Audiology is a branch of science that studies hearing and related disorders. As technology has advanced, treatments for hearing impairments have become more common and in-demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 4,300 audiologists in 2012.
Audiology can be a perfect occupation choice for individuals who want to help patients with hearing conditions. In addition to practicing in their field, audiologists can also explore careers in medical sales, administration, and even research. Audiology degree programs are offered by many accredited schools. To pursue a career in this field, a degree will be needed. Audiology programs are designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge and skills relevant to the discipline.
Bachelors in Audiology
Undergraduate programs in audiology are usually paired with pathology or speech language. Students will gain an overview of speech production, hearing, language, and voice. The curriculum is both theoretical and practical in nature. The coursework will also highlight the latest developments in audiology and how conditions such as autism are linked to audiology. Here are a few courses students will study:
Introduction to Human Communication and Its Disorders
This course will identify the causes, characteristics, and treatments of speech and hearing disorders. Students will learn about stuttering, adult aphasia, and dementia.
In this course, students will cover the basics of American Sign Language (ASL). The course will emphasize on vocabulary development, skills of basic conversation, receptive and expressive skills, and dialogue.
Articulation and Voice Disorders
Students enrolled in this course will learn about the diagnosis and treatments of voice disorders. The course will help students explore different disorders, causation, and treatment options.
This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of speech audiometry, interpretation of audiometric data, pure-tone testing, and aural rehabilitation.
Students will also take part in practical coursework. They will learn how to perform audiometric testing and screening, and perform routing hearing evaluations. The practice-based sessions take place under the supervision of a coordinator or instructor in a lab-setting. Bachelor level audiology programs typically take four years to complete.
Masters in Audiology
Masters in audiology is a graduate level program that takes around 2 years to complete. The program is designed to provide students with a strong theoretical foundation of hearing sciences and practical competencies. Students in this program will learn how to diagnose and treat auditory-related impairments.
The curriculum of the program will focus on skill development and practice. Apart from theoretical learning in classrooms, students will be required to gain hands on experience through clinical practice. The curriculum may vary a little from place to place. However, some of the important courses covered are:
This is a fundamental course that aims to equip students with a brief understanding of human body functions, cell structures, and mechanisms.
Hearing Devices and Rehabilitation
This course will help students learn about different hearing aid devices and methods of rehabilitation. The course will highlight different devices, their uses, and effectiveness.
Professional Practices Issues and Community Audiology
In this course, students will learn about the professional practices and ethical standards of audiologists and related occupations.
This is a practice-oriented course that is covered in a lab-setting or a healthcare institution. Students will practically learn how to diagnose audiology impairments and conditions.
Students will be required to complete all assignments, exams, and research projects that are a part of the curriculum. Please remember that the audiology graduate programs requirements may vary from college to college.
PhD in Audiology
This degree is designed for students preparing to work as licensed audiologists in the United States. A PhD is the highest level of education one can receive in audiology or any other academic discipline. Doctor of audiology programs can take around 4-8 years to complete, depending on the institute and the student’s pace.
A PhD in audiology will focus on research, build theoretical knowledge, and make students participate in a clinical internship or residency program.
The first few years of the program are dedicated to classroom based learning and independent research studies. Students will learn advanced theoretical concepts and conduct a research project. The final phase of the program will include completion of a dissertation, which will reflect a student’s research findings and conclusion. Here are some of the courses studied:
Principles of Audiological Evaluation
In this course, students will learn about the advanced procedures used in speech audiometry and masking. The course will also highlight audiogram interpretation.
In this course, students will learn about the basic structure and function of auditory systems. Some of the topics covered in this course include frequency, nature of sound, auditory filtering, and pure tones.
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of pediatric issues in audiology.
Assess and diagnose hearing impairments
Identify and understand the use of implantable hearing devices
Develop research skills and teamwork skills
Evaluate and recommend hearing aids for adults and children with hearing disabilities
Build strong communication skills
Study Audiology Online
Audiology online courses are easily available at a number of accredited institutes. Students who cannot manage on-campus classes can opt for online learning instead. The coursework of an audiology degree online is covered via online lectures, videos, slideshows, etc. This mode of learning is flexible and cost-friendly.
The admission requirements will vary from college to college. Students will need a high school diploma to enroll in a bachelor’s degree in audiology. Applicants for master’s degree will need a bachelor’s degree transcript, whereas a master’s degree will be needed to enroll in a PhD program. Other requirements may include letters of recommendation, personal essay, and meeting a minimum CGPA requirement.
Individuals who have completed a PhD in audiology are eligible to apply for a professional license in their state. The requirements for licensing will depend on the state’s licensing board of audiologists. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, audiologists made a median annual income of $69,720 in 2012.