Find a hearing care professional near me (2023)

What is a speech therapist?

Audiology is the branch of science that deals with hearing loss and balance disorders. Speech therapists are the primary health professionals who assess, diagnose, treat, and treat hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children (AAA, 2017). Seniors, adults, teens, teenagers, and children can all be treated by an audiologist. Tinnitus (constant ringing/noise in the ears) and central auditory processing disorders are just two conditions that an audiologist can treat. The most common duties of an audiologist are to identify hearing impairments and prescribe treatments for them.

Most types of hearing loss can be treated by an audiologist, although some are irreversible and can be controlled. An audiologist can treat hearing loss due to nerve damage by prescribing a hearing aid or other amplification devices (assistive listening) and assistive listening technology. The design and implementation of hearing preservation programs or newborn hearing screening programs can also be part of the tasks of an audiologist. They may be members of a cochlear implant team, perform hearing monitoring or hearing surgery, or provide hearing rehabilitation training such as: B. Listening training and improving listening skills (AAA, 2017).

In addition to examining a patient for hearing loss or balance problems, an audiologist will advise patients and family members to help them with prescribed treatments or equipment. They also perform regular hearing tests on a patient to track hearing progression or decline. Educational and research opportunities also exist in the speech pathology profession, either through public education or through research into causes or treatments for specific hearing disorders and dysfunctions.

Speech language pathologists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, private practices, ENT surgeries, universities, elementary and high schools, government hospitals, the military, and the Veterans Administration (VA). ). Most audiologists earn a doctorate in audiology (AuD). Some speech-language pathologists may earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in the sciences of hearing and balance. Speech therapists must be licensed or registered in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico (AAA, 2017).

Tasks of a speech therapist

A practicing audiologist has several roles within his or her professional duties. In addition to expected duties, a speech therapist may be responsible for determining the level of emotional or mental stress that hearing loss may cause for a patient and identifying sources to alleviate that stress (Research, 2017). Diagnosis, consultant, audiology care coordinator, audiology researcher, and educational audiologist are some of the different roles an audiologist is involved in. Each of the different roles requires specific skills that only an audiologist will have.


In this field, diagnosis is the first step in treating the patient. As a diagnostician, an audiologist tests the patient to determine if an audiological problem is present and determines the magnitude or scope of the diagnosis. Children under the age of 5 are particularly difficult to diagnose, so exceptional skill is required to obtain evidence-based hearing assessment tests in children and ensure that they are cost-effective for the child's family (Thomas, 2017). ). The diagnosis can be made on referral from a doctor or directly by the patient in a private or professional environment. The speech therapist will use various tests and devices to assess the patient, obtain historical information, reassure the child and parents, and clarify any doubts that may arise.


As a counselor, the speech therapist interacts with the child and their family throughout the diagnosis and treatment process. This audiologist provides information about diagnostic tests, available support systems, hearing loss management options and is also available when needed (Thomas, 2017). The results of the audiological clarification are communicated to the relatives in an understandable way and possible interventions are sensitively described and discussed.

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hearing aid coordinator

As an individual case manager for patients, an audiologist can be the central coordinator for all tests and medical results from different specialists and institutions. In the early stages of diagnosis, the audiological treatment coordinator will assess the problem and recommend the appropriate intervention. If the patient is a minor, the procedure should be discussed with the parent or guardian to ensure they understand the recommended options.


There are many research opportunities in the field of audiology as it is relatively new compared to other medical professions so there is much to explore to fully understand some disorders and dysfunctions related to hearing and balance. Devices such as hearing aids and hearing aids are constantly being improved and further developed through audiological research. Audiology researchers continue to improve the quality of life for people with hearing and balance issues, including pediatric research into speech recognition and testing, and speech and language programming development.


Educational audiologists work in the home or school to provide facts and dispel myths about hearing loss and the deaf or hard of hearing. You can also assess the progress of students with these types of disabilities at school or at home. An educational speech therapist facilitates communication and helps students, patients, and families understand a child's social, emotional, and cognitive needs (Thomas, 2017).


According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is among the top six causes of the global burden of disease (Zahnert, 2011). The aging of the population and the increase in hobbies and activities that involve excessive noise exposure have contributed to the increase in hearing loss. Fortunately, advances have been made in treating hearing loss, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and surgical treatments. Proper diagnosis of the type of hearing loss and early detection are essential to determine the appropriate treatment or rehabilitation.

Conductive hearing loss is a condition that interferes with the transmission of sound to the cochlea. It is usually reversible with medical treatment and can be caused by earwax in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear, or Eustachian tube obstruction (AIHA, 2000). Typically, with conductive hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss remains constant. Occupational conductive hearing loss is not common.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in the ear when hair, sensory cells, and auditory nerve endings begin to break down. This type of hearing loss is mainly caused by exposure to excessive noise but can also be attributed to presbycusis, some viruses, birth defects (inherited), and drug toxicity (AIHA, 2000). Most occupational hearing losses are sensorineural and not reversible. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by systemic infection (eg, meningitis, syphilis, or HIV infection), ear disease (eg, cholesteatoma), trauma (eg, acoustic trauma, skull base fracture), cardiovascular disease, and paraneoplastic involvement of the inner ear (Zahnert, 2011).

hearing impairment

An audiologist will evaluate and treat the following conditions:

Hearing impairment: The severity of hearing disorders or impairments varies greatly. An audiologist uses an audiometer to measure the degree and extent of serious damage to a patient's hearing. In most cases, a hearing care professional can identify the cause of the hearing loss and prescribe a solution or treatment based on the evaluation.

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Amplification: Hearing aids and hearing aids amplify sounds to the hearing level of the person wearing them. An audiologist will prescribe the correct device based on the degree and extent of the patient's hearing loss.

Auditory processing disorders occur when there is dysfunction between the brain and the signals it receives from the inner ear. The brain uses these signals to interpret and translate the noise. An audiologist measures the sounds a patient can hear and determines how often those sounds are heard (the normal range of human hearing is 20 to 20,000 Hz (Hertz). The function of the cerebral cortex, which interprets sounds and sounds, it can also be measured by an audiologist to diagnose the disorder and determine the appropriate treatment.

Tinnitus refers to a constant ringing or hissing sound in the ear, most often described as a low-pitched buzzing or hissing sound. Firefighters, military personnel, and construction workers are among the groups commonly affected by tinnitus. Although not all tinnitus can be cured, an audiologist can help reduce the impact on the patient.

Hyperacusis and misophonia are hearing disorders related to problems with amplification. Hyperacusis refers to an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds in the typical environment, and misophonia refers to a selective sensitivity to small, repetitive sounds (Thomas, 2017). Those suffering from these disorders often experience symptoms similar to watching a very loud TV when exposed to certain sounds or noises.

Balance Disorders: Balance disorders, which are usually caused by inner ear problems, can cause imbalance, dizziness, dizziness, and other balance problems. Imbalance disorders can be caused by infection or trauma to the inner ear.

speech therapy

A speech therapist may specialize in speech therapy. These specialists are able to diagnose, assess, treat and prevent disorders and disabilities related to speech and language in children and adults (Thomas, 2017). Some of the most common speech and language disorders that an audiologist can treat are outlined below.

Speech disorders occur when a child or adult has trouble forming the correct sounds of speech due to genetics, trauma, or unknown causes. Stuttering and larynx problems are just two examples of speech disorders.

Language disorders refer to the inability to understand or interpret others, or the inability to express thoughts or feelings through speech and/or written language.

Social communication disorders are common in autism or traumatic brain injury. Difficulty communicating both verbally and non-verbally to express feelings in social situations is typical of social communication disorders.

Cognitive communication disorders: Problems organizing thoughts, paying attention to others, or remembering things when speaking are symptoms of a cognitive communication disorder that can be caused by traumatic brain injury, stroke, or the onset of dementia (Thomas, 2017).

Swallowing disorders – If the patient is having difficulty swallowing or eating after a stroke, possible injury, surgery, or simply after a serious illness they have recovered from, they may have a swallowing disorder (Thomas, 2017) .

Newborn Hearing Screening

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A speech therapist may also conduct and coordinate a newborn hearing screening program. Newborns are screened for profound or severe hearing loss soon after birth. In 1964, speech therapist Marion Downs found that the incidence rate of hearing loss in newborns was 1 in 1,000, indicating the need for early newborn hearing screening (Thomas, 2017). Upon further investigation, he found that the incidence rate was actually three times higher than his original determination (Thomas, 2017) when one included partial deafness and a lesser hearing loss.

Marion Downs has continued research into hearing loss in newborns and has developed non-invasive tests that even people without audiological training can use to screen for hearing loss. Soon after, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed universal screening programs that are now mandatory for newborns in almost every state.

The development of communication pathways in the brain is essential to language, whether verbal or non-verbal, such as B. Sign language. Understanding and practicing spoken, gestural or written language from an early age is essential for the proper development of the speech, auditory and speech brain areas (Thomas, 2017). The NIH has developed two types of tests for hearing loss in newborns: the automated auditory brainstem response test (ABR) and the otoacoustic emission test (OAE).

BAEP and OAE can be used individually or together to diagnose childhood hearing loss. Automated brainstem auditory response measures the average response recorded by a neuron in response to a repeated acoustic cue, and otoacoustic emission tests detect stimulation of cochlear cells in response to sound. Using only one testing method can allow an audiologist to miss certain issues, so in most cases they are used together for a more complete assessment.

Due to advances in newborn hearing screening, severe and profound hearing loss is now detected with an error rate of 0.5%, with the median age of hearing loss detection now being 2-3 months (Thomas, 2017). This resulted in a significant improvement in the language, social and emotional development of these children to normal levels, as remedial training and treatment were started early before 6 months of age (Thomas, 2017).

A brief history of audiology

The roots of clinical audiology go back to the early years of the 20th century, when “psychoacoustics” emerged as a branch of experimental psychology focused on the study of auditory perception (UNC, 2016). After World War II in the 1940s, audiology emerged as an essential profession, treating many returning soldiers with noise-induced hearing loss. The US government has established hearing rehabilitation programs in military hospitals across the country, where hearing aid fitting and hearing rehabilitation procedures have been standardized and implemented nationwide (UNC, 2016). Training programs were soon established at colleges and universities.

The field of audiology began to expand in the 1950's and 1960's with the advent of rehabilitation programs in community speech therapy. Speech therapists in ear, nose and throat clinics began conducting hearing tests. Audiological specialties and subspecialties began to develop in the 1970s and 1980s. These specialties include pediatric audiology, educational audiology, industrial audiology, cochlear implants, and vestibular function assessment (UNC, 2016). Over the past 20 years, private practice has been the fastest growing employment sector (UNC, 2016).

Since its inception in the 1920sºIn the early 20th century, the concept of audiology was based on measuring hearing ability and the impact of hearing loss on communication, social functioning, and interaction. Hearing aids have come a long way from early models with poor fidelity, high battery drain, and excessive size (UNC, 2016). Cochlear implants have brought great benefits to many patients who have not previously benefited from hearing aids. A cochlear implant electrically stimulates the auditory nerve to induce the signal needed to interpret sound and noise.

Technological advances have also enabled the development of tools to assess hearing loss. Auditory behavioral testing and physiological measurements to assess auditory function have led to the implementation of programs and tests for hearing loss in newborns.

A Brief History of Speech Therapy

Speech therapy has its roots in pronunciation (speech perfection) since the 18th century in England (UNC, 2017). In the 1800s, several books were published describing speech and speech defects, mostly related to stuttering or stuttering. In 1926 the American Academy of Speech Correction was founded.

Like audiology, speech therapy became a profession after World War II. Due to medical advances, more and more soldiers survived their injuries and now needed medical help to treat their injuries. The increase in traumatic brain injuries has led to increased brain damage leading to the loss of the ability to understand or express speech (aphasia), and the demand for speech therapists to identify, study, and treat this condition has led to the development of speech disorders guided. Speech pathology as a profession.

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The 1980s brought advances in linguistics that further improved the understanding and ability to treat language delays and disorders in children and adults. Even today, speech therapy examines and treats the pragmatic use of language and other communication disorders. Where appropriate, employers must implement and follow hearing loss preservation programs to ensure their employees are not affected by noise-induced hearing loss.

How to become a speech therapist

At least a master's degree is required to become a practicing speech-language pathologist, and he must be licensed by the state in which he wishes to practice. Many states require a doctorate degree in order to be licensed. Certification opportunities are not required, but are available and recommended for career advancement. Educational requirements include classroom courses, research, skills labs, and supervised clinical experiences (Study, 2017). Audiology candidates who are bilingual or have a working knowledge of sign language are considered more employable (Research, 2017).

A bachelor's degree can be obtained in any subject, although science or medicine are recommended. In an audiology master's degree, students learn about the anatomy of the ear and common hearing and balance disorders and communication disorders. You will learn the skills needed to assess and treat patients of different ages and mental states. Course topics may include auditory neuroscience, central auditory function, clinical practice, basic diagnostic audiology, and physics and acoustics for audiology (Study, 2017). A master's degree in audiology typically takes 2-3 years to complete.

An audiologist can be licensed with a master's degree, but can also choose to do their Au.D. o PhD in audiology. The doctoral program provides additional training and knowledge in audiology skills and specializations, including acoustics, pharmacology, psychology and physiology. Students gain hands-on knowledge of hearing aid fitting, fitting, and rehabilitation techniques. A specialization can also be explored in areas such as pediatric audiology. A PhD program in audiology may require courses in psychoacoustics, hearing diagnostics, rehabilitation audiology, and hearing conservation (Study, 2017). It usually takes 4 years to get an Au.D.

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) offers a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology, and the American Board of Audiology (ABA) also offers this certification as a voluntary option for licensed speech-language pathologists. Requirements for certification are education and supervised professional experience as well as passing an exam. Continuing education is also required and can be achieved by attending conferences and congresses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists a median annual salary of $77,420 with projected job growth from 20147-2024 of nearly 30%, which is much faster than average (Research, 2017). The BLS also states that the following skills are required to be a successful speech therapist: excellent bedside behavior, ability to communicate well with your patients despite possible hearing problems, compassion and patience to make the patient comfortable, critical thinking and problem solving . Problem solving skills and a detailed personality with excellent record keeping skills (Research, 2017).

Speech pathology is a profession that continues to grow and evolve as the population ages and continues to be exposed to excessive noise, whether at home or in the workplace. A speech therapist has multiple roles and responsibilities, regardless of their specialty or sub-specialty. Most licensed audiologists earn a doctorate in audiology and must be licensed by the state in which they wish to practice. A career as an audiologist is challenging and rewarding, allowing for a variety of experiences and flexibility in career opportunities. An audiologist may work with both children and adults, or specialize only in pediatric patients.


American Academy of Audiology (AAA). What is a speech therapist? Retrieved September 8, 2017 from:

Thomas, Liji. What does a speech therapist do? News Medical Life Science, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from:

Zahnert, Thomas. The differential diagnosis of hearing loss, German Arztebl Int. June 2011; 108(25): 433-444.

(AIHA, 2000) Noise Handbook – 5th Edition. Berger, EH, editor. American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2000.

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Learn. with. Speech therapist, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017 from:

University of North Carolina (UNC). A Brief History of Audiology, December 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2017 at:


What is the difference between an audiologist and a hearing specialist? ›

The Differences

Basically, a hearing aid specialist can test your hearing and fit you with a hearing aid. An audiologist can assess and diagnose a wider range of hearing and balance problems.

Do over 60s get free hearing tests? ›

You can get a free hearing test on the NHS. A GP may refer you to a hearing specialist (audiologist) who can do the test. It could take a few weeks to see a specialist so it might be quicker to get tested somewhere else, like at a large pharmacy or opticians. This is often free.

What are the 4 types of hearing loss? ›

While hearing loss can range from mild to profound, there are four classifications that all hearing losses fall under. The four types of hearing loss are sensorineural, conductive, mixed (sensorineural and conductive) and auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD).

Should I see an audiologist or ENT first? ›

This includes sinus infections, headaches and sleep apnea. So, if you think you have symptoms relating to any of these issues that connect to your hearing loss, an ENT will usually be the right point of call. You should probably also visit them before even bothering with an audiologist.

Should I go to an audiologist or ENT? ›

An ENT doctor will be able to carry out more comprehensive tests than an audiologist and will also be able to prescribe pharmaceutical treatments or perform surgery if your hearing loss is caused by calcified bones or benign tumors.

What causes hearing loss to get worse? ›

Hearing loss can get worse over several years. Loud noise. The blare of power tools, airplanes, or loud music on headphones, for example, can damage the hair cells in the cochlea. How much hearing you lose depends on the volume of the sound and how long you were around it.

Can anything improve hearing loss? ›

There is no medical or surgical treatment for hearing loss caused by noise. Damaged hair cells do not grow back. As much as possible, you should try to protect your hearing. If you do have hearing loss, you should take steps to keep it from getting worse.

Can an audiologist treat hearing loss? ›

Audiologists' services can help with managing issues effecting hearing and balance, including: Hearing Loss – Evaluate and treat hearing, balance, and tinnitus disorders.

Is an audiologist a real doctor? ›

An audiologist is a doctor that is a hearing healthcare professional that specializes in identifying, diagnosing, and treating issues with the auditory and vestibular areas of the ear. They most commonly deal with things like hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues.

Can an audiologist remove ear wax? ›

Audiologists have the professional tools for the job

In many cases, they'll use a vacuum to suck large globs of earwax out of your ear while also loosening any bits of earwax stuck to the sides of your ear. This provides a complete clean that is hygienic, performed by a professional, safe and ultimately fast.

Why would someone see an audiologist? ›

You should see an audiologist if you suspect that you may have a hearing loss. Common early signs of hearing loss include: Needing to turn the volume of the TV or radio up higher than other people would like. Difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise present.


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