An audiologist is a qualified health specialist with an expertise in hearing defects, communication impairments and balance issues. Audiologists conduct tests to determine hearing efficiency as well as to identify the root causes of hearing problems. They work in hospitals, community health centres, private practices or in universities as healthcare research assistants in the development of new technologies. But is an audiologist considered to be a doctor? How many years does it take to gain all the necessary qualifications?
How Many Years Does it Take to be an Audiologist
It will take at least six years to gain the necessary qualifications to become an audiologist. Someone aspiring to be an audiologist will need to complete 5 years of university study, comprising of a relevant bachelor’s degree such as a bachelor of science or bachelor of biomedicine, as well as a 2 year masters in clinical audiology. A Bachelor of Arts majoring in linguistics or psychology will also suffice. Different universities will have different prerequisites and entry requirements. On top of that, a one year clinical internship with an accredited member of audiology Australia with an accreditation renewal necessary every 12 months. Renewal is achieved through demonstration of professional development which can include attending conferences, seminars, training courses, study and research.
Is an Audiologist a Doctor?
Yes and no. Audiologists work very closely with medical practitioners specialising in ear, nose and throat disorders but they aren’t considered to be medical doctors as they are not trained in medicine and surgery. Unlike an otolaryngologist, who are physicians who specialise in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ears, nose, mouth and throat, audiologists are considered to be ‘hearing’ doctors. Most audiologists would have completed a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree or any other doctoral degree in the field which makes them doctors in another sense.
So what’s the difference? While there is some overlap in their practice, there are major differences. Audiologists treat hearing and balance issues, typically through non-invasive methods, primarily fitting hearing aids and following up with finetuning them for patients. However, they also clean wax from ear canals and are able to insert cochlear implants, much like ENT physicians. Otolaryngologists have a wider scope of practice and primarily use medical and surgical methods.
Hearing specialists spend a number of years gaining accreditation and can be relied on for hearing related problems. If you notice your hearing getting worse, consider making an appointment to see an audiologist. An audiologist will be able to carry out thorough hearing tests and offer relevant advice to assist with improving your quality of life. At the Art of Hearing, our team of experienced and trained audiologists are dedicated to helping our patients achieve the best quality of life with proper diagnosis and treatment plans. We provide unbiased product knowledge and extensive follow up care for all our patients. If you’re looking for audiologists Perth, then call us at (08) 9390 8811 or book an appointment on our website.