Audiology is the science of hearing, balance, and related disorders.
Audiologists are experts in providing services in the prevention, diagnosis, and evidenced-based treatment of hearing and balance 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.
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.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 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 the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults (Collins, 1997). Audiologists work with people of all ages.
Audiologists work in many different types of facilities; 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.
Salaries of audiologists vary depending on education, experience, work setting, and geographical location.
Of the 211,000 members and affiliates whom ASHA represents, approximately 13,610 are certified audiologists. The need for audiologists continues to grow.
For more information about the job outlook for audiologists, visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Roles and responsibilities of audiologists include knowledge and skills related to assessment and identification, management and treatment, and prevention and education. Audiologists have skills in data analysis, using technology, interacting with patients, and communicating and collaborating with other professionals. They are patient and compassionate and think creatively.