By Morgan Leppla
October is Audiology Awareness Month and Hearing Health Foundation would like to thank audiologists for all they do in diagnosing, managing, and treating hearing loss and other hearing disorders.
Pioneering ear, nose, and throat physiologist, Hallowell Davis may have coined the word audiologist in the 1940s when he decided that the then-common term “auricular training” sounded like a way to teach people how to wiggle their ears. Fortunately, their role in promoting health is far more important than that.
Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders. Some of their main responsibilities include:
Prescribing and fitting hearing aids
Being members of cochlear implant teams
Designing and implementing hearing preservation programs
Providing hearing rehabilitation services
Screening newborns for hearing loss
They also work in a variety of settings that include private practices, hospitals, schools, universities, and for the government, like in VA hospitals (run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). Audiologists must be licensed or registered to practice in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Becoming an audiologist requires post-secondary education. One could earn a doctor of audiology (Au.D.), a master’s degree (M.A. or M.S.), or if interested in pursuing a research doctorate, a Ph.D.
The American Academy of Audiology provides a code of ethics that ought to structure audiologists’ professional behavior. As in other medical professions, audiologists should strive to act in patients’ best interests and deliver the highest quality care they can while not discriminating against or exploiting whom they serve.
Audiologists are principal agents in hearing health. Their contributions to preserving hearing and preventing hearing and balance diseases are crucial to the well-being of millions.
Learn more about hearing healthcare options at “Looking for Hearing Aids? Find the Right Professional First.”