Audiologists identify, assess, and provide treatment for hearing, balance, and related disorders. They also recommend and evaluate hearing aids and other types of assistive hearing devices. While the work is mainly diagnostic, some audiologists have experience with sign language and lip reading and can provide ongoing therapy/aural rehabilitation.
Nature of Work:
- Use a variety of instruments and methods to diagnose a student's hearing loss
- Determines a course of treatment that will be best for the student
- Instructs teachers and student on proper use of assistive equipment and treatment methods.
- May make earmolds for hearing aids, fit hearing aids, tests for effectiveness
- Counsels teachers as well as families about suggestions for communicating with the children
- Standard courses include anatomy and physiology of the body as it relates to hearing, speech, and language; communication disorders; acoustics; and psychological aspects of communication.
- 50 states and the District of Columbia regulate the licensing of audiologists
- Individuals must have a least a master's degree in Audiology from an accredited program. A professional or clinical doctoral degree is becoming increasingly necessary as state licensure requirements are revised. The professional doctorate in audiology (Au.D.) requires approximately 8 years of university training and supervised professional experience.
- For licensure renewal, most states have continuing education requirements.
Audiologists are patient, sensitive, caring, and tactful. They have exceptional skills in observation, concentration, and recordkeeping. Audiologists should be able to effectively communicate diagnostic test results, interpretation, and proposed treatment in a manner easily understood by their students, parents, and school staff. Although audiologists are productive independent workers, they collaborate on an ongoing basis with other health professionals and school staff members to help the deaf and hard of hearing students experience successful school careers.
Job Outlook and Advancement:
Employment of audiologists is expected to to grow 10 percent from 2006 to 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The number of job openings will be greatest in this health services industry because baby boomers are approaching retirement age. Employment for school audiologists will increase as school enrollments grow and as preschoolers are identified as eligible and need to receive special education services under the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
How to Prepare for a Career:
If you are interested in pursuing a career in audiology in an educational setting, you may wish to contact an audiologist who works for a school system and ask if you can observe him/her for a day or volunteer on a regular basis. Learn different modes of communication and language; i.e., American Sign Language (ASL), Cued Speech. In high school, take classes in science, speech, psychology, English, and communications.
Educational Audiology Association