Audiology (from Latin audīre, "to hear"; and from Greek -λογία, -logia) is a branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders.[1] Audiologists treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage. By employing various testing strategies (e.g. behavioral hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, and electrophysiologic tests), audiologists aim to determine whether someone has normal sensitivity to sounds. If hearing loss is identified, audiologists determine which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected, to what degree (severity of loss), and where the lesion causing the hearing loss is found (outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, auditory nerve and/or central nervous system). If an audiologist determines that a hearing loss or vestibular abnormality is present he or she will provide recommendations for interventions or rehabilitation (e.g. hearing aids, cochlear implants, appropriate medical referrals).

In addition to diagnosing audiologic and vestibular pathologies, audiologists can also specialize in rehabilitation of tinnitus, hyperacusis, misophonia, auditory processing disorders, cochlear implant use and/or hearing aid use. Audiologists can provide hearing health care from birth to end-of-life.


An audiologist is a health-care professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular systems. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing, tinnitus, or balance problems. They dispense, manage, and rehabilitate hearing aids and assess candidacy for and map cochlear implants. They counsel families through a new diagnosis of hearing loss in infants, and help teach coping and compensation skills to late-deafened adults. They also help design and implement personal and industrial hearing safety programs, newborn hearing screening programs,[2] school hearing screening programs, and provide special or custom fitted ear plugs and other hearing protection devices to help prevent hearing loss. Audiologists are trained to evaluate peripheral vestibular disorders originating from pathologies of the vestibular portion of the inner ear. They also provide treatment for certain vestibular and balance disorders such as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). In addition, many audiologists work as auditory or acoustic scientists in a research capacity.

Audiologists are trained in anatomy and physiology, hearing aids, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics and psychoacoustics, neurology, vestibular function and assessment, balance disorders, counseling and communication options such as sign language. Audiologists may also run a neonatal hearing screening program which has been made compulsory in many hospitals in US, UK and India. An Audiologist usually graduates with one of the following qualifications: MSc(Audiology), Au.D., STI, PhD, or ScD, depending the program and country attended.


The use of the terms "Audiology" and "Audiologist" in publications has been traced back only as far as 1946. The creator of the term remains unknown, but Berger[3] identified possible originators as Mayer BA Schier, Willard B Hargrave, Stanley Nowak, Norman Canfield, or Raymond Carhart. In a biographical profile by Robert Galambos, Hallowell Davis is credited with coining the term in the 1940s, saying the then-prevalent term "auricular training" sounded like a method of teaching people how to wiggle their ears.[4] the first US university course for audiologists was offered by Carhart at Northwestern University, in 1946.[5]

Audiology was born of interdisciplinary collaboration. The substantial prevalence of hearing loss observed in the veteran population after World War II inspired the creation of the field as it is known today. The International Society of Audiology (ISA) was founded in 1952 to “…facilitate the knowledge, protection and rehabilitation of human hearing” and to “…serve as an advocate for the profession and for the hearing impaired throughout the world.” It promotes interactions among national societies, associations and organizations that have similar missions, through the organization of a biannual world congresses, through the publication of the scientific peer-reviewed International Journal of Audiology[6] and by offering support to the World Health Organization's efforts towards addressing the needs of the hearing impaired and deaf community.



In Australia Audiologists must hold a Master of Audiology, Master of Clinical Audiology or Master of Audiology Studies or alternatively a bachelor's degree from overseas certified by the VETASSESS. Audiologists in Australia are not required to be a member of any professional body but to dispense hearing aids to eligible pensioners and eligible war veterans as part of the Office of Hearing Services program an Audiologist must hold a practitioner number which is obtained by obtaining a certificate of clinical practice (or equivalent) and be registered with an approved body such as Audiology Australia (AudA) or the Australian College of Audiology (ACAud). A minimum of one year of supervised practice and professional development is required post qualification to obtain this. In Australia, by general definition an 'Audiologist' - is a University graduate with postgraduate qualifications in Audiology or equivalent training. Audiologists have broad responsibilities and expertise in all non-medical areas of hearing services including complex hearing assessment and rehabilitation of hearing impairment (which includes hearing aid prescription, fitting and management). An 'Audiometrist' - has completed a TAFE Certificate Course in hearing aid audiometry and/or received in-house training from the hearing aid industry.

Audiology Australia via The Code of Ethics and the Practice Standards, governs the professional practice of audiology for members of Audiology Australia. To meet these high standards Members undertake professional development to enable them to maintain appropriate skills and learning in their areas of professional practice. The purpose of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program is to provide a structure that enables members to formally document the ways in which they manage and extend their professional skills and knowledge. The Audiology Australia CPD program provides recognition and encouragement for the continuing participation of the members in high quality professional development. The CPD program enable members to demonstrate to external stakeholders (clients, employers, government, the community and other professional groups) their commitment to the highest standards of professional competence for Audiologists. The CPD program is focused on maintaining a high quality practice of audiology and is tied to the Certificate of Clinical Practice (CCP). Audiology Australia members who are not engaged in clinical practice are not required to formally document their CPD and will not be issued with a Certificate of Clinical Practice. ACAud Members are required to demonstrate their professional competence and are assessed against ACAud's Professional Competency Standards. Recognised Competencies are shown on a Member's Certificate of Competency that is prominently displayed in the Member's clinic and renewed annually.

There are six Universities in Australia that offer graduate programs (via course work and/or research degrees) in Audiology for local and overseas students. All programs offered are recognised as eligible for membership of the Society - Audiology Australia and the International Society of Audiology (ISA).


In Brazil, audiology training is part of speech pathology and audiology undergraduate, four-year courses. The University of São Paulo was the first university to offer a bachelor's degree, and it started operations in 1977. At the federal level, the recognition of the educational programs and the profession of speech pathologist and audiologist took place on December 9, 1981, signed by the then President João Figueiredo (Law n ° 6965). The terms  "audiology " and  "audiologist " can be tracked in Brazilian publications since 1946. The work of Audiologists in Brazil was described in 2007.[11] Professional practice takes place in various types of institutions, such as private institutions (private medical clinics and clinics dedicated to speech and hearing), and in a wide range of public institutions, including community clinics, primary schools, colleges and universities. Both in the private sector and in health clinics, audiologists perform diagnostic assessments of auditory and vestibular disorders, select and adjust hearing aids and provide speech therapy for the habilitation and rehabilitation Aids. At the public level, they also contribute to workers ' health programs, dispense hearing aids and auditory rehabilitation. In Brazil, the Federal Council of Speech-language pathology and Audiology identifies the courses of higher education by region of the country and also identifies the curricular guidelines for such programs. See also


In Canada, a Masters of Science (M.Sc.) is the minimum requirement to practice Audiology in the country. The profession is regulated in certain provinces: New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, where it is illegal to practice without being registered as a full member in the appropriate provincial regulatory body.[12]

There are currently five universities in Canada which offer graduate programs in Audiology. Entry requirements typically include specific prerequisite course work in undergraduate studies (usually in phonetics, phonology, acoustics, developmental psychology, perception, anatomy, statistics, physics and research methods) or an additional preparatory year prior to entry into the program and a competitive GPA in the bachelor's degree. The following universities offer the MSc in audiology:


There is only one institute in Bangladesh offering BSc (Hons) in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology.

Course Duration: 5 Years (4 years course work and 1-year internship)


The Government of India established the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, which has become the country's leading Institute in the field of communication disorders since 1966. The second Audiology & Speech Language Therapy program was started in the same year, at T.N.Medical College and BYL Nair Ch.Hospital in Mumbai. There are currently 20 Universities in India which provide Speech Pathology and Audiology programs. These programs are accredited by Rehabilitation Council of India.

To practice audiology, professionals need to have either Bachelors/Master's degree in Audiology and be registered with Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). Indian speech and hearing association (ISHA) is a professional platform of the audiologist and speech language pathologists where annual conferences are held. The educational institutions awarding degrees need to attain recognition from RCI. Presently there are around 70 institutions which offer at least a graduate degree in the field (BASLP). Approximately 20 colleges offer higher degrees such as MASLP, M.Sc Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. Few such eminent institutions in Northern India are Guru Gobind Singh Medical College located in Faridkot of Punjab, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh; Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai in western India and many more. There are nearly 1000 or more private clinics in India providing speech and hearing services.

An internationally recognized degree, unique multilingual/multicultural background, excellent communication in English has increased the global demand of Indian Audiologists considering the shortage of these graduates especially in western countries. However, in recent times, the profession has been plagued by introduction of short term diploma programs which has resulted in dilution of services particularly in hearing aid dispensing and there have been mass protests by speech and hearing fraternity to stop such courses and curb malpractices.[14]


There are only 3 Malaysian educational institutions offering degrees in Audiology:

  • University Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • University Science Malaysia
  • International Islamic University Malaysia

United Kingdom

There are currently five routes to becoming a Registered Audiologist:

  • FdSc in Hearing aid Audiology
  • BSc in Audiology
  • MSc in Audiology
  • Fast track conversion Diploma for those with a BSc in another relevant science subject, available at Southampton, Manchester, UCL, London and Edinburgh
  • BSc(Hons) in Clinical Physiology (Audiology) available at Glasgow Caledonian University. All applicants must be NHS employees.

There are 10 United Kingdom educational institutions offering degrees in Audiology:

United States

In the United States, audiologists are regulated by state licensure or registration in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Starting in 2007, the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) became the entry-level degree for clinical practice for some states, with most states expected to follow this requirement very soon, as there are no longer any professional programs in audiology which offer the master's degree. Minimum requirements for the Au.D. degree include a minimum of 75 semester hours of post-baccalaureate study, meeting prescribed competencies, passing a national exam offered by Praxis Series of the Educational Testing Service, and practicum experience that is equivalent to a minimum of 12 months of full-time, supervised experience. Most states have continuing education renewal requirements that must be met to stay licensed. Audiologists can also earn a certificate from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or seek board certification through the American Board of Audiology (ABA). Currently, there are over 70 Au.D. programs in the United States:

Distance Au.D. Programs:

Residential Au.D. Programs:

In the past, audiologists have typically held a master's degree and the appropriate healthcare license. However, in the 1990s the profession began to transition to a doctoral level as a minimal requirement. In the United States, starting in 2007, audiologists were required to receive a doctoral degree (Au.D. or Ph.D.) in audiology from an accredited university graduate or professional program before practicing.[15] All states require licensing, and audiologists may also carry national board certification from the American Board of Audiology or a certificate of clinical competence in audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Audiologists are autonomous practitioners and do not need physician orders or supervision. However, many audiologists work in doctor's office and hospitals. The median salary for an audiologist in the United States is approximately $65,500 in 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Audiologists who earn over $98,880 (top ten percentile) per annum typically have their own private practice.


The exercise of audiologist profession in Portugal necessarily imply the qualifications Degree in Audiology or legally equivalent as defined in Decree-Law 320/99 of August 11 Article 4.

At present, the degree in Audiology is administered in two Schools:

- Health Technology School of Coimbra - Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra;

- School of Health Sciences - Polytechnic Institute of Porto.

In Portugal, research in Audiology is still undeveloped. Most work in this area is mainly on standardization and noise. At this time students of Audiology Colleges may have relevant a role in this area as well as the professionals who attend master's degree and Doctorates degree.

See also


  1. Gelfand, Stanley A. (2009). Essentials of Audiology (3 ed.). New York: Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. p. ix. ISBN 978-1-60406-044-7. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  2. "Your Baby's Hearing Screening". NIDCD. 2017-06-19. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  3. Berger, KW (1976). "Genealogy of the words "audiology" and "audiologist"". Journal of the American Audiology Society. 2 (2): 38–44. PMID 789309.
  4. "Hallowell Davis (1896—1992)" (PDF). A Biographical Memoir by Robert Galambos (National Academy of Sciences). Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  5. Raymond Carhart (1912-1975) Papers, 1938-1975. Northwestern University Archives, Evanston, Illinois. Accessed 2006-07-31.
  6. Bamford, John (10 December 2001). "Editorial -Sound, British Journal of Audiology, International Journal of Audiology". British Journal of Audiology. 35 (6): 327–328. doi:10.1080/00305364.2001.11745250. ISSN 0300-5364.
  7. "Master of Clinical Audiology". Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  8. "Master of Audiology". Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  9. "Audiology Research - Linguistics". Archived from the original on 2014-04-05. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  10. "Audiology - School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences". Archived from the original on 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  11. Bevilacqua, Maria Cecilia; Novaes, Beatriz Caiuby; Morata, Thais C. (2008-01-01). "Audiology in Brazil". International Journal of Audiology. 47 (2): 45–50. doi:10.1080/14992020701770843. ISSN 1499-2027.
  12. "CICIC::Information for foreign-trained audiologists and speech-language pathologists". Occupational profiles for selected trades and professions.
  13. "Admission Procedure".
  14. "AuD Facts | Audiology". Retrieved 2016-09-18.
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