What is an Audiologist?

Audiology is a branch of medicine that deals with the sense of hearing.  Audiologists specialize in recognizing, diagnosing, and treating illnesses and conditions that affect the ear. They commonly work with patients with hearing loss, balance issues, and other ear-related conditions. They work with a variety of patients, from infants and children to elderly adults. These medical professionals usually work in health care environments, but some also work in educational settings. There are specific duties, qualifications, and career outlook for these hearing and ear specialists.


The first major duty of Audiologists is to assess patients experiencing ear issues. They evaluate the patient’s medical history and symptoms to identify the cause of the problem. They administer hearing and speech/language tests to collect information on the kind and severity of the impairment. They use specialized instruments and electronic tools to assist in the examinations. They keep detailed documentation of all patient information to provide the best possible treatment. They also determine the level of mental and emotional stress ear-related conditions cause a patient and offer helpful resources to decrease that stress. A lot of the work of these professionals is focused on the need for hearing aids or cochlear implants, and they fit and dispense the devices and evaluate to make necessary adjustments. They also educate patients on techniques to recover hearing and speech impairment, such as lip-reading and sign language. Often times, these professionals also carry out administrative duties, such as hiring audiology employees and ordering medical supplies and equipment.


A doctoral degree in audiology is the necessary requirement for this career. The program usually requires four years after a bachelor’s degree for completion. Individuals typically need a bachelor’s degree in a medically-related area.

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The audiology curriculum usually includes courses in anatomy, physiology, genetics, pharmacology, communication development, hearing conditions, and diagnostic classes. Most programs also include internships and clinical practice components. All states require these ear specialists to become licensed. The specific licensing requirements vary by state, but often include completion of a doctoral program and passing a comprehensive examination. Many professionals also obtain optional certification. The American Board of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offer certifications. Specific skills are also essential for these professionals. A familiarity of the latest diagnostic tools available is required to ensure correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Ability to communicate well with patients even those with hearing issues and patience and compassion are also ideal skills. Critical thinking, good problem-solving abilities, and detail orientation are also important for a successful career in the field.

Career Outlook and Salary

As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the audiology field is projected to grow 29 percent by the year 2024, which is considerably faster than the average for all occupations. The median yearly salary for these professionals is around $76,500, with a range of about $70,00 to $84,000. Actual annual salaries vary greatly depending on state, employer, experience, and certification.

Audiology is a great field for those interested in assisting individuals with hearing and ear challenges. Working as an Audiologist is a very rewarding and lucrative career that enables professionals to help the less fortunate in a growing and demanding field.