If you suspect something is wrong with your hearing, you might want to speak with an audiologist.
What is an audiologist, you might ask? An audiologist, or hearing doctor, is a professional who diagnoses and treats hearing problems and hearing disorders in children and adults.
Hearing loss or deficiency isn’t always a physical problem. That is why having an audiologist diagnose the problem could mean getting to the root of the matter. Depending on the individual, it could stem from a social or psychological factor. And once that factor exists, the condition that may be present could affect the overall health of your hearing.
But what exactly does an audiologist do?
The Day to Day Life of An Audiologist
You might have many expectations when visiting an audiologist, particularly getting your hearing problem fixed quickly. Especially, if you’ve experienced total hearing loss. But audiologists perform many functions daily and they normally go beyond just testing someone’s hearing.
These professionals also help with balance and tinnitus. The latter is a condition that causes a constant ringing in the ear or in both ears. In addition, they examine other disorders of the ears as well.
A hearing doctor helps people to communicate better. They do this with the use of technology and are able to restore hearing with the help of hearing aids, cochlear implants and mid ear implants.
They also counsel their patients about their auditory health and provide treatment options.
Assessment and Treatment Options
When they are working with their patients, they might perform a range of tests to determine the specific problem. After which, they usually recommend treatment.
A visit to your audiologist means getting a screening done as well as a test on your ear canals and eardrums.
When the problem is determined, the patient is given some options. These might include hearing aids, if necessary, or audiologic rehabilitation. That is a term that refers to helping patients to work on speech development, reading and communication.
But audiologists do more than diagnose and treat hearing problems.
They also partner with educators to inform the public about how to maintain good hearing health. They ensure that the proper infrastructure exists for individuals with hearing disabilities. And they also assist with the development of ethical standards, and provide free screenings in communities.
How to Become An Audiologist
Audiology is a part of the broader discipline of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Becoming an audiologist requires a clinical doctoral degree at one of the over 300 universities offering this course of study. The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) is the body most widely recognized and accepted by employers and the public on a whole.
All 50 states require that you have licensure to practice in this field, but a special certification may be required to practice within a school environment.
Working as an Audiologist
If you are interested in making an impact on someone’s life, and changing an outcome that would be devastating, then this might be the career for you.
Being an audiologist can be an exciting venture. There are many different places where one can be employed as a hearing doctor. For instance, at a health centre or also a hospital. You can open a private practice. But there are lots of residential or non-residential settings, to choose from, including in schools.
Audiologists also work with other professionals such as scientists, speech-language pathologists, educators and engineers, to name a few.
Their work week is approximately 40-50 hours long.
And as with most other professions, their salary packages can differ with experience, location as well as the level of education that they have. The average salary though ranges from $75,000 to $104,000. Some of the salaries being paid, includes commission among the 14,200 audiologists that currently operate in America.
The Future of Audiology in America
The more interesting the career choice, the easier it will be to get a decent job that pays. The demand for audiologists is expected to increase to about 21% by 2026 for several reasons.
Among groups such as baby boomers, retirees, and the elderly, the need for auditory aid will naturally rise. For those persons open to relocating, they travel to those areas that will experience a large number of retirees. For example, to Florida, where many people retire.
In younger generations, neurological disorders are becoming more prevalent and might trigger an increased need for audiologists.
The predicted rise in school enrolments, as well as greater requests for direct personal services will further add to the need for more audiologists. The job market is ripe for inquisitive minds and those individuals seeking to make a change.
Audiologists are able to network by joining the community of other hearing doctor professionals and speech experts at the American Academy of Audiology.
Students can also benefit from this professional society, as interns. Or simply, if they want to find a job in their field. This exclusive community of audiologists provide necessary information for developing professionals.