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Audiologists work with people who have hearing, balance, and related ear problems. They examine individuals of all ages and identify those with the symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory problems. They then assess the nature and extent of the problems and help the individuals manage them. Using audiometers, computers, and other testing devices, audiologists measure the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds, the ability to distinguish between sounds, and the impact of hearing loss or balance problems on an individual's daily life. Audiologists interpret these results and may coordinate them 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, fitting and dispensing hearing aids, fitting and tuning cochlear implants, and audiologic rehabilitation. Audiologic rehabilitation emphasizes counseling on adjusting to hearing loss, training on the use of hearing instruments, and teaching communication strategies for use in a variety of listening environments. For example, they may provide instruction in lip reading. Audiologists also may recommend, fit, and dispense personal or large area amplification systems and alerting devices.
Audiologists provide direct clinical services to individuals with hearing or balance disorders. In audiology (hearing) clinics, they may independently develop and carry out treatment programs. Audiologists, in a variety of settings, work with other health professionals as a team in planning and implementing services for children and adults, from birth to old age. Audiologists keep records on the initial evaluation, progress, and discharge of clients. These records help pinpoint problems, track client progress, and justify the cost of treatment when applying for reimbursement.
Some audiologists specialize in work with the elderly, children, or hearing-impaired individuals who need special therapy programs. Others develop and implement ways to protect workers' ear from on-the-job injuries. They measure noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs in factories, as well as in schools and communities.
Audiologists may conduct research on types of – and treatment for – hearing, balance, and related disorders. Others design and develop equipment or techniques for diagnosing and treating these disorders.
Of the 48 States that require a license to practice audiology, almost all require that individuals have a master's degree in audiology or the equivalent; however, a clinical doctoral degree is expected to become the new standard. A passing score on a national examination on audiology offered through the Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service is needed, as well. Other requirements are 300 to 375 hours of supervised clinical experience and 9 months of postgraduate professional clinical experience. 40 states have continuing education requirements for licensure renewal. Medicaid, Medicare, and private health insurers generally require practitioners to be licensed to qualify for reimbursement.
Audiologists can acquire the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. To earn a CCC, a person must have a graduate degree and 375 hours of supervised clinical experience, complete a 36-week postgraduate clinical fellowship, and pass the Praxis Series examination in audiology, administered by the Educational Testing Service.
Audiologists may also be certified through the American Board of Audiology. Applicants must earn a Master's or Doctoral degree in audiology from a regionally accredited college or university, achieve a passing score on a national examination in audiology, and demonstrate that they have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of mentored professional practice in a two-year period with a qualified audiologist. Certificants must apply for renewal every three years.
Audiologists should be able to effectively communicate diagnostic test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments in a manner easily understood by their clients. They must be able to approach problems objectively and provide support to clients and their families. Because a client's progress may be slow, patience, compassion, and good listening skills are necessary.
If you are in need of an experienced audiologist in Monterey, call (831) 216-1281 to schedule an appointment at Central Coast Audiology, Inc.