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Home/ Careers/ Speech-Language-Hearing/ Audiologist (Doctor of Audiology)

Audiologist (Doctor of Audiology)


Audiologists identify hearing and balance disorders, provide rehabilitative services, assess amplification devices and instruct patients in their care, prepare future professionals in colleges and universities and serve as consultants to government and industry on issues concerning environmental and noise-induced hearing loss.

A Doctor of Audiology (e.g. Au.D.) is an independent professional who specializes in diagnosing, managing and treating hearing- and balance-related disorders. Audiologists treat patients from birth through adulthood.

In providing hearing care, audiologists:

  • Diagnose and treat hearing problems, including balance function and disorders.
  • Treat most hearing impairments through modern hearing technology, including programmable and digital hearing aids and other hearing assistive technology systems.
  • Program cochlear implants and serve on multidisciplinary cochlear implant teams.
  • Develop and implement prevention, screening and early detection programs.
  • Recommend hearing protection in industrial, military, travel, music and other settings.
  • Provide treatment services to enable individuals to communicate effectively.

Audiology is closely connected to the field of speech-language pathology (SLP). Some audiologists also become certified speech-language pathologists, but each profession is a distinct career in its own right.

For more information on both audiology and speech-language pathology, see the Information for Students section of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.

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Working Conditions

Audiologists work in a wide range of settings, including schools, hospitals, HMOs, research agencies, public health departments, corporations and private or group practice. Most full-time audiologists work 40 to 50 hours per week and some work part-time. Typically, audiologists interact with a broad range of professionals in interdisciplinary teams.

The job does not require physical labor but does require the ability to:

  • Relate to patients/clients and their families/caregivers about the diagnosis of disability and audiologic rehabilitation treatment plans.
  • Explain technology development and devices that assist children and adults with hearing loss and related disorders.
  • Consult with other professionals and paraprofessionals, the public and policy makers about the effects of hearing loss, balance disorders and tinnitus on the quality of life and the needs of persons with these disabilities.

Academic Requirements

To become an audiologist, you must earn a doctoral degree (e.g. Au.D.) from an audiology program that has been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association provides a listing of accredited schools offering an Au.D. program.

The requirements for admission into a graduate program vary from school to school. On the undergraduate level, a strong arts and sciences focus is recommended, with course work in linguistics, phonetics, psychology, speech and hearing, mathematics, biological sciences, physical sciences and social sciences.

Those individuals who have a graduate degree with with major emphasis in audiology (e.g. Au.D.) may become certified by the Council for Clinical Certification, which issues certificates of clinical competence for both audiology and speech-language pathology.

All 50 states now require audiologists to hold at least a master's degree or equivalent. A few states now require a doctoral degree for audiology. Other requirements typically include 275 to 375 hours of supervised clinical practice, a passing score on a national examination, and nine months of supervised professional experience. Forty-two states have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal. Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurers generally require a practitioner to be certified or licensed to qualify for reimbursement.