Audiology (from Latin audīre, "to hear"; and from Greek -λογία, -logia) is a branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders. Its practitioners, who treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage are audiologists. Employing various testing strategies (e.g. hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, videonystagmography, and electrophysiologic tests), audiology aims to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range, and if not, which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected and to what degree. If an audiologist determines that a hearing loss or vestibular abnormality is present he or she will provide recommendations to a patient as to what options (e.g. hearing aid, cochlear implants, surgery, appropriate medical referrals) may be of assistance.
In addition to testing hearing, audiologists can also work with a wide range of clientele in rehabilitation (people with tinnitus, auditory processing disorders, users of cochlear implants and/or hearing aids), from pediatric populations to veterans and may perform assessment of tinnitus and the vestibular system.
Audiology is the science of hearing. Clinical audiologists are health care professionals who manage hearing and balance problems in people of all ages. Audiologists measure and evaluate a person's ability to hear sounds, test for middle ear disease, treat people with balance problems and fit hearing aids.
Audiologists often study and provide guidance for patients and families on the following topics:
- How language is learned and spoken
- Whether a hearing loss is affecting a child's ability to speak and learn
- The anatomy of the human ear, brain, and nerves
- Causes of hearing loss
- Rehabilitation related to the ear and hearing
- The use of hearing aids
- Lip reading and sign language techniques
Many audiologists hold a master's degree, and some hold a clinical doctorate degree in audiology. Audiologists are certified nationally through the American Speech Language Hearing Association (Certificate of Clinical Competence - Audiology, or CCC-A) or the American Academy of Audiology. Our audiologists are licensed by the State of Michigan.
In treating patients, audiologists often work on a team with ear, nose and throat physicians, as well as speech and language pathologists.