How to Find the Best Audiology And Training

<P>Audiology is one of the medical sciences; its practitioners study hearing and the disorders of the human ear, all of which can affect speech, sense of balance and, of course, communication.  The most common disorder afflicting individuals is hearing loss, so the medical professional (called an audiologist) will always test a patient for hearing (using audiometers, which determine frequencies at which the patients hearing is affected) and then diagnose loss and range of hearing impairment so he/she can recommend and administer treatment.  </P> <P>Numerous therapies are available to the specialist in audiology, including hearing aids (typically these are fitted inside or behind the patients ear) which amplify/modulate sound waves for the patient, and cochlear implants, which are electronic hearing amplifiers that are surgically inserted in the patients ear drum.  The former are removable, and usually worn at the patients discretion; the latter are permanent implants that are usually employed for patients with higher or more profound conditions of hearing loss.  </P> <P>The audiologist must be a specialist and expert not only in the structure of the human ear, also known as the auditory system, but also the vestibular system inside, which affects the sense of balance.  In addition, the specialist in audiology must be sufficiently informed about the newest technological advances in hearing aids and implants, in order to design and implement both personal and workplace safety programs.  These maintain hearing potential and reduce hearing loss in an individual patient, or they create safe and sound-modified environments for workers in high-risk areas (those next to loud noises because of their factory, musical or munitions vocations).  </P> <P>Audiology programs first began at the close of World War II, when veterans returning from shell-riddled environments needed assistance in dealing with the profound hearing loss they had suffered; from that point in history, audiology became a national health vocation.  University courses in audiologist training began to be offered in the late 40s and early 50s, and the popularity and strength of the practice has grown steadily from that point, as more and more individuals find themselves suffering hearing loss in war, in factories or in continuously loud urban settings (New York residents seem particularly susceptible to auditory noise damage, for example).   </P> <P>Audiology programs in the United States created the entry level degree of Au. D., Doctor of Audiology, for medical students, who wish to specialize in this field.  </P> <P>The typical training for a medical student who intends to pursue a career as an audiologist is fairly intense, and, like all medical degrees, should be prepared for early in life.  The budding medical student and specialist must be proficient in Math and the Sciences as early as high school; later, in an accredited pre-medical college, he/she will learn medical ethics and accelerated program work in the field selected.  </P> <P>Internships are usually the largest part of any audiologists training, as at least 4000 supervised clinical hours must be completed in a medical facility or outreach before the degree is awarded; in addition, at least 75 semester hours consisting of post-baccalaureate audiologist-centered studies are a minimum requirement for the Au.D.   </P> <P>Finally, to obtain certification, the budding audiologist must complete the Praxis national exam, as well as a year of practicum clinical practice devoted exclusively to audiologist/patient cases.  Most states require continuous education in the specialist field in order to renew audiologist certification, as well as certification from the ASLHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association); one can also seek board certification through the auspices of the ABA (American Board of Audiology).  Finally, the specialist must obtain a license to dispense hearing aids. </P> <P>There are some 70 programs of study currently in the US for the Au.D. degree, from Arizona State to Western Michigan University, and numerous courses are available online to assist the specialist in Audiology in beginning his/her studies in the field of auditory and vestibular science.</P>

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