Ask the Audiologist: Why Did You Become an Audiologist?
I didn’t know about the existence of audiology until my friend in undergraduate school chose to pursue it. As I found out more and more about the profession, the more attractive it became. And I’m not the only one who thinks this is a great job.
In fact, audiology has been consistently rated one of the top US jobs in recent years. CareerCast.com, an online resource for job seekers, named audiologist as the #2 job on its list of “Best Jobs of 2015.” In 2016, Forbes named audiologist as the best job in the healthcare industry, beating out other professions like biomedical engineering and pharmacology.
According to the American Academy of Audiology, audiologists are the primary healthcare professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children in a variety of settings. Here are some of the reasons that attract people like me to become audiologists.
Audiology offers job security
Though it necessitates an investment of years to receive an education and attain a doctorate of Audiology (AuD), audiology is a rewarding and comparatively secure career. Furthermore, with an increasing number of Americans aging and requiring hearing and balance care, the job market outlook is excellent for audiologists in the foreseeable future.
Audiology offers job flexibility
Newly minted audiologists have a wide variety of work environments to choose from. Not surprisingly, a majority work in traditional healthcare facilities ranging from private practices and clinics to hospitals. Audiologists are also found in schools working with children, in operating rooms monitoring neural activity during surgeries, in the military and commercial industries ensuring hearing conservation, and in academic institutions conducting research. I worked in a private practice, an elementary school, and a university hospital before I joined Signia (then Siemens Hearing Instruments). In the hearing care industry, audiologists like me can be found in all departments developing, designing, and marketing the latest hearing aids and other assistive listening devices for patients around the world.
Audiology provides great working conditions
Compared to many other medical and healthcare careers, audiology tends to involve less stress. While the work is important, the stakes are lower than those faced by, for example, cardiologists or oncologists. Audiologists often have regular eight-hour workdays, and there are many part-time career opportunities. We typically work in comfortable, indoor environments. While there is usually no need for strenuous physical exertion, it still offers plenty of opportunities to move around throughout the day, which is healthier than a typical sedentary desk job.
Audiology is rewarding
Just as important, audiologists (myself included) overwhelmingly consider their job as intrinsically rewarding. We, along with other hearing care professionals like hearing instrument specialists and otorhinolaryngologists (ENTs), help connect people to the world of sound. Whether it is helping a baby with hearing loss hear their parents’ voices for the first time, identifying hearing loss in a child who is failing academically, monitoring the hearing levels of our soldiers on active duty, or enabling a grandfather to hear the sweet voice of a grandchild, being an audiologist offers plenty of rewards beyond a steady paycheck.