What Audiologists Do
Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or ear problems.
Most audiologists work in healthcare facilities, such as physicians’ offices, audiology clinics, and hospitals. Some work in schools or for school districts, and travel between facilities. Others work in health and personal care stores.
How to Become an Audiologist
Audiologists need a doctoral degree and must be licensed in all states. Requirements for licensure vary by state.
The median annual wage for audiologists was $77,600 in May 2019.
Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hearing loss increases as people age, so the aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists.
Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or related ear problems.
Audiologists typically do the following:
- Examine patients who have hearing, balance, or related ear problems
- Assess the results of the examination and diagnose problems
- Determine and administer treatment to meet patients’ goals
- Provide treatment for tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing in the ear
- Fit and dispense hearing aids
- Counsel patients and their families on ways to listen and communicate, such as lip reading or through technology
- Evaluate patients regularly to check on hearing and balance and to continue or change treatment plans
- Record patient progress
- Research the causes and treatment of hearing and balance disorders
- Educate patients on ways to prevent hearing loss
Audiologists use audiometers, computers, and other devices to test patients’ hearing ability and balance. They work to determine the extent of hearing damage and identify the underlying cause. Audiologists measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds and the person’s ability to distinguish between sounds and understand speech.
Before determining treatment options, audiologists evaluate psychological information to measure the impact of hearing loss on a patient. Treatment may include cleaning wax out of ear canals, fitting and checking hearing aids, or working with physicians to fit the patient with cochlear implants to improve hearing. Cochlear implants are tiny devices that are placed under the skin near the ear and deliver electrical impulses directly to the auditory nerve in the brain. This allows a person with certain types of deafness to be able to hear.
Audiologists also counsel patients on other ways to cope with profound hearing loss, such as lip reading or using technology.
Audiologists can help a patient suffering from vertigo or other balance problems. They work with patients and provide them with exercises involving head movement or positioning that might relieve some of their symptoms.
Some audiologists specialize in working with the elderly or with children. Others educate the public on hearing loss prevention. Audiologists may design products to help protect the hearing of workers on the job. Audiologists who are self-employed hire employees, keep records, order equipment and supplies, and complete other tasks related to running a business.
Audiologists held about 13,800 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of audiologists were as follows:
|Offices of physicians||27%|
|Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists||24|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||16|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||10|
Most audiologists work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. Some work weekends and evenings to meet patients’ needs. Those who work on a contract basis may spend time traveling between facilities. For example, an audiologist who is contracted by a school system may have to travel between different schools to provide services.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of audiologists.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare.
Optometrists diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes.
|Doctoral or professional degree||$115,250|
Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.
|Doctoral or professional degree||$89,440|
Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses.
|Doctoral or professional degree||This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year.|
Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments.
|See How to Become One||$80,370|
Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults.
For more information on state-specific licensing requirements, contact the state’s licensing board.
For more information about audiologists, including requirements for certification and state licensure, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Audiologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/audiologists.htm (visited ).