A Doctor of Audiology also called an Audiologist has a wide range of procedures that fall under their scope of practice. Some audiologists work with hearing devices and/or cochlear implants. Audiologists may also assess and treat a number of disorders including auditory processing, tinnitus, and vestibular disorders. They can provide aural rehabilitation and even perform inter-operative monitoring during ear/hearing-related surgeries.
Hearing loss is evaluated by first getting a thorough case history. It is important for the doctor to understand the troubles you are experiencing as well as your medical history. You will be asked a series of questions including some about tinnitus, dizziness, fullness in the ears, ear pain, and drainage. The doctor will look in your ears to see if there is any visible wax or debris in the canal and check the health of the tympanic membrane (eardrum). She will measure the eardrum to check its mobility, if there is any fluid or congestion in the middle ear space, this test will let the doctor know. The doctor will perform an audiogram that measures your ability to hear at a variety of intensities and frequencies. You will be tested for your ability to determine speech in quiet and in noise. This helps the doctor to see how you are functioning on a daily basis. Using all of these tools, the doctor can help diagnose your hearing loss and provide an appropriate treatment plan for you.
What Exactly Does an Audiologist Do?
- Assists patients ranging in age from neonates to the elderly.
- Chooses, fits, and distributes hearing aids and other listening devices.
- Provides and fits protective hearing equipment and educates patients on the effects of noise on hearing to help prevent hearing loss.
- Contributes to research on the prevention, detection, and management of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance system dysfunction.
Audiologists give expert and individualized services to help people become more involved in vital activities in their lives and improve their overall quality of life. Audiologists can assist in the management of hearing and balance difficulties such as:
- Hearing Loss – Assess and treat hearing, balance, and tinnitus problems.
- Hearing Aids/Assistive Technology — Choose and personalize hearing aids and assistive technology.
- Dizziness and Balance – Assess and treat balance issues.
- Hearing Screening and Testing – Screen people for probable hearing impairments. Testing will establish the presence of a hearing loss and define the kind and degree of loss.
- Preventing Noise and Hearing Loss – Explain how to protect your hearing from the effects of noise.
- Tinnitus – Inform individuals on how to treat and deal with ringing in their ears.
Where is the best place to look for an audiologist?
- Private practices
- Doctor’s offices
- Universities and colleges
- Long-term and residential health care institutions, as well as rehabilitation centers
What Is the Required Education To Become an Audiologist?
Audiologists must have a master’s degree in audiology from a recognized university. Many audiologists today hold a doctorate in audiology (AuD).
Audiologists must complete a fellowship or externship year and pass boards in order to be licensed and accredited. In addition, audiologists must complete continuing education courses in order to maintain their licenses.
To practice audiology, audiologists typically get accreditation from the national group, ASHA, as well as state licensing (such as the Maryland State Board). Associations such as the American Academy of Audiology help audiologists stay up to date on advancements in the field.
Roles and Responsibilities of Audiologists
Is an audiology profession suited for you? Audiologists are health care experts who diagnose and treat hearing, balance, tinnitus, and other auditory issues using technology, creative problem solving, and social skills. Audiologists assist patients with these impairments in communicating and connecting with their surroundings. This page outlines audiologists’ characteristics and talents, as well as their knowledge, skills, duties, and obligations. If you believe you might be interested in audiology, you can discover an audiologist near you and schedule an appointment to shadow the practitioner for an afternoon to see what a normal day in the life of an audiologist is like.
Attributes and Skills of Aspiration
- Accountability to practice in accordance with a recognized professional code of ethics and within the parameters of federal, state, and institutional norms and regulations
- Integrity in maintaining confidentiality with individuals, family members, and other service providers in a professional way
- Data-based practice entails accessing, evaluating, and incorporating scientifically backed evidence into clinical practice.
- Effective collaboration on interdisciplinary teams to provide person-centered care that aims to achieve optimal patient outcomes Cultural competence and compassion to demonstrate care and concern for patients, encourage individual and family involvement in the plan of care, and understand the impact of cultural and linguistic variables
- Professional responsibilities include advocating for the rights of those in need of audiologic services, participating in interprofessional collaboration, and promoting the value of audiologic services.
- Effective communication skills, including the use of diverse modes of communication and communicating on behalf of patients as a referral agent or as a member of an interprofessional collaborative team
Clinical Audiology Practice Knowledge and Skills
Evaluation and Identification
- Identify, test, diagnose, and manage human hearing, balance, and tinnitus issues; evaluate behavioral and objective test results
- Inform patients about their hearing health and the potential need for treatment/management.
- Assess hearing loss patients’ eligibility for hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as providing fitting, programming, and audiologic rehabilitation to achieve the best potential outcomes.
- Oversee and carry out neonatal hearing screening programs.
- Children and adults with central auditory processing abnormalities should be evaluated and managed.
- Screen speech-language, sign language use, and other aspects impacting communication function for audiologic screening and/or early detection of individuals with various communication impairments.
Treatment and Management
- Examine the ear canals and ear drum with an otoscope, manage the removal of excessive cerumen, and take ear impressions.
- Recommend and offer hearing aid selection, fitting, and programming services.
- Recommend and supply hearing aid technology systems (HATS)
- Recommend and deliver audiologic rehabilitation services, which include speech reading, communication management, language development, and auditory skill improvement.
- Conduct a tinnitus assessment and nonmedical management.
- Counsel and educate patients, family, and caregivers about the psychological implications of hearing loss.
Education and prevention
- Collaborate with educators on communication management, educational consequences of hearing loss, instructional programming, classroom acoustics, and large-area amplification devices for hearing-impaired students.
- Educate the public on how to avoid hearing loss, tinnitus, and falls.
- Consult about the accessibility of public and private facilities, programs, and services for those with hearing loss.
- Implement and/or coordinate hearing screening and conservation programs in the community, schools, and workplaces.
- Take part in the creation of professional and technical standards.
- Measure functional results, consumer satisfaction, and treatment effectiveness to demonstrate the value of audiologic treatments.
- Supervise audiology assistants who assist with the practice of audiology.