What Do Audiologists Do?
Audiologists are healthcare professionals who provide patient-centered care in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. Hearing and balance disorders are complex with medical, psychological, physical, social, educational, and employment implications. Audiologists provide professional and personalized services to minimize the negative impact of these disorders, leading to improved outcomes and quality of life.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have a hearing loss. Ninety-seven percent of infants born in the United States receive a hearing screening shortly after birth. Because of this early identification, audiologists are engaged in assessment and management of hearing loss in children. On the other end of the age spectrum, the incidence of hearing loss increases with age and our aging population is growing. Hearing loss is a prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults.
- Perform diagnostic evaluations of hearing and function of the hearing mechanisms
- Prescribe hearing aids
- Develop and implement hearing conservation programs for employees in their workplace
- Use computer technology to assist those with severe communication disabilities
- Participate as part of the implant team for cochlear implants
- Provide aural rehabilitation for individuals learning to use hearing aids and cochlear implants
- Participate in research and development of new products
- Teach and supervise future audiologists
Clinical audiologists work in a variety of settings and can specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, balance, cochlear implants, hearing aids, tinnitus, and auditory processing among other issues. Most work 40–50 hours per week; some work part-time. They frequently work with other medical specialists, speech-language pathologists, educators, engineers, scientists, and allied health professionals.