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January 13, 2005

Audiologists help people with hearing trouble

From: Syracuse Post Standard, NY - Jan 13, 2005


Q. Please tell me what an audiologists do. I know they have something to do with hearing aids.

A. Audiologists are experts in the non-medical management of the hearing and balance systems. They work with testing devices to measure hearing loss and then interpret the results and coordinate the data with medical, educational and psychological information to make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment.

Treatment may include examining and cleaning the ear canal, dispensing hearing aids and rehabilitation such as auditory training or lip reading. Audiologists also fit and tune cochlear implants after they're installed surgically and provide the training necessary to listen with implants.

Audiologists work in schools, medical facilities and industry. They may do research in university research labs or be in private practices. They often work in teams with other professionals.

Anyone considering entering this field should be able to relate well to patients and their families, be able to communicate test results and proposed treatments and explain technology. Good listening skills, patience and compassion are all necessary skills.

Audiologists are trained at the master's and Ph.D. level. Many schools have speech pathology and audiology departments to train both disciplines. While there are no audiology undergraduate degree programs, courses in linguistics, phonetics, speech and hearing and the biological and physical sciences will all help with admission to an advanced degree program.

The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association certifies audiologists and accredits university degree programs. Its Web site provides information about careers and lists academic programs, continuing education and other information for both speech pathology and audiology. The address is:

It provides two levels of certification that include education, clinical experience and passing a written exam. New York certification requirements include a master's degree in audiology, supervised clinical practice of 300 hours, nine months of supervised experience and passing a written exam.

Syracuse University offers master's and Ph.D. degrees in audiology in its department of communications sciences and disorders. The program is accredited by ASHA's accreditation affiliate, offers practicum experience and prepares candidates for the certification exams.

The Ph.D. is becoming increasingly important, because the certification standards are changing. Beginning in 2012, all candidates for certification will be required to have a doctoral degree. reports the median income for an audiologist with up to two years' experience in the Syracuse area is $54,000.

Learn to Work is produced by the RLS Career Center. Readers may submit questions regarding educational options to HELP, RLS Career Center, 770 James St., Syracuse, NY 13203 and by e-mail at

© 2005 The Post-Standard.