Although undergraduate courses exist, audiologist courses are typically found in graduate degree programs because this specialized profession requires the completion of a doctoral program in audiology. The most common degree available is the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D), although some Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs do exist for those who'd rather do research than practice audiology in the healthcare industry. Au.D. programs need to have accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in order for their graduates to be able to pursue the state licensure required to practice as an audiologist.
During the first three years of an Au.D. program, students participate in several practical labs and internship rotations, with courses in acoustical science, amplification, audiologist equipment and auditory anatomy. The last year of the program usually consists entirely of a full-time externship at a healthcare facility. Common topics may include the following:
- Hearing aids
- Speech defects
- Bone structure
- Balance issues
- Rehabilitation plans
List of Courses
Audiology and Acoustical Science
This course provides information on the properties of sound, including how sound is produced and how it moves and changes. Students learn to measure sound frequency and intensity. Psychoacoustics, the study of how humans perceive the sounds they hear, is introduced in this course. This course is taken in the first year of graduate study.
Audiologists use specialized diagnostic equipment to test and treat hearing problems. Safe use and calibration of instruments is taught in this clinical course. Electrophysiological diagnostic equipment--electronic instruments used in measuring brain impulses to estimate hearing levels--may be demonstrated for use in newborns and developmentally delayed children. This course can be completed in the first year of study.
Amplification is used to enhance and clarify sound for patients who have suffered from hearing loss. Amplification devices, including hearing aids, are surveyed in this course. Students learn to evaluate patients to assess the best device to meet their unique needs. This course may be completed in the first year of study.
In this anatomy course, aspiring audiologists learn to locate and name the parts of the auditory (hearing) and the vestibular (balance) systems. Beginning with the pinna (the outer ear), the auditory system is broken down into bones, canals and structures through to the cochlea, which houses the auditory nerve and reports hearing to the brain. The vestibular mechanism for regulating balance is identified. This graduate course is typically completed in the second year of study.
Pediatric Audiology Training
Pediatric audiologists specialize in diagnosing hearing and balance issues in children. In this course, students discuss the development of the human auditory system and learn to evaluate hearing and speech problems in babies, toddlers and children. This course is intended for audiology students who plan to work with youth, and can be taken near the end of a graduate degree in audiology.
Pharmacology for Audiologists
The side effect of some medications can be hearing loss. Students learn what medications and drug interactions may cause side effects that result in hearing loss and balance disorders. Understanding the cause of the hearing impairment can help audiologists construct treatment and rehabilitation plans for patients. This is an advanced course.