An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management of hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders. Audiologists receive extensive training and education and must obtain either a master’s or doctorate level degree (Au.D.), in addition to licensure or registration in their state. Many also earn certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) or American Board of Audiology (ABA). They treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and work in a variety of settings including hospitals, universities, clinics, private practices, ENT offices, K-12 schools, hearing aid dispensaries, rehabilitation centers, government offices, VA hospitals, the military and more.
Audiologists have many duties, including:
- Dispensing and fitting hearing aids and assistive listening devices
- Assisting in cochlear implant programs including candidate assessment and cochlear mapping
- Counseling patients and families on communication strategies and coping skills
- Administering hearing evaluations and interpreting the results
- Implementing hearing conservation programs for corporations, schools and individuals
- Designing newborn hearing screening programs
- Providing hearing rehabilitation services including auditory training and speech reading
- Offering custom hearing protection devices
- Performing ear-related surgical monitoring
- Conducting research on hearing and balance disorders
Audiologists work closely with physicians, often referring patients for medical or surgical treatment. Their combination of training, education and skills makes them the most qualified professionals for treating hearing and balance disorders.