What is an Audiologist?
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! When you or a loved one are struggling with your hearing difficulties it can be difficult to reach out or know who to reach out to for help. Audiologists are the “Doctors of Hearing” and are specialists in hearing and balance.
Qualifications and Training:
Audiologists gain a doctorate of Audiology or Au.D. which is a four-year advanced degree following a bachelor’s. During an Au.D. program, students are required to complete several competencies in order to graduate which includes direct patient contact hours over a variety of specialties.
During the fourth and final year of an Au.D. program, students complete an externship. This externship is a full-time clinical position that can be completed in any setting with any specialties.
Every Au.D. candidate is required to complete and pass a national exam called the PRAXIS which focuses solely on Audiology topics.
Every state has different requirements for Audiologists to obtain state licensure in order to practice. Find the requirements of your state here.
Most states and settings require Audiologists to be members of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a national organization for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. This membership will earn an Au.D. a Certification of Clinical Competence- Audiology or CCC-A. Audiologists can also join the American Academy of Audiologists which earns them AAA.
What is an Audiologist’s scope of practice?
Audiologists are specialists in hearing and balance. They work closely with other members of a person’s healthcare team to provide the best overall care for their patients.
Some Specialties an Audiologist covers are:
- Cochlear Implant Candidacy
- Cochlear Implant Mapping
- Auditory Processing Evaluation
- Auditory Rehabilitation Training
- Auditory Habilitation Training
- Hearing Aid Candidacy
- Audiological Evaluations (hearing tests, immittance testing, OAE testing, etc)
- Pediatric Hearing Aids
- Adult Hearing Aids
- Tinnitus Evaluation
- Tinnitus Therapy
- Electrophysiologic testing
- Newborn Hearing Testing and Revaluation
- Vestibular Evaluation Testing
- Vestibular Rehabilitation
Audiologists are trained in each scope of practice but will often choose to focus on one or a few scopes of practice. Ensure the Audiologist you seek out can help with your specific area of difficulty.
Audiologists are important healthcare professionals that are often the first person a primary care physician will refer to in cases of hearing difficulties or in any situation that an Audiologist may cover. If you are struggling with your hearing find a hearing healthcare professional near you.