Some may agree the last time they got their ears checked by an audiologist was ages ago. That said, nearly 48 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing disability.
Not only are audiologists important for improving ear health, but they can also prevent hearing disabilities from affecting a person’s life. To help shed awareness into these dedicated healthcare specialists’ noble deeds, here’s everything you need to know about audiologists.
Audiology is a widely overlooked medical term. However, here are some interesting findings regarding the occupation.
- Nearly 1 out of 8 Americans experience hearing loss and noise in both ears .
- Women between 20-69 years old are less likely to experience hearing disorders as men of the same age .
- More than 58,000 hearing aids were implanted in adults across the United States .
- 5 out of 6 children have an ear infection before they turn 3 years old .
- Hearing impairment is the third public severe health issue behind heart disease and arthritis.
- By age 65, 1 out 3 adults will experience hearing impairment.
What Is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional specializing in the auditory system and diagnosing hearing loss and balance system dysfunction in infants, teens, adults, and the elderly.
Unlike doctors, audiologists are flexible in their workplace settings, and can typically work in the following environments:
- Hospitals, schools, colleges
- ENT offices
- Veterans Administration hospitals(VA)
- Government agencies
- Private Companies/Practices
Audiologist Job Description
An audiologist’s job typically entails performing the following tasks:
- Examining people with hearing and balance impairments by using audiometers and computer systems.
- Diagnosing and accessing the medical results to determine the extent of impairment.
- Distributing resources to teach people how to cope with their hearing problems.
- Equipping patients with the best hearing aids available—also instructing them on how to use listening devices and hearing systems.
- Tracking a patient’s treatment and progress.
- Recording medical progress for each of their patients.
- Teaching families with severe hearing disorders new communication alternatives such as lip-reading and sign language.
What Does an Audiologist Do?
Audiologists healthcare professionals offer treatment for people with the following types of hearing and balance disorders, including:
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
- Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infections (CMV).
- Syndromic Genetic Hearing Loss.
- Hidden Hearing Loss.
- Auditory Processing Disorders.
- Dizziness and balance.
- Non-Syndromic Genetic Hearing Loss.
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.
- Recommending hearing aids.
Can an Audiologist Treat Hearing Loss?
Yes, audiologists treat hearing loss and have skills to alleviate a number of hearing-related conditions such as ear infection, dizziness, balance problems, and vertigo. People may also learn how to do ear candling to remove excess ear wax buildup at home without relying on a professional.
How To Become a Doctor of Audiology
To become a doctor of audiology (AuD) specializing in ear anatomy, you should enroll in a doctoral post-graduate degree program after completing an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become an Audiologist
To qualify as a certified audiologist, you must first enroll as a student and obtain the following licensing requirements by state law:
- A degree in communication science.
- A doctorate in audiology (AuD).
- Complete 300 to 375 hours of clinical experience.
After education, individuals earn a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) accreditation from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or through the American Board of Audiology and receive board certification by the American Academy of Audiology to qualify as health care professionals.
You can learn about ear anatomy and how to become an audiologist through local college website resources or enroll at your nearest education institution.
Is An Audiologist a Doctor?
No, audiologists are not doctors as their doctoral degree is not considered a medical degree. Moreover, they are restricted in performing surgery and cannot prescribe medical prescriptions to individuals.
Do Audiologists Go To Medical School?
In short, an audiologist does not go to medical school and receive practical training similar to doctors; however, an audiologist is considered a licensed health care professional.
If you’re puzzled and have more questions regarding an audiologist’s role—here are some answered general inquiries.
What Can an Audiologist Diagnose?
Audiologists are trained to diagnose balance problems, tinnitus, acoustic neuroma, atresia, and autoimmune hearing loss. They also have skills to diagnose issues such as balance disorders such as vertigo.
Do Audiologists Make Good Money?
Yes, audiologist health care professionals make good money depending on the state they practice in. Moreover, they are considered the 14th best occupation out of 200 jobs in most states . One can make it to the best paid 25 percent who earn over $96,000 a year with dedication.
What’s the Average Audiologist Salary?
On average, an audiologist makes $37 per hour with their annual salary ranging from $60,000 to $77,000, depending on their skill and expertise level.
Though the cost of degree is lower, there’s a higher income disparity for an audiologist compared to a dentist
What Is the Difference Between an Audiologist and a Speech Language Pathologist?
Speech language pathologists focus on the diagnosis of communication issues such as speech and language impairment and swallowing disorders.
Audiologists emphasize treating and preventing hearing and balance problems using hearing equipment, such as hearing aids, unlike speech language pathology, which sticks to issues affecting verbal communication.
What Is the Difference Between an Ear Doctor and an Audiologist?
Ear doctors or otologists primarily focus on treating profound hearing loss caused by disease, injury, or birth defects using surgical or pharmaceutical hearing loss treatment options.
An audiologist only improves hearing and balance discrepancies through open services and training, such as communication coaching, advanced remote diagnostics using the best online hearing tests available, balance therapy, counseling, and non-intrusive treatment options through hearing devices like a hearing aid.
What Is the Difference Between an Audiologist vs ENT?
Otolaryngologists or ENT doctors are professional physicians whose services specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders affecting the ears, nose, and throat.
Audiologists are experts that solely focus on one organ and evaluate hearing and balance function with hearing tests, such as the Romberg test.
ENT physicians don’t need to learn how to do the Romberg test; instead, their patients are referred after being evaluated by an audiologist.
Audiologists are hearing care professionals who help make the community better by combating any hearing and balance issues before they manifest into permanent symptoms.
Not everyone is aware of the severity of hearing loss and the repercussion it has on one’s life quality, which is why seeking professional audiological care should be a priority.
If you are experiencing inner ear issues, consider visiting your local healthcare facilities or use the find audiologists near me search function to receive the prompt and quality care you deserve.
1.“Quick Statistics About Hearing.” National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 Mar. 2021, www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#5.
2.“Quick Statistics About Hearing.” National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 Mar. 2021, www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#4.
3.“Quick Statistics About Hearing.” National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 Mar. 2021, www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#10.
4.“Quick Statistics About Hearing.” National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 Mar. 2021, www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#11.
5.“Audiology Ranked as 14th Best Career (Out of 200 Jobs).” Audiology, 21 May 2019, www.audiology.org/news/audiology-ranked-14th-best-career-out-200-jobs.