Create Announcement

This feature requires that you be logged in as a Google Classroom teacher and that you have an active class in Google Classroom.

If you are a Google Classroom teacher, please log in now.

For additional information about using Science Buddies with Google Classroom, see our FAQ.

audiologist with child

An audiologist could...


Select, fit, and tune digital hearing aids for people with hearing loss. hearing aid fitting Educate airport ground crew about the importance of using ear protection on the job. ground crew
Examine the outer ear and ear drum to check for excessive wax or infections. ear exam Screen newborns for hearing loss and refer affected patients to appropriate services. baby hearing test
Find out more...

Key Facts & Information

Overview On each side of your head is the auditory system, one of the most beautifully designed organs in the human body. The auditory system not only detects sound, but is closely tied to the vestibular system, which helps a person with balance, and knowing how his or her body is moving through space. Audiologists detect, diagnose, and develop treatment plans for people of all ages who have problems with hearing, balance, or spatial positioning. This important work impacts how well a person is able to communicate and function at home, school, and work.
Key Requirements Good listener, patient, compassionate, analytical and objective, with excellent communication skills, and the ability to break down complex problems into simple ideas that everyone can understand
Minimum Degree Doctoral or professional degree
Subjects to Study in High School Biology, physics, chemistry, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus, English; if available, computer science, physiology, statistics
Median Salary
Audiologist
  $77,600
U.S. Mean Annual Wage
  $49,630
Min Wage
  $15,080
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) Average (7% to 13%) In Demand!
Interview
  • Watch this video to meet Dr. Michele Ikuta, an audiologist who has a doctorate in audiology, as she describes what she does the first time she meets a patient.
  • Meet Dr. Chizuko Tamaki, audiologist at Professional Hearing Services in Falls Church, Virginia, as she discusses the challenges of working with patients spanning generations--from infants to the elderly.
Related Occupations
Source: O*Net

Training, Other Qualifications

All states require audiologists to be licensed or registered. As of 2012 all individuals applying for certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association must have a doctoral degree.

Education and Training

While previously an audiology certification only required a master's degree, as of 2012 the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association requires a doctoral degree for certification. The professional doctorate in audiology (AuD) requires approximately 8 years of university training and supervised professional experience.

In early 2007, the Accreditation Commission of Audiology Education accredited more than 50 AuD programs and the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) accredited over 70 graduate programs in audiology. Graduation from an accredited program may be required to obtain a license in some States. Requirements for admission to programs in audiology include courses in English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and communication. Graduate coursework in audiology includes anatomy; physiology; physics; genetics; normal and abnormal communication development; auditory, balance, and neural systems assessment and treatment; diagnosis and treatment; pharmacology; and ethics.

Other Qualifications

Audiologists should be able to effectively communicate diagnostic test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a manner easily understood by their patients. They must be able to approach problems objectively and provide support to patients and their families. Because a patient's progress may be slow, patience, compassion, and good listening skills are necessary.

It is important for audiologists to be aware of new diagnostic and treatment technologies. Most audiologists participate in continuing education courses to learn new methods and technologies.

Watch this video to see an audiologist work with a young girl named Norah who was born profoundly deaf, but has received surgery for a cochlear implant. In the video, Norah's cochlear implant is "activated," or turned on, by the audiologist, giving Norah a sense of hearing for the first time.

Nature of the Work

Audiologists work with people who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems. They examine individuals of all ages and identify those with the symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory, balance, and related sensory and neural problems. They then assess the nature and extent of the problems and help the individuals manage them. Using audiometers, computers, and other testing devices, they measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds, the ability to distinguish between sounds, and the impact of hearing loss on an individual's daily life. In addition, audiologists use computer equipment to evaluate and diagnose balance disorders. Audiologists interpret these results and may coordinate them with medical, educational, and psychological information to make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment.

Hearing disorders can result from a variety of causes, including trauma at birth, viral infections, genetic disorders, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, or aging. Treatment may include examining and cleaning the ear canal, fitting and dispensing hearing aids, and fitting and programming cochlear implants. Audiologic treatment also includes counseling on adjusting to hearing loss, training on the use of hearing instruments, and teaching communication strategies for use in a variety of environments. For example, they may provide instruction in listening strategies. Audiologists also may recommend, fit, and dispense personal or large area amplification systems and alerting devices.

In audiology clinics, audiologists may independently develop and carry out treatment programs. They keep records on the initial evaluation, progress, and discharge of patients. In other settings, audiologists may work with other health and education providers as part of a team in planning and implementing services for children and adults. Audiologists who diagnose and treat balance disorders often work in collaboration with physicians, and physical and occupational therapists.

Some audiologists specialize in work with the elderly, children, or hearing-impaired individuals who need special treatment programs. Others develop and implement ways to protect workers' hearing from on-the-job injuries. They measure noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs in factories and in schools and communities.

Audiologists who work in private practice also manage the business aspects of running an office, such as developing a patient base, hiring employees, keeping records, and ordering equipment and supplies.

A few audiologists conduct research on types of, and treatment for, hearing, balance, and related disorders. Others design and develop equipment or techniques for diagnosing and treating these disorders.

Work Environment

Audiologists usually work at a desk or table in clean, comfortable surroundings. The job is not physically demanding but does require attention to detail and intense concentration. The emotional needs of patients and their families may be demanding. Most full-time audiologists work about 40 hours per week, which may include weekends and evenings to meet the needs of patients. Some work part time. Those who work on a contract basis may spend a substantial amount of time traveling between facilities.

On the Job

  • Evaluate hearing and speech/language disorders to determine diagnoses and courses of treatment.
  • Administer hearing or speech/language evaluations, tests, or examinations to patients to collect information on type and degree of impairment, using specialized instruments and electronic equipment.
  • Fit and dispense assistive devices, such as hearing aids.
  • Maintain client records at all stages, including initial evaluation and discharge.
  • Refer clients to additional medical or educational services if needed.
  • Counsel and instruct clients in techniques to improve hearing or speech impairment, including sign language or lip-reading.
  • Monitor clients' progress and discharge them from treatment when goals have been attained.
  • Plan and conduct treatment programs for clients' hearing or speech problems, consulting with physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other health care personnel as necessary.
  • Recommend assistive devices according to clients' needs or nature of impairments.
  • Participate in conferences or training to update or share knowledge of new hearing or speech disorder treatment methods or technologies.
  • Instruct clients, parents, teachers, or employers in how to avoid behavior patterns that lead to miscommunication.
  • Examine and clean patients' ear canals.
  • Advise educators or other medical staff on speech or hearing topics.
  • Educate and supervise audiology students and health care personnel.
  • Fit and tune cochlear implants, providing rehabilitation for adjustment to listening with implant amplification systems.
  • Work with multi-disciplinary teams to assess and rehabilitate recipients of implanted hearing devices.
  • Develop and supervise hearing screening programs.
  • Conduct or direct research on hearing or speech topics and report findings to help in the development of procedures, technology, or treatments.
  • Measure noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs in industry, schools, and communities.

Source: BLS

Companies That Hire Audiologists

Explore what you might do on the job with one of these projects...

Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
Some people have a photographic memory and can memorize anything they see almost instantly! Wouldn't that make homework easy? Other people can remember almost anything they hear. Try this experiment to see which type of memory you have. Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
If you're like most people, you like listening to music. Have you ever wondered how your ears and your brain turn the sound waves out there in the world into the experience of music in your head? If you're interested in doing a project about how we hear, this is a good one for you. With this project, you'll do background research and make measurements to understand how the sensitivity of your own hearing varies with the pitch of the sound. Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
Eardrums are membranes inside your ears that vibrate when sound waves hit them. These vibrations are converted into electrical signals and sent to your brain, which allows you to hear sound. The frequency response of your eardrum, or the range of frequencies that will cause it to vibrate, determines your hearing range. Typical human hearing ranges from about 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz, although the ability to hear high frequencies typically degrades as you get older. Some other animals can… Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
Can you hear me now . . . ? Just how loud does a sound have to be for us to hear it? And how loud is too loud for our ears? Learn to measure levels of sound in this project, and discover the amazing auditory range your ears can detect in the noisy world around you. If you have a smartphone handy, you can even do this project without purchasing any additional materials, by using your phone's sound sensor and a sensor app. Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
What is your favorite color and why? Do you think that simple tasks might be biased by your preferences? Find out in this science project if your color preferences will bias your fine motor skills when doing quick, repetitive tasks. Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
How accurately can people identify the location of a sound source when blindfolded? Imagine the hemisphere of space that extends above your shoulders at arm's length. Divide that hemisphere up into regular sectors and test the ability of blindfolded test subjects to point to a remembered sound source. For example, you could use the beep from a timer held at each test location, and then have the test subject point to where they think the timer was located. Record the magnitude and direction of… Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
Do violin students have better relative pitch than piano students? Since the violin requires the player to choose the correct location to stop the string in order to sound the proper note, you might think that violin players would, as a result of practice, have better ear training than piano students. On the other hand, you could argue the opposite viewpoint, since piano students would have the benefit of hearing correct intervals (assuming that the piano is in tune). Which hypothesis do you… Read more
Log in to add favorite
Science Fair Project Idea
Here's an interesting way to get some music into your science fair project. What predictions would you make about people with relative pitch? Read more

Ask Questions

Do you have a specific question about a career as an Audiologist that isn't answered on this page? Post your question on the Science Buddies Ask an Expert Forum.

Additional Information

Sources

Free science fair projects.