Career Development

What Does an Audiologist Do?

Find out what an audiologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an audiologist.

Audiologists are medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing, balance, and speech disorders. They commonly provide diagnostic services, counseling, and hearing aid fittings to patients with these conditions.

Audiologists may also be involved in research related to hearing loss or other ear-related issues.

Audiologist Job Duties

Audiologists typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing audiometric testing to assess hearing acuity in infants, children, and adults
  • Communicating with patients regarding their diagnosis, treatment plans, and progress over time
  • Providing counseling services to patients with hearing loss to help them adjust to their condition
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of hearing aids and other related technology such as cochlear implants or bone conduction devices
  • Creating treatment plans for patients who have been diagnosed with hearing loss or other conditions that affect their ability to hear
  • Assessing patients’ risk of developing hearing loss, including examining family history of hearing loss in adults or children
  • Performing an initial hearing test to determine whether additional testing is necessary
  • Administering hearing tests and recording results in a patient chart
  • Performing additional duties such as teaching patients how to use hearing aids or providing instructions on how to cope with tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Audiologist Salary & Outlook

Audiologists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $132,000 ($63.46/hour)

The employment of audiologists is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

The need for audiologists will increase as more older adults have hearing loss and seek treatment. In addition, an increased awareness of hearing loss among young people should lead to greater demand for services from audiologists.

Audiologist Job Requirements

Audiologists typically need to have the following background:

Education: Audiology is a medical field that requires a doctoral degree. The most common degree is a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.). This degree takes about four years to complete and includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, psychology, research methods and diagnostic testing.

Before enrolling in an Au.D. program, students must first complete a bachelor’s degree in a science field like biology, psychology or kinesiology.

Training & Experience: Audiology is a specialized field, and audiologist training is extensive. Most audiology programs require students to complete a clinical internship, which provides hands-on experience in a clinical setting. During a clinical internship, students will work under the supervision of an audiologist to help patients with hearing and balance issues.

Audiologist training also includes the completion of a residency program. During a residency program, audiology residents work under the supervision of an audiologist to gain more experience in the field. Residency programs can last from one to three years.

Certifications & Licenses: All states require audiologist licensure. To become licensed, audiologist candidates must graduate from an accredited audiology program and pass the American Audiology Association’s licensing exam. The exam tests candidates’ hearing, communication and diagnostic skills.

Audiologist Skills

Audiologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Audiology requires excellent communication skills, especially when working with patients. You can use your communication skills to explain the importance of hearing health, the treatment process and the importance of following treatment plans. You can also use your communication skills to explain the results of hearing tests and treatment options.

Technical knowledge: Audiology requires a variety of technical knowledge, including knowledge of hearing devices, hearing aid technology and other tools used in the profession. Having a strong technical background can help you better understand the needs of your clients and provide them with the best solutions.

Problem-solving skills: Audiology involves diagnosing and treating hearing loss, which can be a complex process. Having strong problem-solving skills can help you find solutions to challenges that arise during treatment. For example, you may need to find alternative treatment options for patients who are unable to afford certain hearing devices.

Organizational skills: Audiology requires the ability to organize and prioritize tasks. This can include scheduling appointments, keeping records and maintaining files. It’s important for audiology professionals to be able to organize their work space and paperwork to ensure they can find information when needed.

Medical knowledge: Audiology is a medical profession, and many people who work in this field have a background in medicine. Medical knowledge can help you understand the medical aspects of hearing loss and how to treat it. Medical knowledge can also help you explain treatment options to patients.

Audiologist Work Environment

Audiologists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, and schools. They also may work in private industry, government, or research laboratories. Many audiologists work in more than one setting. For example, they may work in a hospital during the day and in a private practice in the evening. Audiologists typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may work evenings or weekends to accommodate their patients’ schedules. Some audiologists may travel to schools or other sites to provide services.

Audiologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how audiologists work. Audiologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for Better Communication Between Healthcare Providers

The need for better communication between healthcare providers is becoming increasingly important as the medical field becomes more complex. Audiologists can play a key role in this by providing services that help to improve communication between doctors and patients.

This includes developing new methods for communicating with patients, such as using video conferencing technology, and helping to create a more open environment where doctors are willing to discuss their mistakes and learn from them. In addition, audiologists can also provide training to other professionals in the medical field on how to communicate effectively with patients.

More Focus on Preventative Care

As preventative care becomes more popular, audiologists will need to focus on providing services that help to prevent hearing loss in the first place. This may include educating patients about the dangers of loud noises or recommending certain products that can help to protect their ears.

In addition, audiologists will need to be able to identify signs of hearing loss early on so that they can be treated before they become too severe. This requires a deep understanding of the anatomy of the ear and the different types of hearing loss that can occur.

Better Collaboration With Other Professionals

Audiologists are increasingly collaborating with other professionals in order to provide better care for their patients.

For example, audiology clinics are often partnering with speech therapists in order to provide comprehensive care for children who have been diagnosed with hearing loss. This collaboration allows both professionals to share their expertise and provides the best possible care for the child.

How to Become an Audiologist

Audiology is a great career choice for people who love working with people and want to help them hear better. As an audiologist, you’ll work with patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. You’ll also need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families, so it’s important that you have strong communication skills.

To become an audiologist, you’ll need to graduate from an accredited program and pass the national certification exam. You’ll also need to be licensed in the state where you plan to practice.

Related: How to Write an Audiologist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Audiologists with a few years of experience may advance to supervisory, managerial, or administrative positions. Some audiologists open their own practices. Some may become involved in research. With additional education and training, audiologists may qualify for related jobs in speech-language pathology, medicine, or other health care fields.

Audiologist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide expert audiological services to patients of all ages. We’re looking for a licensed audiologist to join our team and provide comprehensive diagnostic and rehabilitative services to our patients. The ideal candidate will have experience with a variety of diagnostic testing procedures, as well as experience fitting and dispensing hearing aids. He or she will be compassionate and patient, with excellent communication skills. The ability to work independently is a must, as is the ability to maintain a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Perform diagnostic evaluations of patients with hearing, balance, and other related disorders
  • Select and administer appropriate tests to determine nature and extent of impairment
  • Analyze test results and develop treatment plans in consultation with physicians
  • Counsel patients and families regarding communication strategies, amplification options, and other available services
  • Fit and dispense hearing aids and other assistive devices
  • Monitor patients’ progress and adjust treatments as needed
  • Keep abreast of new developments in the field through continuing education and professional development activities
  • Maintain accurate patient records
  • Schedule and coordinate appointments
  • Supervise support staff
  • Participate in research projects
  • Perform administrative duties as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.) from an accredited institution
  • Licensed to practice audiology by the state in which they will be working
  • 3-5 years of experience in a clinical setting
  • Excellent diagnostic and assessment skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to build rapport with patients
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience with cochlear implants
  • Familiarity with electronic medical records systems
  • Ability to work independently
  • Proficiency in American Sign Language

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