Audiologists are medical doctors who specialize in dealing with our auditory organs – the ears. They use advanced technology and various tools and procedures to diagnose patients' hearing and balance problems and to recommend the proper treatment. They develop and implement courses of treatment for their patients to adjust and lessen the discomforts they feel and they also consult with other medical professionals when needed.
Typically, Audiologists do the following:
Examine patients who have hearing, balance, or ear related problems Assess the results of the examination and diagnose problems Determine and administer treatment Fit and dispense hearing aids Counsel patients and their families on ways to listen and communicate, such as by lip reading or through sign language. See patients regularly to check on their hearing and balance and decide if they should continue or change the treatment plan Keep records on the progress of patients Conduct research related to the causes and treatment of hearing and balance disorders
The instruments Audiologists use include audiometers, computers with proper programs and other devices to test patients' hearing ability and balance, determine the extent of hearing damage, and identify the underlying cause of the problem. Audiologists measure the volume at which a person begins to hear sounds and the person's ability to distinguish between sounds. Also, before determining treatment options, they evaluate psychological information to measure the impact of hearing loss on a patient. Treatment options vary and may include cleaning wax out of ear canals, fitting and checking hearing aids, or fitting and programming the patient with cochlear implants to improve hearing. (Cochlear implants are tiny devices that are placed under the skin near the ear in an operation. Cochlear implants deliver electrical impulses directly to the auditory nerve in the brain so a person with certain types of deafness can hear.) Audiologists also counsel patients on other ways to cope with profound hearing loss, such as by learning to lip read or use American Sign Language. They must learn not only the functions of the auditory organs and the methods to correct any problems, but also learn how to deal with the psychological impact hearing loss can have on patients and their families.
Some audiologists specialize in working with the elderly or with children. Others design products to help protect the hearing of workers on the job. Audiologists who are self-employed build a client base, hire employees, keep records, order equipment and supplies, and do other tasks related to running a business.
Audiologists have a exciting careers and fulfilling jobs. Definitely worth looking into.