A Career in Audiology
Why Should I choose a Career in Audiology
Audiology is a small and relatively unknown profession. In New Zealand we have approximately 150 fully qualified audiologists, working in a range of settings in the public, private and educational sectors, as well as in research. Audiologists are allied with Deaf Education and with medical specialists in the field of Ear, Nose, and Throat medicine. A deeply rewarding profession, Audiology blends the knowledge and application of science, technology and health care. Audiology was listed by US News and World Report as one of the top career choices of 2008.
To communicate is the essence of the human experience but hearing loss is an invisible barrier to communication. It can present as anything from mild to profound in degree and can impact a life on a scale from minimal to catastrophic. Frustration, social isolation and misunderstanding are the hallmarks of hearing impairment. The audiologist steps into the middle of these dynamics. Their role is to identify and quantify the hearing impairment, plan a pathway of rehabilitation, and guide the hearing impaired person to an improved quality of life.
To work with children is to take on many challenges, using all the accumulated skills - diagnostic and counseling - of the Masters degree training and practical experience. Using objective (electro-physiologic) and subjective (behavioural) test measures, the audiologist gathers accurate information on the child's hearing loss and their amplification needs. The audiologist is part of a team of medical and educational professionals, all seeking to maximise the potential of the child from the earliest age and spanning over the entire childhood experience. We are bearers of difficult news for parents, coming alongside them in their grieving but celebrating with them in the child's accomplishments over the years. The reward is to see the smile of delight and the look of wonder on the face of a child who hears for the first time. Magical.
Adults present their own varied challenges to the audiologist. To be a good listener is a prerequisite to finding effective solutions. The technology of hearing aids today is astounding, and is only improving. Digital signal processing advances mean better fidelity of sound in challenging listening environments, all delivered within smaller, more discreet packaging that breaks down the stigma of wearing hearing aids. But technology is not always the easy answer. The psychosocial nature of hearing impairment is loaded with denial, embarrassment, and social withdrawal. The rehabilitation pathway includes counsel and support to the hearing impaired and to their loved ones.
Today's audiogist is equipped with knowledge of the physiology of hearing, the psychology of hearing loss, the technology of hearing aids and the qualitative outcome of rehabilitation. They have the privilege of changing lives for the better. Job opportunities abound in New Zealand. Small wonder it is considered a leading career choice in this country and all round the world.