About Audiology

What is an Audiologist?

Audiologists are health care professionals who assess, treat and educate to prevent hearing and balance problems. They are trained to perform a variety of tests to determine the nature and degree of an individual’s hearing and/or balance problems. They see people of all ages – babies, children and adults.

Once the hearing and/or balance problem is known, an audiologist can help determine the best action to help individuals deal with their problems.

How to Become an Audiologist

If you are considering audiology as a career, you may wish to contact an audiologist in your area and do some job-shadowing. This will give you a good idea of the daily routine of an audiologist, and many of the university audiology programs require some job-shadowing before applying.

What Do Audiologists Do?

Audiologists can work in a variety of fields. Clinical audiologists work in a hospital setting or in doctor’s offices where they test hearing, perform advanced audiological tests (such as Auditory Brainstem Response, Electrocochleography, and Electronystagmography), assess middle ear problems, and prescribe and assess hearing aids. Paediatric audiologists work with children either in hospitals or in the schools. Some audiologists work with cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, from assessment of candidacy to post-surgical programming. Audiologists can also work in aural rehabilitation (training to help people hear better and get better use from hearing aids and other assistive listening devices).

Audiologists who work in industry or the military are heavily involved in hearing conservation, noise reduction, and hearing protection. Dispensing audiologists work in private practice and also fit and dispense hearing aids. Other audiologists may focus on neuro-otology or perform intraoperative monitoring of the hearing nerve (the 8th cranial nerve). Audiologists who work at universities do research and teach.

Where Can I Find an Audiologist?

Audiologists work in:

  • Hospitals (balance and/or hearing divisions)
  • Medical clinics (often in conjunction with ENT doctors)
  • Private practice offices (diagnostic assessments and hearing aid provisions)
  • Speech and hearing centres

Audiologists can also be found in some public and private schools, nursing homes and government agencies (e.g. provincial Workers Compensation Boards and Veterans Affairs Canada). You do not need a referral from a physician to see an audiologist about your hearing and/or balance problems.