What Do Audiologists Do?
Audiologists are responsible for hearing related health. When someone has trouble with their hearing, they will go to an audiologist for help. This is an often overlooked medial expertise, but patients are frequently recommended to audiologists by their regular doctors. They do everything from performing hearing tests to fitting hearing aids. Audiology is not a very common focus, but it is growing faster than many other fields. It is expected to increase by more than 30% in the coming years, with 700 new jobs annually.
Audiologists Skills and Abilities
Besides their specific training, audiologists need knowledge and experience with medical information and techniques. On a more personal level, audiologists need an especially strong set of communication skills. Because they will be primarily dealing with the hearing impaired, it can be difficult to communicate properly. Knowledge of the English language or even psychology will greatly come in handy. Finally, the ability to serve and help people is one of the audiologist’s most important tools. Having hearing trouble is a very frustrating problem, so professionals in this field have to have patience and understanding.
One of the most common duties that audiologists have is performing hearing tests. This is the first step in the process of treating a patient. If necessary, a hearing aid will be provided and the audiologist needs to fit and set it properly. Other treatments are also performed occasionally, such as canal cleaning. Finally, the connection with the patient and the patients’ families complete their responsibilities. It is important that audiologists can create a plan for patients, monitor progress, council and instruct, and perform all administrative requirements.
Audiologists Tools and Technology
The tools that audiologists use include:
- Audiometers and audiometer accessories
- Audiometric bone vibrators or middle ear analyzers
- Auditory function screening units, including auditory brainstem response ABR screening systems, caloric irrigators, and otoaucoustic emissions OAE screening systems
- Aural probes
- Electroacoustic impedance bridges
- Hearing aid analyzers or test systems
- And of course, the hearing aids themselves.
As medical professionals, audiologists need to be completely knowledgeable about the function and operation of the equipment they use on a daily basis to help their patients.
Education and Training for Audiologists
Audiology is a medical profession, which means a high level of education and medical training is necessary before work can be found. Over half of audiologists have a Doctoral or professional degree, while another third just have a Master’s degree. Less than 10% of audiologists are working with only a Bachelor’s degree, so it is possible, albeit much more difficult. Next to no audiologists are able to work with less than a Bachelor’s degree. These figures are, more or less, consistent with those in the entire diagnosis and treatment practitioners category.
Audiologists earn a salary similar to other medical professionals. The median salary is about $75,000 annually, while the upper end is about $110,000. The lowest 10% of audiologists earn about $50,000 each year. These figures vary slightly depending on which area of the nation you are located in and your level of experience.
Audiologists Jobs by Geography
Audiology is a field that has a great deal of variety based on geography. In states such as New Mexico, South Carolina, and California, the average yearly wage is anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 more than the national average, while the average in Nevada is about half the national average. Additionally, the number of audiology jobs is increasing in every state except Maine. As can be expected, California and Texas have the most audiologists. Eastern states, such as South Carolina and Georgia are seeing the biggest increase in audiologists. Take these figures into consideration when deciding where to set up your practice.