Careers in Audiology
Have You Heard? Audiology Is an Outstanding Career
Audiologists are experts in the non-medical management of the auditory and balance systems. They specialize in the study of
- normal and impaired hearing
- prevention of hearing loss
- identification and assessment of hearing and balance problems
- rehabilitation of persons with hearing and balance disorders
In addition, audiologists may
- prepare future professionals in colleges and universities
- manage agencies, clinics, or private practices
- engage in research to enhance knowledge about normal hearing and the evaluation and treatment of hearing disorders
- design hearing instruments and testing equipment
Your Work Environment
Audiologists provide services and work in many different types of facilities, including
- public and private schools
- rehabilitation centers
- residential health facilities
- community clinics
- colleges and universities
- private practice offices
- health departments
- state and federal government agencies
- industries with hearing conservation programs
- long-term care facilities
- community hearing and speech centers
- physicians' offices
- research laboratories
Most audiologists work 40 to 50 hours per week, while some work part-time. They frequently work with other medical specialists, speech-language pathologists, educators, engineers, scientists, and allied health professionals and technicians.
Skills You'll Need
Audiologists must be able to
- relate to patients/clients and their families/caregivers the diagnosis of disabilities and audiologic rehabilitation plans
- explain technology and devices that assist children and adults with hearing loss and related disorders
- communicate diagnostic test results and interpret and propose treatment in a manner easily understood by their clients and other professionals
- approach problems objectively and provide support to clients and their families (a client's progress may be slow, so patience, compassion, and good listening skills are necessary)
- consult with other professionals and paraprofessionals, the public, and policymakers about the effects of hearing loss, balance disorders, and tinnitus on persons with these disabilities
What You'll Earn
Salaries of audiologists depend on educational background, specialty and experience, work setting, and geographical location. In 2012
- the median salary for ASHA-certified audiologists with 1 to 3 years of experience was $61,000
- those with a doctorate could earn over $94,000
- those in administrative or supervisory positions could earn upwards of $90,000
Employee benefits-such as insurance, leave, and professional development-are usually very competitive.
Audiology Salary Reports
How You'll Get Started
- During high school, you should consider courses in biology, physics, mathematics, and psychology.
- On the undergraduate level, a strong arts and sciences focus is recommended, with course work in linguistics, phonetics,
psychology, speech and hearing, mathematics, and the biological, physical, and social sciences.
- A program of study in audiology is not available at the undergraduate level. Typically, you obtain an undergraduate degree
in communication sciences, which provides introductory course work in audiology.
Applicants in audiology must earn a doctoral degree, complete the required clinical experience, and pass a national exam.
Strength in Numbers
- ASHA represents over 166,000 professionals, of which nearly 12,978 were certified audiologists at year end 2012.
- Nearly three quarters of audiologists (72.6%) are employed in health care settings, including 47.1% in nonresidential health care facilities, 24.5% in hospitals, and 1.0% in residential health care facilities. Overall, 16.1% are employed in educational settings, including 8.5% in schools and 7.7% in colleges and universities. More than one quarter (27.2%) are employed full‐ or part‐time in private practice.
- More than 1,100 persons hold dual ASHA certification. That is, they are certified as both audiologists and SLPs. These individuals hold many major positions in clinical, academic, and research fields.
An Even Brighter Future
- Audiology is expected to grow faster than average. Because hearing loss is strongly associated with aging, rapid growth in the population age 55 and over will cause the number of persons with hearing impairment to increase markedly. In addition, members of the baby boom generation are now middle age and beyond, when the possibility of neurological disorders and associated hearing impairments increases.
- Medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and trauma and stroke victims, who then need assessment and possible treatment. Many states require newborns to be screened for hearing loss and receive early intervention services.
- Employment in educational services will increase with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including special education. Federal law guarantees special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities. Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders will also increase employment.
- The number of audiologists in private practice will rise due to the increasing demand for direct services to individuals as well as increasing use of contract services by hospitals, schools, and nursing care facilities. You couldn't pick a better time to choose a career in audiology!
For more detailed information, visit Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012–13 Edition, Audiologists.