Comparing Audiologists to Audiometrists
People who struggle with hearing loss rely on audiologists and audiometrists to help them improve their quality of life. While both audiologists and audiometrists work with patients to address issues associated with hearing loss, the specific responsibilities of these two careers are different. The following article will provide more information about the similarities and differences between these jobs.
|Job Title||Educational Requirements||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Audiometrist||Associate's degree||$50,250||27% (for all hearing aid specialists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Responsibilities of Audiologists vs. Audiometrists
Audiologists and audiometrists both assist patients with hearing problems. They may work in hospitals, doctors' offices, schools, or independent hearing clinics. Audiologists are doctors who are licensed to diagnose and treat a variety of ear problems; audiometrists are mainly responsible for administering hearing tests. While audiologists are qualified to perform many of the same technical and administrative duties as audiometrists, audiometrists must always work under the supervision of a certified audiologist.
An audiologist is a doctor who has been trained and certified to provide a variety of diagnostic and treatment services to patients experiencing hearing loss, vertigo, tinnitus, and other ear problems. They may choose to specialize in specific patient populations, such as children, the elderly, or those with profound hearing loss or deafness. In addition to treating ear problems, audiologists often educate patients on ways to minimize discomfort and improve communication despite hearing loss. Audiologists must have excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to collaborate with other medical professionals and to show compassion to patients who may be extremely frustrated by the effects of their hearing loss.
Job responsibilities of an audiologist include:
- Using computers, specialized equipment, electronic instruments, and other devices to examine patients
- Administering treatment for ear problems, including cleaning ear canals, prescribing medications, or recommending assistive devices like cochlear implants
- Working with speech-language pathologists, psychologists, physical therapists, physicians, and other professionals to develop comprehensive treatment plans for patients with serious hearing and balance problems
- Educating patients on ways to protect hearing, limit hearing loss, improve communication, and prevent further damage or impairment
- Monitoring patients with assistive devices and making adjustments as needed to ensure effectiveness
Audiometrists are primarily responsible for conducting hearing tests and fitting patients with hearing aids under the supervision of a licensed audiologist. Using specialized audiology equipment, audiometrists can assist with a variety of procedures and measurements that can help audiologists determine the severity of a patient's hearing loss. Audiometrists make sure a patient's hearing aids are properly fitted and comfortable, and are also responsible for helping patients understand how to safely operate and maintain their devices. Since many audiometrists must make recommendations to patients regarding hearing aids, communication skills and previous sales experience are important for anyone considering this career.
Job responsibilities of an audiometrist include:
- Creating molds and impressions of patients' ears to ensure proper fit of hearing aids
- Maintaining up-to-date state licensure, which may include participation in continuing education programs or professional conferences
- Conducting follow-up exams and periodic warranty checks on devices
- Performing repairs on hearing aids
- Using computer software to correctly program hearing aids and make adjustments as needed
If you are interested in a career as an audiologist, you may want to consider a job as a speech-language pathologist, as both of these careers involve diagnosing and helping patients learn to overcome disorders that impact communication. Those considering a career as an audiometrist may also be interested in becoming a physical therapy aide, who assists physical therapists in assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients with a variety of physical injuries or impairments.