An audiologist is a professional trained to diagnose and treat non-medical problems of hearing and balance. The entry degree for audiologists is either a clinical doctorate (AuD) or research doctorate (PhD), though audiologists used to be able to practice with a Master’s Degree, so some have been grandfathered in.
In the United States, audiologists can hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) in addition to state licensure. ClickHERE for ASHA’s fact sheet on Audiology. An audiologist’s title might look something like this: Ann A. Audiologist, AuD, CCC-A or Albert A. Audiologist, PhD, CCC-A.
Audiologists can work in a variety of settings. Some deal with occupational health and monitor workers’ hearing and exposure to dangerous noise levels. Educational audiologists work with children in the school system, conducting hearing screenings and helping to outfit schools with FM and soundfield systems to optimize classroom acoustics. Others specialize in treating vestibular (balance) disorders, as the vestibular system is part of the inner ear. Audiologists also work for hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers, helping them to do research and improve their products. Audiologists are also eligible to become Listening and Spoken Language Specialists. Currently, 11.8% of professionals holding LSLS certification are Audiologists by profession.
For people with hearing loss, it is important to find and audiologist who has lots of experience with cochlear implants. For children, a good pediatric audiologist for MAPping is worth her weight in gold! Some other professions are licensed to distribute hearing aids. These people might be called “Hearing Instrument Specialists” or “Hearing Aid Dispensers,” but the requirements for the classroom and clinical training they receive are different than an ASHA-certified audiologist. I highly recommend seeing only a certified audiologist who has experience with listening and spoken language for your hearing healthcare needs.