WHAT IS A DOCTOR OF AUDIOLOGY?
A career as an audiologist is not a well-known health care profession to younger students who have not done any research in the medical fields.
Older people, especially those who have had hearing, balance, and/or ear related problems may know about the profession because they may have had to visit one as a patient.
An audiologist identifies, diagnoses, treats, and monitors disorders related to the auditory and vestibular systems in the body. They help patients with hearing or balance issues. This includes the following:
- Dispense hearing aids
- Map Cochlear implants
- Educate families who may have an infant with hearing loss
- Counsel deafened adults
- Provide coping and ways to compensate for hearing loss
- Design hearing safety programs for industrial businesses
- Screen newborns hearing
- Fit ear protection devices
Audiologist training requirements
An audiologist will study a wide variety of science courses, from anatomy and physiology to neurology, from counseling to hearing aids. The broad spectrum of knowledge required for this position means you will need a doctorate degree.
The degree in audiology is known as an Au.D. You will then need to be licensed, which you can learn by contacting your states licensing board for audiologists.
Schools that offer Au.D programs are plentiful in the United States more than 70.
Although many audiologists may only have a masters degree, a change in 2007 required the doctoral degree, so dont be alarmed when you interview practitioners and ask about their education and they tell you they only have a masters.
Most audiologists work in traditional health care facilities: hospitals, doctors offices, and clinics that specialize in audiology. Many are employed through schools.
Those who operate their own practice may work hours that accommodate patients needs, rather than a traditional 9 to 5 schedule. Weekends and evenings may be required to get a practice operational. Also, an audiologist may be contracted to work with businesses and/or schools, which means a day at the office might involve traveling between facilities.
Not all audiologist go into practice, though. Some go to work for hearing aid companies. Those who do may work in sales or research and development.
Characteristics of a good audiologist
An audiologist should be able to communicate exceptionally well. He or she will need to listen to a patients problem and explain what course of action to take. This requires critical thinking skills to analyze the patients situation.
After the analization, the audiologist will need to offer a treatment solution, which may or may not work. At that point, the hearing doctor will need to use his or her problem solving skill and need to employ flexibility and patience.
Patience is especially important when working with young children or adults who have lost their hearing and are having a difficult time coping.
Because hearing loss is a serious issue, an audiologist needs to have compassion and concern for others. You will need to empathize with your patients and help them overcome hearing loss and educate them.
An audiologist works with audiometric equipment, which means being computer savvy will be of benefit.
Sales and marketing skills are essential to this position, as well. A small, private practice will need to grow, and this requires excellent marketing skills. But sales skills are important, too.
For example: A patient may have hearing loss but is on the fence about buying a hearing aid. An audiologist needs to be able to sell the patient on the benefits of the hearing aid.
Audiologist career prospects and average salary of doctor of audiology
An audiologists median annual wage is $66,660, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One needs to keep in mind that this position requires a doctorates degree, so the education cost versus future return on investment for this career needs to be weighed.
But the occupation is expected to grow faster than the average. The BLS notes that it will expand from 2010 to 2010 by 37 percent.
The aging baby boomer population, along with advances in hearing aids, may lead to a higher demand for this health occupation.
The expected growth, along with the education required, may make this a perfect health profession for someone who is social and investigative.
I hope this information about a career as an audiologist has been helpful.