An audiologist is a specially trained medical professional who is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. Hearing aid audiologists focus on transitioning patients from hearing impairment to successful use of a hearing device. To become a hearing aid audiologist, it is necessary to complete a graduate degree in audiology, receive professional training and obtain a license to practice in the field.
Education is the foundation of a career in hearing aid audiology. Requirements for undergraduate university training vary by region, but most students enter an audiology program after studying science, linguistics or psychology. Completion of a two-year master's degree or four-year doctoral program in audiology is the standard advanced education requirement for the field.
To become a hearing aid audiologist, students must be prepared for long-term medical training, including both practical and academic instruction. Most audiology programs require completion of a minimum number of clinical training hours before graduation. In some cases, postgraduate clinical work also is required prior to taking a certification exam. This practical training helps students become familiar with a professional audiology work setting and provides a glimpse into the day-to-day responsibilities of a hearing aid audiologist.
When training is complete, audiology graduates must apply for certification or licensing as a hearing aid audiologist. Certification requirements for the profession vary from country to country, but as a rule, it is necessary to pass a professional examination. Some audiology professionals will then need to renew their certification every few years to stay in practice.
The path to a career in audiology does not end with certification and licensing. Anyone who wants to become a hearing aid audiologist should be aware that continuing education is necessary to stay up to date with developments in the field. Audiologists who want to focus on improving hearing aid technology and helping patients adapt to hearing aid devices can benefit from advanced training in electronics and hearing prosthetics. Studying sign language also can improve communication with hearing-impaired patients and will be a useful tool for anyone hoping to have a future as a hearing aid audiologist.
The career outlook for hearing aid audiologists remains positive. Audiology is a rapidly growing field, and advances in hearing aid technology have translated to a growing need for audiology professionals. The career path is difficult, but individuals who decide to become a hearing aid audiologist will be able to seek employment in a variety of professional settings, including hearing aid centers, hospital-affiliated audiology programs and private audiology practices.