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Job Profile: Educational Audiologist

Educational audiology is a sub-field of audiology. An educational audiologist helps students with audiological challenges. They work primarily in school settings and often travel from one school to another for a consistent work flow. The educational audiologist conducts audiological evaluations for students with hearing problems. He performs the evaluations with audiometers, computers and other technological means to determine the extent of the student’s auditory problems. The educational audiologist then develops methods of treatment and applies those treatments with the goal of facilitating the student’s ability to learn.

Aside from developing individual treatment plans for students with hearing challenges, they also manage classroom acoustics to promote learning. Many educational audiologists will instruct teachers on how to use FM’s in the appropriate manner. Oftentimes these recommendations to school staff prove to be more important to the student’s academic success than the assistance that is provided directly to the student himself.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational audiologists earn $69,720 per year. This equates to $33.52 per hour.

Beginning Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the entry level salary for the position is around $43,000.

Key Responsibilities

Educational audiologists recommend and institute programs for students for auditory rehabilitation. This helps students with peripheral hearing impairment and various auditory processing disorders. They deal with amplification options, classroom acoustics and other factors to help the student reach his full potential. They have the skills to implement specific strategies to help young people with hearing problems to improve their academic performance as well as their psychosocial needs. This often includes fitting the student for hearing aids and offering counseling to the student and his family. Oftentimes, they teach the student and his relatives methods of communication and listening skills like sign language and lip reading.

Necessary Skills

Educational audiologists will need superior communication skills to interact with students and their families. They’ll have to communicate diagnoses, treatment plans, test results and more. They have to express themselves in a manner that can be clearly understood by someone with poor hearing. They also have to be very compassionate and patient as they will be working with individuals who have poor hearing and are struggling to fit in at school. Educational audiologists also have to be critical thinkers. They must refine their problem solving skills to determine exactly what is causing the hearing issue and analyze the unique situation of each student. Then they’ll have to develop a treatment plan and devise alternative methods of treatment in case the first doesn’t work.

Degree and Education Requirements

Educational audiologists need to obtain a license in all states but specific requirements vary by state. To find out a certain state’s unique requirements, individuals should contact their state’s audiologist licensing board. Many educational audiologists also earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCCA) that is offered through the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Audiologists can also earn credentials through the American Board of Audiology. Certain employers and even some states require certification. All ASHA certified educational audiologists have a masters or a doctorate from an accredited academic program and they will have passed a standardized test given to prospective audiologists across the country.

Pros and Cons

Educational audiologists help young people who suffer from poor hearing. This can be an incredibly rewarding experience if they are able to successfully treat the individuals with auditory challenges. Instead of staring into a computer screen for hours on end, educational audiologists are able to work one on one with human beings. This can also be a frustrating experience. Helpings someone with poor hearing to learn subject matter is incredibly challenging and will test the patience of even the most skilled educational audiologist. Oftentimes it is emotionally taxing to watch a student struggle to learn material. Sometimes the position requires significant travel from school to school, to treat students with hearing issues throughout a region or state. While some educational audiologists view the opportunity to travel as a plus, many others view it as a negative.

Getting Started

Aside from the formal education route, aspiring educational audiologists can volunteer with children so that they develop their interpersonal skills with young people. They should spend time substitute teaching or providing some sort of assistance in a classroom environment so that they understand the intricacies of classroom learning and the teacher / student dynamic. Those who aspire to become educational audiologists can also spend some time on their own learning how to perform sign language and lip read. These are skills that people with hearing problems often have to learn in order to communicate effectively. Once they’ve learned the basics of signing and lip reading, they should consistently practice these skills to keep them fresh so that they can be utilized when opportunities arise in their professional careers.

Future Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the audiologist field is expected to increase by nearly 35% between 2012 and 2022. This is a faster rate of growth than most occupations. Since the field is such a small one, the growth will only create 4,000 new jobs over the decade long span referenced above. Part of the growth will be due to the early diagnosis of infant hearing disorders. Since young children are being tested more frequently for hearing problems, the increasing awareness of their challenges will boost the field’s employment numbers. Also, hearing devices are becoming much more commonly accepted as they shrink in size and have less feedback noise. Since more people are becoming more willing to wearing such a device, the need for audiologists will correspondingly increase.

Summary

Educational audiologists serve an important role in the lives of hearing challenged students. They facilitate the learning process and make the school environment much less frustrating for students who might feel like outcasts. The field is expected to grow far into the future as young people are diagnosed with hearing problems at much earlier ages.

For further reading: 50 Great Scholarships for Education and Teaching Degrees

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