Audiologist Job Description
Audiologists test, evaluate, diagnose and treat hearing and balance issues in patients. They are essentially ear specialists. They typically work in hospitals or clinic settings, but may also work in schools or retirement home environments as well.
With life expectancy increasing and a growing population of elderly patients, Audiologists can expect to see a large increase in job growth of 29 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although this is a much larger than average growth, it is still a somewhat uncommon and specialized job, so this increase will add only about 3,800 positions during this period.
Audiologist Duties and Responsibilities
The duties of an Audiologist may vary depending on where they work and who their patient demographic is. There are some common tasks most Audiologists can expect to undertake though, regardless of where they work. A review of current job listings identified the following primary tasks and responsibilities.
Diagnose and Evaluate Patients
Audiologists’ main duty is to evaluate patients for hearing loss, balance issues or other ear-related conditions. They must perform various diagnostic tests and give physical examinations in order to diagnose patients. Once a diagnosis has been established they will devise a treatment plan that may include the use of medical devices, such as hearing aids and therapies to help alleviate or cure symptoms.
Provide Hearing Aids
Many patients will require the use of hearing aids and it is the Audiologist’s job to provide them. They will need to make molds or casts of ears, order the hearing aids, and provide patients with instructions and demonstrations on how to use the devices. They must keep up-to-date on the latest technologies and innovations in hearing devices to best support their patients.
Adjusting to or coming to terms with hearing loss is often a difficult process. Audiologists often counsel their patients on what to expect and offer support. They may recommend therapy groups, reading materials, or just answer questions their patients may have regarding their diagnoses. They will also explain patients’ treatment options and help guide them in their decision making process by providing ample information on treatments and clarifying any questions patients may have.
Strong interpersonal communication skills and a warm and inviting bedside manner are important traits for the Audiologist. They must also be extremely professional and have the ability to explain technical information in everyday laymen terms. In addition to these traits, employers look for applicants with the following skillset.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Audiologist with these core skills. Focus on the following, if you wish to become an Audiologist.
- State licensed in Audiology
- Basic computer skills such as, word processing and spreadsheet knowledge
- Proficiency with audio tools such as, audiometers, acoustic immittance bridges and hearing aid analyzers
- Experience analyzing and interpreting test result data
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your skillset and broaden your career options.
- Hearing aid dispensing license
- CPR or Basic Life Support (BLS) certified through the American Heart Association or Red Cross
- Clinical Competency in Audiology (CCC-A) certification
Audiologist Q & A
Every day, Audiologists make a positive impact on people’s lives by helping to improve their ability to hear. We spoke to Dr. Brian Earl of the University of Cincinnati’s EARLAB to find out more about this rewarding career. Here is what he told us about being an Audiologist.
What’s the most rewarding part about being an Audiologist?
The most rewarding part of being an Audiologist is helping people reconnect with friends and family through improved hearing.
What is the biggest challenge faced by Audiologists?
Limitations of technology and biologic therapies to restore useful hearing to those that have severe to profound hearing loss.
What skills do you use every day?
Communication skills during interactions with patients and family members of patients; analytical skills when completing testing to diagnose the type and severity of hearing loss, and when fitting hearing aids or cochlear implants to the specific needs of the patient
Who succeeds in this job?
Someone who is detail oriented, compassionate, caring and innovation minded.
How should someone prepare for a career as an Audiologist?
Obtain a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders or other health-related undergraduate degrees, such as biology, biomedical engineering or pre-med. Next, obtain a doctor of audiology degree, a clinical doctorate requiring three years of study and a full-time, one-year externship during the fourth year. Those interested in teaching audiology or doing research in audiology complete four years of graduate study for the PhD degree in audiology.
Are there any misconceptions people have about being an Audiologist?
Audiologists do fit hearing aids and program cochlear implants, but we do much more including:
- Advanced diagnostic procedures to detect and characterize balance disorders
- Develop and manage hearing conservation programs within industry and the military to reduce incidence of noise-induced hearing loss.
- Participate with teachers, speech-language pathologists, physicians, and other professionals to optimize the educational accommodations for children with hearing loss
- Conduct basic science research aimed at finding a cure for hearing loss.
There are more helpful and informational resources available on the Web for those interested in working in the maritime field. We searched the internet and found these links full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.
On the Web
Audiology Research – A peer-reviewed international journal offering the latest news and innovations in the field of Audiology. It is an open-access publication with no subscription required.
The Audiologist to Be.Com – A blog created by Audiologist, Dr. Lana M. Joseph covering everything from medical information to patient care tips. This blog is written by current Audiologists as well as those currently in training to become audiologists and provides a wonderful view into the profession.
Audiology Island Blog – This often updated blog is maintained by Audiology Island, a New York-based company providing Audiology services. It covers everything from device information and news to hearing loss causes and symptoms.
Counseling Skills for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists – This text provides basic and advanced counseling techniques and practices to help Audiologists best connect and assist their patients.
Pediatric Audiology: Diagnosis, Technology, and Management – A wonderful resource for Audiologists who work with children. This text provides detailed explanations of tests and diagnostic tools as well as online resources such as video demonstrations.
Fitting and Dispensing Hearing Aids – Written as an introduction into the subject of hearing aids, this text provides detailed information on the entire process from testing, fitting, programming, and dispensing these hearing devices.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association – ASHA is one of the leading industry-recognized providers of education and credentialing services for Audiologists and speech-language pathology specialists.
American Academy of Audiology – Founded in 1988, the American Academy of Audiology has more than 12,000 active members working in the field of audiology. They support research in the field, offer education programs and promote public awareness of the profession to help improve and support the profession of Audiologists.
American Board of Audiology – ABA was established in 1999 as a credentialing organization dedicated to promoting the best professional practices and elevating patient care. They offer certification in Audiology, Pediatric Audiology and Cochlear Implants.
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