Audiologists use audiometers, computers, and other devices to test patients' hearing ability and balance, determine the extent of hearing damage, and identify the underlying cause. They typically do the following:
Audiologists measure the volume at which a person begins to hear sounds and the person's ability to distinguish between sounds. Also, before determining treatment options, they evaluate psychological information to measure the impact of hearing loss on a patient. Treatment options vary and may include cleaning wax out of ear canals, fitting and checking hearing aids, or fitting and programming the patient with cochlear implants to improve hearing. (Cochlear implants are tiny devices that are placed under the skin near the ear in an operation. Cochlear implants deliver electrical impulses directly to the auditory nerve in the brain so a person with certain types of deafness can hear.) Audiologists also counsel patients on other ways to cope with profound hearing loss, such as by learning to lip-read or use sign language. Some audiologists specialize in working with the elderly or with children. Others design products to help protect the hearing of workers on the job. Audiologists who are self-employed build a client base, hire employees, keep records, order equipment and supplies, and do other tasks related to running a business.