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WHAT IS AN AUDIOLOGIST?
An audiologist is a university-trained professional who has at least a masters or doctoral degree in audiology. Audiology is the science of hearing. In addition, in 47 states, the audiologist must be licensed or registered by their state to practice audiology. In Colorado, audiologists must be licensed to practice by the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
In the field of audiology, the master's degree has been the accepted "clinical" degree for almost 50 years. Post-masters' (i.e., research) degrees include the Ph.D., Sc.D. and the Ed.D degrees.* Over the last 15 years, audiology has been transitioning to a doctorate level. The Au.D. (Doctor of Audiology) is a clinical doctorate degree and issued exclusively by regionally accredited universities and colleges.
*PhD: Doctor of Philosophy; ScD: Doctor of Science; EdD: Doctor of Education
Audiologists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, clinics, universities, rehabilitation facilities, cochlear implant centers, speech and hearing centers, private audiology practices, hearing aid dispensing offices, hearing aid manufacturing facilities, medical centers, as well as otolaryngology (ENT physician) offices.
Although the vast majority of hearing problems do not require medical or surgical intervention, audiologists are clinically and academically trained to determine those that do need medical referral. As a licensed healthcare provider, the audiologist appropriately refers patients to physicians when the history, the physical presentation, or the results of the audiometric evaluation (AE), indicate the possibility of a medical or surgical problem. Many audiologists also dispense (sell and service) hearing aids and related assistive listening devices for the telephone, TV, and special listening situations.