Audiology is the study of the ear, how it functions, and the effect of balance in the ear as well as diseases that affect the ear. The term audiology has its origins in two different languages, Latin and Greek. Professionals in this field are known as audiologists. There are different requirements in different parts of the world for one to study and practice audiology. The basic requirement for many, if not all countries is that one must have a Bachelors degree in Audiology. In some countries, the minimum requirement is a Masters degree from a recognized institution of higher learning.
An audiologist is someone who is trained and well versed with procedures in the field of audiology. They are trained to discern and diagnose hearing problems as well as providing treatment options that are available for the concerned individual. In some cases, they also provide management for people with balance problems in the ear. Hearing and balance are intertwined because that is the dual function of the ears. Failure of one aspect results in ear problems, hence the need to see an audiologist.
When one has advanced their career in audiology, they are in a position to dispense hearing aids. In some countries however, this comes along with stringent requirements as far as experience is concerned. This is because while one may have the theoretical knowledge as far as diagnosis and treatment is concerned, the practical aspects of recommending and dispensing hearing aids are a different ballgame altogether. In addition, prescribing the wrong hearing aids could have devastating results, both to the patient as well as to the family which offers a support system. In addition to the hearing aids, audiologists will also map cochlear implants.
The work of an audiologist spans beyond treatment. Audiologists also offer counseling services to families with kids who have ear problems. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to have to bear the news that your infant has been diagnosed with an ear problem. At this point the audiologists come in handy because they walk with the families of the concerned, teaching them how to cope with the sudden change of life. Support is also offered for families with senior citizens whose hearing is slowly worsening. On the corporate scene, audiologists design and carry out various programs targeted at offering programs aimed at promoting hearing safety programs. On special request, these programs may be offered at an individual level. There are also programs specially designed for schools which are facilitated by qualified audiologists. Lastly, audiologists also take part in research programs with the aim of coming up with more information.