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  • Carrie Ann Knox

What is an Audiologist?

The Sonic Sleuths series features an audiologist, or soon-to-be audiologist, with a hankering for some mystery. To someone stumbling across the series fresh, the term may be entirely new. What are they, exactly?

Audiologists are medical professionals that diagnose, manage, and treat hearing and balance problems. Most perform hearing testing to determine the type and severity of hearing loss and other related hearing disorders, and develop a plan for treatment. Many also work with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive devices as part of hearing loss management and treatment. They can also be involved in tinnitus management, aural rehabilitation, industrial sound level monitoring and hearing conservation programs, and educational audiology in school systems. Audiologists are also trained in electrophysiologic testing for intraoperative monitoring and diagnosis of inner ear, auditory brainstem, and vestibular/balance problems.

Audiologists practice with either a Doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D.) or, for grandfathered audiologists, a Master’s degree in audiology. The doctorate requires four years of undergraduate work followed by four additional years of specialized academic work.

If you or a loved one has a possible hearing issue, the audiologist is the person to see. Don't worry, they aren't all sneaking around after hours!


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