At one instance or another, you might have heard of audiologists. But, chances are, you have limited knowledge of what they are all about. Hence, you might end up wondering and asking, what is an audiologist?
Before we proceed in expounding more about the audiologist, let us first take a look into their field of specialization for us to have a better grasp of their profession. Thus, what is audiology? The term “audiology” was derived from the Latin tem “audīre” and Greek suffix “-logia” which mean “to hear” and “the study of” respectively. From its etymology, it is easy to infer that audiology is the study of hearing and in this context; it also refers to the study of disorders related to hearing and balancing. Thus, an audiologist is a healthcare professional who assesses, evaluates and administers treatment to individuals who have hearing and balancing disorders. Audiologists are not to be confused as medical practitioners for they are what we refer to as allied health professionals. Let us make a clear distinction between the two to erase the confusion. Medical practitioners are individuals who practice medicine; doctors or physicians belong to this group. On the other hand, allied health professional are involved in healthcare but are consisted of a wide range of vocations different from that of medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Such examples are audiologists, physical therapists and dietitians.
An audiologist has quite a number of responsibilities and they treat individuals from all age brackets. To be able to be in practice, they have to earn a doctoral degree on top of their bachelor’s degree. In this manner, they will be able to acquire special training for their chosen field. In addition, a license is also required in most locations. Audiologists can be found in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, universities, health centers and in clinics. Moreover, the audiologist has different responsibilities when dealing with patients with healing problems. Such duties include the fitting and dispensing of hearing aids, conduct hearing screening for infants, do research for hearing and balance disorders and deal with other professionals regarding a patient’s case. Aside from the aforementioned, they also counsel and provide further assistance to patients and their families so that they can know how to deal with the disorder and communicate with the individual who has a hearing or balance problem.
Apparently, audiologists are busy individuals. Other than rendering their professional expertise, they also are empathetic and patient practitioners who understand the needs of their patients and their families. Indeed, shedding light to such a question (“what is an audiologist?”) is a way for us to recognize these typically overlooked of individuals and their exemplary work.