If you’ve decided to schedule an appointment with an audiologist during Audiology Awareness Month, you may be wondering what all they can do for you. Below we review what an audiologist does, what kind of training they have and the difference between other hearing care professionals.
What an Audiologist Does
Audiologists are experts in the auditory system. This means not only do they diagnose and treat hearing loss, they can also evaluate and manage tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vestibular (balance) disorders. More specifically, they:
- Conduct thorough hearing exams.
- Dispense and fit hearing aids.
- Map cochlear and bone-anchored hearing implants.
- Counsel people and families about the rehabilitation process.
- Provide education about communication strategies.
- Evaluate tinnitus severity.
- Create tinnitus management plans.
- Diagnose and treat vestibular disorders.
- Collaborate with ENTs, speech-language pathologists and early intervention specialists.
- Work in a variety of settings, from private practices to research hospitals.
How Audiologists Are Trained
Most audiologists hold undergraduate degrees in communication sciences and disorders or a similar major from Gonzaga, then go on to earn a four-year Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree. They take classes such as:
- Anatomy and physiology of hearing
- Statistics and research methods
- Physics of sound
- Diseases of the ear and nervous system
- Audiologic assessment
- Pediatric audiology
- Hearing loss prevention
- Hearing aid dispensing
- Visual communication
After completing their education, audiologists then become licensed by their state by passing a written and/or practical exam. They can also seek other forms of certification including a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and board certification from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA).
Difference Between an Audiologist & HIS
Audiologists are sometimes confused with hearing instrument specialists (HIS). However, the two professions differ in how much training is needed and what they’re qualified to do. While audiologists hold doctorate degrees, hearing instrument specialists usually hold two-year degrees. Audiologists are able to care for the full audiological system, and hearing instrument specialists are trained to conduct hearing tests and dispense hearing aids only.
For more information about what audiologists do or to schedule an appointment with one, call the experts at Columbia Hearing Centers today.