in English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and communication. Graduate coursework in audiology includes anatomy; physiology; physics; genetics; normal and abnormal communication development; auditory, balance, and neural systems assessment and treatment; diagnosis and treatment; pharmacology; and ethics.
Certification and Licensure
Audiologists are regulated by licensure or registration in all 50 States. Forty-one States have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal, the number of hours required varies by State. Twenty States and the District of Columbia also require audiologists to have a Hearing Aid Dispenser license to dispense hearing aids; for the remaining 30 States, an audiologist license is all that is needed to dispense hearing aids. Third-party payers generally require practitioners to be licensed to qualify for reimbursement. States set requirements for education, mandating a master’s or doctoral degree, as well as other requirements.
In some States, specific certifications from professional associations satisfy some or all of the requirements for State licensure. Certification can be obtained from two certifying bodies. Audiologists can earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; they may also be certified through the American Board of Audiology.
Audiologists should be able to effectively communicate diagnostic test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a manner easily understood by their patients. They must be able to approach problems objectively and provide support to patients and their families. Because a patient’s progress may be slow, patience, compassion, and good listening skills are necessary.
The median annual salary for an Audiologist is $59,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $95,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $38,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of audiologists are:
- Offices of Physicians - $60,370
- Offices of Other Health Practitioners - $70,920
- Health and Personal Care Stores - $63,450
- Elementary and Secondary Schools - $61,700
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - $64,120
- 2006-2016 Employment growth: 10%
- Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 1,200
- Employment 2006 : 12,000
- Employment 2016: 13,000