Audiology is a licensed health-care profession. Audiologists diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders for adults and children. Treatment for hearing loss typically involves selecting and fitting hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive technologies. These diagnostic and treatment services require audiologists to have knowledge of existing and emerging technologies. As well, sharp interpersonal skills are necessary to counsel and guide both patients and their family members through the rehabilitative process.
In addition, audiologists also perform surgical monitoring, implement hearing conservation programs, and manage newborn hearing screening programs. Some audiologists may choose to provide a wide scope of general hearing health services or specialize in a single aspect of the profession.
While most audiologists earn a doctor of audiology (AuD) degree, there are other doctoral degrees that audiologists can obtain (i.e., PhD, ScD, etc.), which are typically research-oriented and provide important scientific guidance to the profession.
Where Do Audiologists Practice?
Audiologists work in a variety of settings:
- Private practice
- Private clinics
- Hearing instrument industry
- Federal government
- Otolaryngology offices
- General industry
What Does an Audiologist Earn?
Salaries vary widely depending on work setting. Audiologists earn an average salary of $84,800 annually. Audiologists with more than 20 years of experience earn more than $100,700 annually.
Are There Licensing Requirements?
Yes, audiologists must be licensed or registered for practice in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Audiologists should be prepared to apply for a license to practice upon graduating with an AuD degree.
How Do I Prepare for a Career in Audiology?
Students applying to audiology programs typically pursue an undergraduate degree in speech and hearing science. Many programs offering the doctor of audiology degree have widened their scope and strongly consider students with academic disciplines in broad areas of science and technology including biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, and engineering.
Some programs may require that additional pre-requisite classes be completed either prior to starting or concurrently with an AuD program if the student’s major is not in speech and hearing science.
What Comprises an AuD Program?
The focus of the professional doctorate in audiology (AuD) is on the development of clinical proficiency. The AuD is the entry-level degree granted for professional practice in audiology. For a list of doctoral programs, visit www.audiology.org or www.stu¬dentacademyofaudiology.org and search keywords “doctoral programs.”
Is Certification Available?
Yes, certification is available through the American Board of Audiology (ABA) but is not mandatory. Audiologists can also receive specialty certifications through the ABA.
Is Financial Aid Available?
Financial aid, scholarships, and grants are available. Research financial options through audiology organizations or by contacting graduate schools of interest.
What Should I Do Once I am Interested?
Research the career of audiology on this site and the American Academy of Audiology Web site. Contact audiologists in your area and ask to shadow them for a few hours. Research AuD programs that interest you to learn their requirements prior to applying.
Facts About Audiology
- Approximately 55 percent of the 16,000 audiologists practicing in the United States have received an AuD.
- More than 36 million Americans have some type of hearing problem.
- At least half of all Americans will experience some type of balance problem in their lifetime.
- Many audiologists earn six-figure incomes annually.
- U.S. News and World Report ranked audiology as one of the 50 Best Careers from 2006 to 2009. Reuters ranked the profession of audiology as one of the least stressful jobs.
- There are currently 73 doctoral programs in audiology and/or related hearing science in the United States.
- Audiologists work with patients of all ages, from newborns to older adults.