What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses, treats, and
manages individuals with hearing loss or balance problems.
Audiologists have received a master's or doctoral degree from an
accredited university graduate program. Their academic and
clinical training provides the foundation for patient management
from birth through adulthood. Audiologists determine appropriate
patient treatment of hearing and balance problems by combining a
complete history with a variety of specialized auditory and
vestibular assessments. Based upon the diagnosis, the
audiologist presents a variety of treatment options to patients
with hearing impairment or balance problems. Audiologists
dispense and fit hearing aids as part of a comprehensive
habilitative program. Audiologists may be found working in
medical centers and hospitals, private practice settings,
schools, government health facilities and agencies, as well as
Schools and universities. As a primary hearing health provider,
audiologists refer patients to physicians when the hearing or
balance problem requires medical or surgical evaluation or
Where do audiologists work?
Audiologists work in private practice offices, hospitals and
medical centers, clinics, public and private
schools, universities, rehabilitation or speech and
hearing centers, health maintenance organizations and nursing
homes. Audiologists work closely with government agencies,
practicing physicians and hearing aid manufacturers.
Audiologists conduct clinical activities with patients, are
involved in hearing research, dispense hearing aids and
assistive listening devices and teach at universities and
Why should someone with hearing loss be evaluated by an
Audiologists hold master's or doctoral degrees from
accredited universities with special training in the prevention,
identification, assessment and non-medical treatment of hearing
disorders. Audiologists are required to complete a full-time
internship and pass a demanding national competency examination.
By virtue of their graduate education and licensure,
audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform
hearing tests, refer patients for medical treatment and provide
hearing rehabilitation services.
What do audiologists do?
Audiologists use specialized equipment to obtain accurate
results about hearing loss. These tests are typically conducted
in sound-treated rooms with calibrated equipment. The
audiologist is trained to inspect the eardrum with an otoscope,
perform limited ear wax removal, conduct diagnostic audiologic
tests, and check for medically-related hearing problems.
Hearing loss is caused by medical problems about 10% of the
time. Audiologists are educated to recognize these medical
problems and refer patients to ear, nose and throat physicians
(known as otolaryngologists). Most persons with hearing
impairment can benefit from the use of hearing aids, and
audiologists are knowledgeable about the latest applications of
hearing aid technology.
Hearing Services for Infants & Children
Good hearing is essential to the social and intellectual
development of infants and young children. Audiologists test
hearing and identify hearing loss in children of any age. This
includes newborn and infant hearing screening and diagnostic
hearing tests with young children. Audiologists provide hearing
therapy and fit hearing aids on babies and young children with
Services for School Children
Audiologists provide a full range of hearing and
rehabilitative hearing services in private and public
schools for students in all grades. Such services are
essential to the development of speech, language and learning
skills in children with hearing problems.
Hearing Services & Counseling
Audiologists are vitally concerned that every person,
regardless of age, benefit from good hearing. Audiologists
provide individual counseling to help those with hearing loss
function more effectively in social, educational and
occupational environments. It is a fact of life that we lose
hearing acuity, as we grow older, and that hearing problems are
commonly associated with the elderly. Audiologists are committed
to helping senior citizens to hear better.
Hearing Aids & Assistive Listening Devices
Audiologists provide complete hearing aid services to clients
with hearing problems. Audiologists are also experts with
assistive listening equipment and personal alerting devices.
Audiologists provide education and training so that persons with
hearing impairment can benefit from amplification and
Audiologists dispense the majority of hearing aids in the
United States. Audiologists use the most advanced computerized
procedures to individualize the fitting of hearing aids. Hearing
aid options are thoroughly discussed with each potential user
based on the results of a complete hearing aid test battery and
the individual needs of each patient. Follow-up care and hearing
aid accessories are routinely available from dispensing
Hearing Conservation Programs
Prolonged exposure to loud noise causes permanent hearing
loss. Because audiologists are concerned with the prevention of
hearing loss, they are often involved in implementing programs
to protect the hearing of individuals who are exposed to noisy
industrial and recreational situations.
Audiologists engage in a wide variety of research activities
to develop new hearing assessment techniques and new
rehabilitative technologies, particularly in the area of hearing
aids. Research reports of audiologists can be found in the
professional literature of medical and scientific journals.
Audiologists write textbooks on hearing evaluation, hearing aids
and the management of people with hearing loss. Audiologists
help develop professional standards and are represented on the
boards of national and government agencies.