What Does An Audiologist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Audiologists

Audiologists assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.

Salary
$89230
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Doctoral degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Audiologists assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.

  • Administer hearing tests and examine patients to collect information on type and degree of impairment, using specialized instruments and electronic equipment.
  • Fit, dispense and repair assistive devices, such as hearing aids.
  • Maintain patient records at all stages, including initial and subsequent evaluation and treatment activities.
  • Evaluate hearing and balance disorders to determine diagnoses and courses of treatment.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Audiologists maintain patient records at all stages, including initial and subsequent evaluation and treatment activities. They administer hearing tests and examine patients to collect information on type and degree of impairment, using specialized instruments and electronic equipment.

A typical day for an Audiologist will also include:

  • Fit, dispense and repair assistive devices, such as hearing aids.
  • Evaluate hearing and balance disorders to determine diagnoses and courses of treatment.
  • Program and monitor cochlear implants to fit the needs of patients.
  • Monitor patients’ progress and provide ongoing observation of hearing or balance status.
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as managing office functions and finances.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Audiologists also recommend assistive devices according to patients’ needs or nature of impairments. They may also advise educators or other medical staff on hearing or balance topics.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Audiologists instruct patients, parents, teachers, or employers in communication strategies to maximize effective receptive communication. They might also engage in marketing activities, such as developing marketing plans, to promote business for private practices.

In addition, they refer patients to additional medical or educational services, if needed.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them plan and conduct treatment programs for patients’ hearing or balance problems, consulting with educators, physicians, nurses, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and other health care personnel, as necessary.

To some Audiologists, it is also their responsibility to work with multidisciplinary teams to assess and rehabilitate recipients of implanted hearing devices through auditory training and counseling.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

72% said they were satisfied with their job and 88% said they found their job meaningful.


Stelios Dokianakis, Au.D.
Holland Doctors of Audiology

My Typical Day

As an Audiologist in a private practice setting, my typical day is 8:30-5, M-F.

I specialize in audiologic diagnostics, hearing devices, tinnitus management, hearing conservation for musicians, and VA disability evaluations.

As Doctors of Audiology, the most common appointment we have is for hearing testing. Patients may schedule because they have hearing difficulties or may be referred to us by their Primary Care Physicians. An Audiologic Evaluation is a test that measures hearing levels and speech understanding ability. We can also differentially diagnose where the problem comes from.

Hearing problems can be Outer Ear related (wax, infections, foreign bodies in the ear canal, etc.), Middle Ear related (fluid, pressure, masses, or growths in the middle ear space), or Inner Ear related (cochlear damage because of noise, medications, disease, etc.). In some cases, we have Central Processing hearing problems where the ear mechanism works well but the brain does not process the sounds correctly.

Audiologic Evaluations are performed using equipment (Audiometers) that deliver calibrated sound to the patient’s ears using headphones or disposable in-ear foam inserts. Tests are performed in a soundproofed and echo-free environment called a Sound Booth. Middle Ear function is assessed with equipment called a Tympanometer (or Immittance Bridge). A small silicone probe tip seals the ear canal, a pump changes air pressure, a speaker sends a tone to the ear, and a very sensitive microphone measures changes in the sound, allowing the equipment to indirectly measure middle ear status.

Other equipments we use include Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) and ABR (Auditory BrainStem Response). These advanced tools allow us to measure hearing function objectively, without requiring any response from patients.

In all of the US, when babies are born they are screened for hearing loss using either ABR or OAEs. In most instances, they sleep through the test, and within a few minutes, we know if they can hear well!

Vestibular assessments are tests Audiologists perform using specialized equipment to assess the function of the vestibular (balance) nerve. Once we understand why patients are experiencing balance or dizziness issues, there are several ways to help. Canalith repositioning maneuvers are one technique that we use to help patients who suffer from BPPV (Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo). Vestibular assessments and the management of dizzy patients is usually done by Audiologists together with ENT physicians (Ear Nose and Throat.)

Wax Removal (ear cleaning, or cerumen management) is a very common procedure in an Audiology practice. Ears can naturally build up wax. In some cases the wax becomes impacted and plugs up the ear canal, not allowing sound to go to the middle/inner ears, thereby creating a hearing loss. Using a variety of tools we can safely and efficiently remove ear wax. Common methods include Irrigation (flushing out with lukewarm water), Suction (a thin needle that vacuums out wax!), or manually with specialized instruments (curettes). Wax often needs to be softened if it’s hard and stuck to the ear canal walls; we use peroxide-based drops (cerumenolytic) before attempting to remove the wax. This also makes the process more comfortable for patients. We perform wax removal tasks using a focused light and under a microscope or magnification.

Many patients have hearing problems that are not related to wax or treatable medical conditions. In those cases, we are typically able to help by providing hearing aids that are programmed to the individual’s hearing levels and are selected to best match their needs. The selection, verification, validation and programming adjustments of hearing aids is a large part of our day. In addition to better hearing, today’s digital technology works with smartphones and can turn hearing devices into wireless headsets for phone call and media streaming. We use “Rear Ear” equipment (measuring sound with a tiny probe microphone in the ear) to ensure that patients are getting accurate sound and that the devices are at peak performance. Hearing loss separates us from people and helping patients hear better is one of the most rewarding aspects of Audiology.

We, also, have the honor of helping Veterans obtain help for their disabilities and injuries. They are referred from the Veteran’s Administration system for independent assessments, helping determine whether or not their hearing problems are service-connected.

Tinnitus assessment and management is another big part of our days. While having a phantom ringing/buzzing sound in our ears is common, for some people it’s so bad that it becomes debilitating, causing extreme emotional and functional disturbances. While there is no medical cure for tinnitus, we have a wide range of management options. Sound therapy with ear-level sound generators is a very effective approach for tinnitus management. Together with extensive counseling, we can stimulate the ear with gentle sound allowing the brain to not focus on the negative tinnitus sound and providing soothing relief. Over time we desensitize the brain to tinnitus leading to habituation, where patients no longer notice it.

Over a typical day, I will see 10 to 15 patients, some for 20-30minute appointments and others for full evaluations that can take up to 2hrs. In a private practice, in addition to patient care, we have to deal with insurance, billing, administrative and business-related matters. Thankfully, with having excellent support staff, I can mostly focus on patient care.

Audiology is an evolving profession. Research and technology always change what we know and how we can help others. Every year I spend 40 to 80 hours in continuing education and training.
I also spend time a day or so every month on professional engagements: I serve on the State Audiology Board and the Board of the American Tinnitus Association.

The challenges, engagement, and professional satisfaction from our profession are what drives Audiologists. There are opportunities to explore different passions and Audiology interests in educational settings, pediatric specialties, intraoperative monitoring, cochlear implants, industrial hearing conservation, manufacturing, research, music industry, and more. In my case I have found a great balance in private practice, specializing in hearing and tinnitus.

Pros

  • Extreme job satisfaction in helping others hear better, reduce tinnitus, improve their balance, preserve their hearing.
  • Most of our work results in an impactful quality of life improvements and patients/family members are very grateful, which leads to high job satisfaction.
  • Every patient is unique so engagement stays high; it doesn’t get old!
  • Patient care is long-term allowing providers to form meaningful relationships with patients.
  • The independence of being able to specialize in one of many diverse areas of Audiology.
  • Satisfaction in being able to help prevent permanent hearing problems with outreach educational efforts.
  • Hours are more flexible than many healthcare professions with no weekends or evenings.
  • Professional challenges keep us engaged: Advanced diagnostics require a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology, and many medical conditions, as well as participating in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Technology improvements drive product innovations and staying current/providing optimal care requires ongoing training and continuing education.

Cons

  • Dealing with insurance and billing
  • Commoditization of healthcare has devalued services, promoting products instead of patient-centered solutions.
  • Due to limited reimbursements by insurance, many large settings do not allow enough time for clinicians to spend with patients.
  • Student costs incurred to enter the profession (Doctoral Degree is required) are significant and, too often, not proportional to the earning potential of other healthcare providers

Audiology is a career path that I can strongly recommend.


Pros

Suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

One of the fastest-growing careers.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skills, knowledge, and experience are required for this career.

How much do they make

Average salary

$89230 per year

Average hourly wage

$43 per hour

Entry-level Audiologists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $56,550 to $68,940 per year or $27 to $33 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $128,160 $62
Senior (Top 25%) $102,220 $49
Median $81,030 $39
Junior (Bottom 25%) $68,940 $33
No experience (Bottom 10%) $56,550 $27

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Audiologists based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Outpatient Care Centers $106500 $51.20
Local Government $94620 $45.49
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $93170 $44.80
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing $91230 $43.86
Elementary and Secondary Schools $90670 $43.59
Specialty Hospitals $88920 $42.75
Offices of Physicians $88450 $42.52
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $87080 $41.86
Health and Personal Care Stores $85290 $41.01
Management of Companies and Enterprises $84150 $40.46

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Audiologists work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Audiologists including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Offices of Physicians 3580 $88450 $42.52
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 3320 $93170 $44.80
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 1870 $87080 $41.86
Health and Personal Care Stores 1480 $85290 $41.01
Elementary and Secondary Schools 850 $90670 $43.59
Outpatient Care Centers 570 $106500 $51.20
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services 320 $70300 $33.80
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 240 $83660 $40.22
Specialty Hospitals 170 $88920 $42.75
Educational Support Services 160 $74140 $35.65

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
3%

40 hours
63%

More than 40 hours
33%

Working schedule

97%

3%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
20%

Every day
80%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
17%

Every day
83%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
7%

Every day
93%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
7%

Once a year
73%

Once a month
13%

Once a week
7%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
23%

Moderately competitive
33%

Highly competitive
33%

Extremely competitive
10%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
7%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
93%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
80%

Once a year or more
17%

Once a month or more
3%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
97%

Once a year or more
3%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
17%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
3%

Doctoral Degree
77%

Post-Doctoral Training
3%

Relevant majors

Communication Sciences and Disorders

A program that focuses on the application of biomedical, psychological, and physical principles to the study of the scientific bases, development, and treatment of speech, language, hearing, and cognitive communication problems caused by disease, injury, or disability. Includes instruction in language science, hearing science, speech and voice science, biology of communication, behavioral linguistics, psychology, and applications to the development of diagnostic and rehabilitative strategies and technologies.

Audiology/Audiologist

A program that prepares individuals to diagnose and treat hearing loss and other disorders involving the ear, advise patients on means to use their remaining hearing, and select and fit hearing aids and other devices. Includes instruction in acoustics, anatomy and physiology of hearing, hearing measurement, auditory pathology, middle and inner ear analysis, rehabilitation therapies and assistive technologies, and pediatric and other special applications.

Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist

An integrated program that prepares individuals to work as both audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Includes instruction in a variety of communication disorder studies, audiology, speech pathology, language acquisition, and the design and implementation of comprehensive therapeutic and rehabilitative solutions to communications problems.



Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
28%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
24%

1 to 2 years
31%

2 to 4 years
7%

4 to 6 years
10%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
10%

1 month
27%

1 to 3 months
27%

3 to 6 months
10%

6 months to 1 year
10%

1 to 2 years
10%

2 to 4 years
3%

4 to 10 years
3%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

The Builder
38%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
95%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
33%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
90%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
52%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

They also like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
81%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
79%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
71%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
90%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
71%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
71%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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