Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated November 2010
Since hearing is one of the most important of the human senses, audiology (the study of sound and hearing) will always be an integral branch of science. And that means it’ll also be ripe with job possibilities.
Audiology curriculums attract graduate students interested in helping people who suffer from the various types and degrees of hearing loss. Whereas many sciences that explore the disorders from which humans suffer tend to take a medical approach, students in audiology courses learn to manage hearing loss without the use of medication or surgery.
Audiology graduate curriculums teach students about normal and impaired hearing and balance, in an effort to work toward hearing loss prevention. Courses in audiology prepare students to identify and assess hearing loss, and recommend rehabilitation for patients with hearing or balance disorders. To accomplish this, students must take courses in fields such as anatomy, physiology, science, mathematics and communications.
Graduate courses in audiology will provide students with knowledge of the different types of deafness, and they may focus on such audiology concentrations as:
- Social deafness
- Medico-legal deafness
- Educational deafness
- Cultural deafness
Students may also choose audiology concentrations in which they will center their studies on rehabilitation, or working with children or the elderly. Regardless of concentration, audiology graduate curriculums will prepare students to determine the degree of hearing loss and the audiometric configuration of that hearing loss. This requires knowledge of the outer, middle and inner ear, the auditory nerve, brainstem and cortex.
While students are free to choose an audiology concentration, all students in audiology curriculums will be required to take certain core classes. Core audiology courses include physics, genetics, communication development and pharmacology. Additional audiology courses most students must take include peripheral and central hearing loss assessment and treatment, and auditory, balance and neural systems assessment and treatment.
Sound measurement and waves are very important to the study of an audiology curriculum. Students will take audiology courses that teach them to measure sound levels and to use the equipment necessary to do so. They will also learn to conduct such tuning fork tests as the Schwahach, Rinne, Bing and Weber tests.
Other topics covered by audiology courses may include speech-reading training, hearing aid orientation and auditory perceptual training. Audiology graduate courses equip students with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to enhance their interpersonal, communication, interpretive, diagnostic and objectivity skills. Once students earn a Masters or PhD degree in audiology, they will be ready for the next chapter of their journey to becoming audiology professionals.
Careers in audiology
In order to enter audiology careers, students will need to gain state certification in addition to earning a Masters or PhD degree in audiology. Students may opt to also obtain the Certification of Clinical Competence in Audiology from the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC), which is part of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).
Graduates with a Masters or PhD degree in audiology will find that there is great opportunity in audiology careers. After all, we are an aging society these days, and as the baby boomer generation approaches retirement age, audiologists will be kept busy for years treating hearing loss and balance disorders.
Audiology careers can be found in many different settings, including educational institutions, hospitals, community and private clinics, assisted-living facilities and more. Some students may go on to audiology careers with local, state or federal governments. According to ASHA, about 71 percent of audiology curriculum graduates work in hospitals, while about 17 percent work at educational facilities. Of that 17 percent, it is estimated that about nine percent work in schools and about eight percent work in colleges and universities.
The average annual salary of an audiologist is nearly $64,000. Audiology careers in medical offices tend to command an average of $60,000 per year, while other health offices can average an annual salary of $70,000. Those who enter audiology careers at hospitals can expect to take home about $64,000 a year. Meanwhile, those who work at outpatient care centers may earn about $68,000 annually.
Audiology careers in elementary and secondary schools can earn a graduate with a Masters or PhD degree in audiology an annual salary of $61,000. Audiology professors at colleges and universities can earn an average of $73,000 per year, while PhD degree holders can also go in to audiology careers as researchers and make about $81,000 annually.
Careers in audiology are extremely rewarding. They are also exciting due to the advances being made in the field by audiology leaders around the world. Audiology provides an opportunity to work on the cutting-edge of science while helping people and enhancing quality of life in the process.
Check out: Audiology Graduate Programs