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

Audiologist (Doctor of Audiology)

Overview

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. AuD) 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 "Students" section of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.

To learn more, watch a video profile about audiologists (in the Health Science category).

"Meet" an audiologist on the NIH Lifeworks website and find out what it's like to work in this field.

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 40-50 hours per week and some work part-time. Typically, audiologists interact with a broad range of professional in interdisciplinary teams.

The job does not require physical labor, but does require the ability to relate to patients/clients and their families/care givers 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; and 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. AuD) from an audiology program that has been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. For a listing of accredited schools offering an Au.D. program, see the website American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

The requirements for admission into a graduate program vary from school to school. On the undergaduate 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. Search for schools that provide training for this career.

Those individuals who have a graduate degree with with major emphasis in audiology (e.g. AuD) may become certified by the Council for Clinical Certfication, which issues Certificates of Clinical Competence (CCC) for both audiology and the related field of 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 9 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