Audiologist

Pros


  • Help people with their hearing and balance related problems.
  • This is a good job for those who like to solve problems or enjoy fixing things.
  • Audiologists usually work at a desk in a clean and comfortable environment.

Cons

  • This career requires a lot of education, often requiring one to obtain a doctoral degree.
  • Being able to diagnose these types of problems requires a lot of concentration.
  • You must be good with people in this occupation. You will be working with a lot of children and elderly people.

Overview

An audiologist spends their time working with those who have problems with hearing, balance and other ear problems. These problems can be a result of medications, infections, loud working environments, genetics or old age. They identify these problems by using different methods of examination to determine what is wrong. Using specialized testing devices, audiologists will use sounds to help them determine at what volume a person begins hearing sounds to measure hearing loss. They will use a variety of sounds to distinguish whether there are certain tones that a person cannot hear. Along with this, they will use special computer devices to determine if a patient has balance problems.

Audiologists will examine data that is collected from testing in order to advise a recommended method of treatment. They will often advise patients on listening strategies that will allow for better hearing. Sometimes they will examine the ear canal and clean it of debris. Many times an audiologist will fit a patient with a hearing aid, which is an electronic device inserted into the ear that amplifies sound.

Another role that an audiologist takes on is consulting their patients on preventive methods to limit hearing loss. Because certain environments are bad for a person’s ears and can cause hearing to degrade over time, and audiologist spends time educating their patients to prevent this from happening. They will use a variety of methods, from teaching their patients in person to writing and distributing written materials on the dangers of hearing loss.

Education

Becoming and audiologist requires a lot of education. While in the past one wishing to enter the field only needed a master’s degree, it is becoming common for an audiologist to have a doctoral degree. Getting a doctoral degree requires a four year undergraduate degree and applying to graduate school. Most graduate schools require prospective students to take the GRE, or graduate record examination. After graduation from a master’s program in audiology, it is possible to get licensed and enter the workforce, but some states are now requiring a doctoral degree to be licensed, and this trend may see other states raising their requirements as well.

Job Prospects

Although the number of people working as audiologists is small, there is expected to be growth in this field. More often than in the past there is an awareness of hearing disorders that normally would go undetected, and this bodes well for the occupation. Also, with a population that is getting older, there is an increased need for specialists that can help people to improve their hearing as they age.

Advancement Opportunities

Many audiologists work in hospitals or clinics. They also can be found in educational institutions. In a larger organization environment, it is possible to move into a job that has more responsibility after gaining some work experience. Some audiologists end up concentrating on a certain subset of their field, such as children. Others will take their experience and start their own private practice, although there are only a small amount that follow this path.