Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat patients who have hearing, balance, or related problems.


Audiologists typically do the following:

  • Examine patients who have conditions related to the outer, middle, or inner ear
  • Assess the results of the examination and diagnose problems
  • Create treatment plans to meet patients’ goals
  • Provide care for routine procedures, such as testing
  • Fit and dispense hearing aids and other assistive listening devices
  • Counsel patients and their families on ways to listen and communicate, such as by lip reading or through technology
  • Evaluate patients regularly to monitor their condition and modify treatment plans, as needed
  • Record patient progress
  • Research the causes and treatment of hearing and balance disorders
  • Educate patients on ways to prevent hearing loss

Audiologists diagnose conditions such as hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ear). They use a variety of devices to identify the extent and underlying cause of hearing loss. For example, with audiometers they measure the volume and frequency at which a person hears.

Treatment depends on the type and severity of a patient’s hearing loss and may range from cleaning wax out of ear canals to fitting and checking hearing aids. (Audiologists’ ability to diagnose as well as treat patients distinguishes their work from that of hearing aid specialists.) Audiologists work with physicians and surgeons treating patients whose hearing may be improved with cochlear implants, small devices that are surgically embedded near the ear to deliver electrical impulses to the auditory nerve.

Audiologists also counsel patients and their families on adapting to hearing loss, such as through use of technology, and may refer them to resources and other support.

In addition to their work related to hearing conditions, audiologists help patients who have vertigo or other balance problems. For example, they may demonstrate exercises involving head movement or positioning to relieve some symptoms.

Some audiologists work with specific age groups, such as older adults or children. Other audiologists may fit patients for products that help protect their hearing on the job.

Work Environment

Audiologists held about 14,600 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of audiologists were as follows:

Offices of physicians 28%
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists      22
Hospitals; state, local, and private 13
Educational services; state, local, and private 10

Some audiologists, such as those contracted by a school system, travel between multiple facilities. Audiologists may work closely with other healthcare specialists, including audiology assistants (a type of medical assistant), physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and speech-language pathologists.

Work Schedules

Most audiologists work full time. Some work weekends and evenings to meet patients' needs.

Education and Training

Audiologists typically need a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree to enter the occupation. All states require audiologists to be licensed.


Audiologists need a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree, which typically takes 4 years to complete. To enter an Au.D. program, students need a bachelor’s degree.

Au.D. coursework includes anatomy and physiology, diagnosis and treatment, and statistics. Students also complete supervised clinical practice.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Audiologists must be licensed in all states. Requirements vary by state but typically include having earned an Au.D. from an accredited program. For specific requirements, contact your state’s licensing board for audiologists.

Audiologists may earn other credentials, such as certificates or certifications offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Board of Audiology. These credentials usually require completion of an accredited doctor of audiology program and passing an exam. Some employers may require or prefer that candidates have certification or a certificate, and in some states having the credential can help to meet licensure requirements.

Personality and Interests

Audiologists typically have an interest in the Thinking and Helping interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Helping interest which might fit with a career as a audiologist, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Audiologists should also possess the following specific qualities:

Communication skills. Audiologists need to communicate test results, diagnoses, and proposed treatments, so patients clearly understand the situation and options. They also may need to work with other healthcare providers and education specialists regarding patient care.

Compassion. Audiologists work with people who are having problems with hearing or balance. They should be supportive of patients and their families.

Critical-thinking skills. Audiologists must concentrate when testing a patient’s hearing and be able to analyze each patient's situation, to offer the best treatment. They must also be able to provide alternative plans, when patients do not respond to initial treatment. 

Patience. Audiologists must work with patients who may need a lot of time and special attention.

Problem-solving skills. Audiologists must figure out the causes of problems with hearing and balance and the appropriate treatment or treatments to address them.


The median annual wage for audiologists was $78,950 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $58,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $120,210.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for audiologists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $94,690
Educational services; state, local, and private 79,170
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists      78,070
Offices of physicians 78,070

Most audiologists work full time. Some may work weekends and evenings to meet patients’ needs. Those who work on a contract basis may spend time traveling between facilities.

Job Outlook

Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 800 openings for audiologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Because health problems are prevalent in older age groups, an aging baby-boom population will continue to increase the demand for most healthcare services. This includes hearing loss and balance disorders, with larger numbers of older people creating increased demand for audiologists.

The early identification and diagnosis of hearing disorders in infants also may support employment growth. Growing awareness regarding advances in hearing aid technology, such as smaller size and reduced feedback, may make such devices more appealing as a means to treat auditory loss. This may lead to more demand for audiologists.

For More Information

For more information on state-specific licensing requirements, contact the state’s licensing board.

For more information about audiologists, including requirements for certification and state licensure, visit

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

American Academy of Audiology

For more information about accredited audiology programs, visit

Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE)

Council on Academic Accreditation




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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