Audiology Specialists or, Audiologists, are health-care professionals who specialize in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear.
Trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing or balance problems, audiologists dispense hearing aids and recommend and map cochlear implants. Through a new diagnosis of hearing loss in infants, they counsel families and help to teach how to cope and compensate skills to late-deafened adults. Helping in designing and implementing personal and industrial hearing safety programs, school hearing screening programs, newborn hearing screening programs, and providing special fitting ear plugs and other hearing protection devices to help prevent hearing loss are also some of the duties and responsibilities of a good audiologist. Other than that, many audiologists also work as auditory scientists in a research capacity.
Audiologists have training in anatomy and physiology, hearing aids, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics, neurology, counseling and sign language. Depending on the program and country attended, an audiologist holds a qualification usually with one or more of such degrees like MSc (Audiology), AuD, PhD or, ScD.
Various tools including hearing difficulties and balance problems are used by audiologists in order to diagnose ear problems. To help their patients adjust to these problems, they develop and implement courses of treatment sometimes working with other medical professionals.
In 2008, Audiologists in the US held about 13,000 jobs, amongst whom, about 64% worked in doctors’ offices or of the other healthcare practitioners, whereas, 14% worked in schools, while others held jobs in health and personal care stores, state and local governments, or even owned private practices.
All audiologists, in all the American states, are required to be registered or licensed. In a few states, the audiologists dispensing hearing aids must hold a Hearing Aid Dispenser license, separate from their license to practice audiology. The Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) is offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which may satisfy license requirements in some of the states.
Through the year 2018, it can easily be expected that, the employment of audiologists will grow much faster than the average for all occupation. However, those who have earned an AuD degree, and/or those who are willing to move to cities having a higher population of senior citizens, would get the maximum benefit.
Audiology Specialists must have good communication skills, the ability to approach problems objectively, try to recognize the diseases, patience and compassion.