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Becoming an Audiologist

One of the most interesting careers in the health care industry is being an audiologist. This often neglected field gives you the opportunity to work with people who are suffering from hearing loss, balance problems and other difficulties related to the workings of the ear.

You can become an audiologist without attending medical school, and you don’t have to work with blood. These are two advantages that may appeal to some. In fact, you can become a licensed audiologist with the appropriate master’s degree, although it is increasingly common for today’s audiologist’s to have a doctorate.

Audiologists must be able to discern minute differences, have superior attention to detail, and be focused at all times. Audiology is a precision oriented science, and involves having a thorough understanding of how the ear works as well as the ability to differentiate minute changes in tone and pitch.

What Does an Audiologist Do?

Audiologists are trained to diagnose the nature of hearing and balance problems, assess the extent of any problem and recommend treatment and management options. During a typical work week, an audiologist might:

* Perform a variety of hearing and balance tests

* Fit patients with hearing aids and make sure they are properly adjusted to meet the needs of the wearer

* Teach individuals with hearing loss or balance problems various coping skills and communication strategies

* Consult with businesses to determine the extent of employee hearing loss

* Conduct field surveys to determine the relative level of noise pollution or other situations that could affect hearing in any given situation

* Counsel patients and their family members

What Kinds of Jobs are Available in Audiology?

More than half of the audiology professionals in the United States work at health care facilities of some kind. You could work as an audiology specialist at a hospital, clinic or in a private practice office of your own. In these situations, you will often get the majority of your patients as referrals from other doctors. Other audiologists work for hearing aid stores, fitting patients for hearing aids and doing any necessary maintenance or fine tuning.

Audiologists also work at schools across the country. Often an audiologist will serve several school districts, going from one school to another throughout the year to administer hearing tests to students. This is done in an effort to catch hearing problems at a young age so that treatment is more effective. Some audiologists work closely with speech pathologists in order to overcome potential communication problems for individuals with speech problems related to hearing loss.

With so many wonderful ways to improve the lives of individuals with hearing loss, being an audiologist is a richly rewarding career option.

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