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.
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.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.