Audiologists provide comprehensive diagnostic
and rehabilitative services for all areas of auditory, vestibular, and
related disorders. These services are provided to individuals across the
entire age span from birth through adulthood, to individuals
from diverse language, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic
backgrounds, and to individuals who have multiple disabilities.
Practice activities related to emerging clinical, technological, and
scientific developments are not precluded from consideration as part
of the scope of practice of an audiologist. It is recognized that
specialty areas identified within the scope of practice will vary
among individual providers.
Our professional organization, the American
Academy of Audiology (AAA) recognizes that
professionals in related fields may have knowledge, skills, and
experience that could be applied to some areas within the scope of
audiology practice. Defining the scope of practice of audiologists
is not meant to exclude other postgraduate professionals from
rendering services in common practice areas.
AAA members are bound by the
AAA Code of Ethics to provide services that are consistent
with the scope of their competence, education, and experience (ASHA,
of an Audiologist
autonomous professionals who identify, assess, and
manage disorders of the auditory, balance, and other neural
systems. Audiologists provide audiological (aural)
rehabilitation to children and adults across the entire age
span. Audiologists select, fit, and dispense amplification
systems such as hearing aids and related devices. Audiologists
prevent hearing loss through the provision and fitting of
hearing protective devices, consultation on the effects of noise
on hearing, and consumer education. Audiologists are involved in
auditory and related research pertinent to the prevention,
identification, and management of hearing loss, tinnitus, and
balance system dysfunction. Audiologists serve as expert
witnesses in litigation related to their areas of expertise.
a master's or doctoral degree in audiology from
an accredited university or professional school. ASHA-certified
audiologists serve a 9-month postgraduate fellowship and pass a
national standardized examination. Where required, audiologists
are licensed or registered by the state in which they practice.
provide services in private practice; medical
settings such as hospitals and physicians' offices; community
hearing and speech centers; managed care systems; industry; the
military; home health, subacute rehabilitation, long-term care
and intermediate-care facilities; and school systems.
Audiologists provide academic education in universities to
students and practitioners in audiology, to medical and surgical
students and residents, and to other related professionals. Such
education pertains to the identification, assessment, and
nonmedical management of auditory, balance, and related
Scope of Practice
The practice of
identify, assess, diagnose, manage, and interpret test
results related to disorders of human hearing, balance, and
other neural systems.
examination and external ear canal management for
removal of cerumen in order to evaluate hearing or balance, make
ear impressions, fit hearing protection or prosthetic devices,
and monitor the continuous use of hearing aids.
and interpretation of behavioral, electroacoustic, or
electrophysiologic methods used to assess hearing, balance, and
neural system function.
management of children and adults with central auditory
testing in newborn hearing screening programs.
interpretation of sensory and motor evoked potentials,
electromyography, and other electro-diagnostic tests
for purposes of neurophysiologic intra-operative monitoring and
cranial nerve assessment.
hearing care by selecting, evaluating, fitting, facilitating
adjustment to, and dispensing prosthetic devices for
hearing loss including hearing aids, sensory aids,
hearing assistive devices, alerting and telecommunication
systems, and captioning devices.
candidacy of persons with hearing loss for cochlear
implants and provision of fitting, programming, and
audiological rehabilitation to optimize device use. Provision of
audiological rehabilitation including speech reading,
communication management, language development, auditory skill
development, and counseling for psychosocial adjustment to
hearing loss for persons with hearing loss and their
Consultation to educators as members of
interdisciplinary teams about communication management,
educational implications of hearing loss, educational
programming, classroom acoustics, and large-area amplification
systems for children with hearing loss.
of hearing loss and conservation of hearing function by
designing, implementing, and coordinating occupational, school,
and community hearing conservation and identification programs.
provision of rehabilitation to persons with balance
disorders using habituation, exercise therapy, and
Design and conduct
of basic and applied audiologic research to
increase the knowledge base, to develop new methods and
programs, and to determine the efficacy of assessment and
treatment paradigms; dissemination of research findings to other
professionals and to the public.
administration in audiology graduate and professional
functional outcomes, consumer satisfaction, effectiveness,
efficiency, and cost-benefit of practices and programs
to maintain and improve the quality of audiologic services.
supervision of professional and technical personnel who provide
support functions to the practice of audiology.
of speech-language, use of sign language (e.g.,
American Sign Language and cued speech), and other factors
affecting communication function for the purposes of an
audiologic evaluation and/or initial identification of
individuals with other communication disorders.
accessibility for persons with hearing loss in
public and private buildings, programs, and services.
non-medical management of tinnitus using biofeedback,
masking, hearing aids, education, and counseling.
individuals, public and private agencies, and governmental
bodies, or as an expert witness regarding legal
interpretations of audiology findings, effects of
hearing loss and balance system disorders, and relevant
management and service as a liaison for the consumer,
family, and agencies in order to monitor audiologic status and
management and to make recommendations about educational and
Consultation to industry on the development of products
and instrumentation related to the measurement and management of
auditory or balance function.
the development of professional and technical standards.
Outcome of Audiology Services
Outcome of audiology services may be measured to determine treatment
effectiveness, efficiency, cost-benefit, and consumer satisfaction.
Specific outcome data may assist consumers to make decisions about
audiology service delivery. The following listing describes the
types of outcomes that consumers may expect to receive from an
Interpretation of otoscopic examination
for appropriate management or referral.
Identification of populations and individuals with or at risk
for hearing loss
or related auditory disorders, with normal hearing or no related
auditory disorders, with communication disorders associated with
hearing loss, with or at risk of balance disorders, and with
of the results of audiological findings.
to other professions, agencies, and/or consumer organizations.
for personal adjustment and discussion of the effects of hearing loss and the potential benefits to be gained
from audiological rehabilitation, sensory aids including hearing
and tactile aids, hearing assistive devices, cochlear implants,
captioning devices, and signal/warning devices.
regarding the effects of balance system dysfunction.
monitoring, dispensing, and maintenance of hearing aids
and large-area amplification systems.
Development of a
culturally appropriate, audiologic, rehabilitative
management plan including, when appropriate: Fitting and
dispensing recommendations, and educating the consumer and
family/caregivers in the use of and adjustment to sensory aids,
hearing assistive devices, alerting systems, and captioning
devices; counseling relating to psychosocial aspects of hearing
loss and processes to enhance communication competence; skills
training and consultation concerning environmental modifications
to facilitate development of receptive and expressive
communication; evaluation and modification of the audiologic
Preparation of a report
summarizing findings, interpretation, recommendations, and
audiologic management plan.
development of an Individual Education Program (IEP)
for school-age children or an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)
for children from birth to 36 months old.
in-service programs for personnel, and advising school
districts in planning educational programs and accessibility for
students with hearing loss; and
development, implementation, and evaluation of hearing
Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1997). Preferred practice
patterns for the profession audiology.
Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1994, March). Code of
ethics. Asha, 36 (Suppl. 13), 1-2.
Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1995, March). Reference
list of position statements, guidelines, definitions, and
relevant papers. Asha, 37 (Suppl. 14), 36-37.