Health Care Providers: Audiologists
What Is Audiology?
Audiology (aw-dee-OL-uh-jee) is the medical specialty for diseases and problems relating to hearing or balance.
What Is an Audiologist?
An audiologist (aw-dee-OL-uh-jist) is a health care provider who diagnoses and treats hearing and balance problems.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Audiologists diagnose and treat such problems as:
- hearing loss
- ear anomalies
- auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD)
- balance and dizziness disorders
- cleft lip and palate
They do medical tests and procedures such as:
- hearing tests
- behavioral audiometry (which measures a person’s response to sounds)
- tympanometry (testing eardrum flexibility) and middle ear muscle reflexes
- otoacoustic emissions (to see how well the tiny hairs in the ear carry sound)
- balance (vestibular) disorder evaluation
They might suggest treatments, including:
- speech-language therapy
- hearing aids
- frequency modulated (FM) systems (to reduce background noise)
- cochlear implants
What Is Their Training?
Audiologist training includes:
- 4 years of undergraduate education at a college or university
- 4 years of graduate school to earn a doctoral degree in audiology (AudD)
They also might have:
- a pediatric audiology specialty certification (PASC), which shows that the audiologist has extra training in helping kids and teens
Good to Know
Audiologists mainly treat hearing loss and other ear problems. An otolaryngologist (ENT, or ear, nose, and throat doctor) generally does not treat hearing loss, but helps with other ear-related problems. Audiologists and ENT doctors often work together to care for people with hearing and balance problems.