What Is an Audiologist?
We always remember to go to the dentist for our teeth or the optometrist for our eyes, but why does it seem like our ears are always neglected? While often overlooked, the health of our ears and hearing is incredibly important. While a slight loss of hearing is to be expected as you age, there are factors that have the ability to increase the rate of hearing loss. Unfortunately, once your eardrums are compromised, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to turn back the clock and regain your hearing. Therefore, taking the proper preventative measures and turning to a professional for help are solid steps to consider.
When we speak of hearing professionals, we are likely referring to audiologists. Such a professional can be found across Canada, typically working for hospitals or private clinics, such as Toronto Family Hearing. But what exactly is an audiologist, and why is visiting one so beneficial to your health? Let’s take a look.
What is an audiologist?
Audiologists are healthcare professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and management of hearing and balance disorders. They work directly with clients of all ages, striving to tackle any hearing concerns and find a way to manage any hearing loss.
What do audiologists do?
An audiologist is able to cover a wide range of tasks, procedures, and treatments. As their focus is on the ear, there are many ways in which a patient may need help. An audiologist’s roles include:
- Selecting, fitting, and dispensing hearing aids and other listening devices
- Providing education to clients and families regarding said hearing aids and listening devices
- Assessing, diagnosing, and managing hearing loss and vestibular function disorders
- Developing and managing hearing conservation programs
- Working collaboratively with multidisciplinary medical, rehab, and implant teams
- Continuing academic and clinical research in audiology
- Offering educational lessons on the importance of hearing
Ultimately, audiologists work to educate their clients and community on hearing loss prevention, while also helping those already experiencing such issues to adapt to their new way of living.
Where do audiologists work?
Audiologists work in a wide range of settings. Some are in the public sector, such as in schools, hospitals, and community health centres. Others may work in private practice clinics and universities.
How do you become an audiologist?
To become an audiologist, be prepared to take several years of post-secondary education. First, you are required to get an undergraduate degree. While there are no set guidelines regarding the kind of degree you need, many students hoping to study audiology tend to gravitate towards the sciences. There are a few course requirements to apply for the audiology program, which are generally science classes.
Following graduation, you will need to apply to an audiology master’s program. Depending on the program that you are accepted into, this will either be a two or three-year program. During your schooling, you will need to complete 350 hours of a supervised clinical practicum, thus affording you the practical experience that you need.
While it is not technically necessary, many audiologists entering the field will also choose to get their doctorate. The industry is fairly competitive, so proving that you are thoroughly prepared and educated can be a benefit during the job search process.
Finally, you will need to register with the regulatory body in the province you hope to practice in. Once licensed and accredited, many provinces will ask that continuing education requirements be met to ensure you continue learning about the field and are up to date on any new developments.
Becoming an audiologist can be a rewarding career, as it allows you to help others and ensure they are able to maximize their quality of life.
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