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What are the Different Audiology Jobs?

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  • Written By: Koren Allen
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An audiologist is a trained professional who evaluates people for hearing loss and recommends appropriate treatment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of audiology jobs in the United States are located in a hospital or clinic setting. Another 13% of audiologists work in the educational setting, either full-time or on a consultant basis. Some choose to specialize in occupational hearing preservation programs, and a few audiology jobs are purely research positions.

Audiology jobs in the hospital or clinic setting almost always involve an examination and evaluation of the patient who is having hearing or balance difficulties. The audiologist in this type of setting will generally see patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly, but some choose to specialize in one particular age category. The audiologist may use a variety of diagnostic tools and procedures, such as the otoscope, ear canal irrigation, auditory brain stem response, and several others. Once the problem has been diagnosed, the audiologist can implement a treatment program, such as hearing aids and rehabilitative therapies. If the patient's hearing difficulties are related to a medical condition, the audiologist will make a referral to the appropriate physician for treatment.

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Many hearing problems are discovered in early childhood through routine hearing screenings done in public and private schools. In the educational setting, audiology jobs are usually consultant jobs, with one audiologist working with several different schools. They may administer routine hearing tests, or they may provide training in hearing testing to school personnel. Once a child has been identified with hearing problems, the audiologist may then work further with the school nurse, teachers, and parents in outlining an appropriate educational plan for working with the child's difficulties. Educational audiologists should be familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, so that any treatment plan they recommend is in compliance with Federal education laws relating to students with hearing loss.

Audiology jobs may also be found in the broader category of occupational safety. Hearing loss is fairly common in industries where workers are exposed to constant loud noise. The audiologist specializing in occupational hearing preservation may evaluate employees and conduct noise testing at a specific job site. They make recommendations for reducing hearing loss among employees, which may include modifications of equipment to reduce noise, personal protective devices such as earplugs or earphones, or some combination of the two. They may also provide on-site training to employees related to prevention of hearing loss and proper use of protective equipment.

A few audiology jobs are research-based. Research audiologists study the causes of hearing and balance problems, and develop and test new rehabilitative programs and communication devices. They are also extensively involved in developing new surgical procedures, such as the cochlear implant.

In the United States, audiology jobs require a minimum of a master's degree in audiology, and increasingly more employers require a doctoral degree. While audiologists are not physicians, they are required to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure generally requires a basic competency exam, similar to the bar exam for attorneys, as well as verifying acceptable levels of education from an accredited institution. In addition to state licensure, many audiologists acquire certification from professional associations such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the American Board of Audiology.

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