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The 10 Best Jobs of 2012: 6 - Audiologist

audiologist

Diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature, and degree of hearing function.

  • Overall Score: 311.00
  • Income: $67,137.00

  • Work Environment:
    53.130
  • Stress:
    9.370
  • Hiring Outlook:
    37.17

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MD

Do you really like an AuD is comparable to an MD?  Really?  Are you all top 1% in your college class?  Are you able to score decently on the MCATs?  Did you work 100+ weeks and study till 4am burning the midnight oil for not only 4 years of undergrad but 4 years of med school?  Was the AuD that demanding, requiring 100+ weeks while you were PAYING YOUR GRADUATE SCHOOL 50k/year?  Then, did you do a "residency" for 3-8 years with 100 hour weeks, while having to study for boards?Really?  REALLY?I have family members who are both audiologists AND doctors/MDs.  There is a vast difference.  My audiologist family member concedes it is a long process to get the phd, but medicine is 100 times tougher and more difficult/demanding to get into.Suffice it to say, I do agree audiologists should be compensated more... but do not compare yourself to a doctor, claiming to have works as hard in both school and life to get there.  Because unless you have a 3.8 GPA at a good recognized college and top MCAT scores, you aren't ever gonna be a doctor.  And don't say that it is as difficult to get into an AuD program because we both know it's not even close.I'm not putting down the AuD profession but it's apples and guava... there is NO comparison.  It's like saying being a social worker with an MA  is JUST LIKE being an Aerospace Engineer with an MA.  Yah they both are masters, and take 2 years to get.  And that's the only similarity,

Wow...

Apparently you can get an M.D. while never progressing past a seventh grade writing level. ^^ 

I am an Audiologist and I

I am an Audiologist and I take extreme offense to your attitude. I found graduate school and my obtaining my doctorate very demanding. Some of my fellow classmates could not take the pressure and switched majors.  There were times that I stayed up all night and studied. I pushed myself hard. I did this because I realized that I was becoming an audiologist and in my scope of practice would be performing comprehensive auditory and  vestibular testing for a vital organ of the body. Additionally, I would be providing habiliation and/or rehabiliation and counseling to individuals and sometimes their families. This included me being knowledgable and current about hearing aids, assistive listening devices, cochlear implants, etc.  Audiologists provided services to a range of individuals that vary in age, culture differences, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc.  Additionally, many of these individuals have multiple disabilities.  One of my jobs requires me to work with with infants and children that are Deaf or hard of hearing and many of them have other syndromes. My job is demanding and many people, children, families, clinics, and doctors count on my services. I too know many other audiologists and I am aware of demands of their jobs. So please do not present this attitude that audiologists sit around all day twiddling their thumbs.  I truely enjoy being an audiologist and would not choose another profession. I respect and admire doctors of all specialities.  I would never put down another profession that I did not have the slightest idea about and only heard from second hand.  I would also never compare one profession to another that is just ignorant.  I would never judge the worth of a profession because I have never walked a mile in their shoes.  We all must work together and rely on each other to provide the patient and their family with the most appropriate and benefical testing and treatment. At my other job, the doctors I work with repect my opinion because the testing I perform help diagnose tumors, Menieres disease, unilateral weakness, can be used to weigh sucess of surgeries, etc. I have medical students that come to the office to observe a hearing test and I provide them with some knowlegde how to read results from my testing. In summary, I have briefly discussed some of the demands of an audiologist. It is not a medical doctorate. It is an Au.D. and opinions like yours are the reasons why audiologists have to fight to be recognized and  fairly compensated for their work. Opinions like yours are best kept to yourself. 

Audiology outlook

I have been an audiologist for 12 years now and i dont really see any advancement in the field.  It has garnered very little respoect overall.  ENT use us for cheap labor and treat us poorly overall.  Our single major contributor is selling hearing aids.  I have brought in more money than the physician as reported on his ststements at the end of the year.  We epected a huge increase in both salary and autonomy as an AuD profession and i would have to say very little of that has been realized.  We do not have the lobbying power to change legislation on our own and the AMA is a huge force that will shout us down very easily and not give up their slice of the pie.As for salary people will often cite the annual responses from audiologists.  I can tell you from personal experience in many setting and knowing audiologists in 4 states.  Everyone whwn asked how much they make will not tell the truth.  Its human nature.  Look at the difference between self reported disclosures and the US bureau of Labor and Statistics.  Huge gap and the latter is reported from the government.  Audiology can b a very rewarding and gratifiying profession for sure and money can be made but for the 8 years in school, i believe they would be better spent becoming  physician instead. 

Reading these negative

Reading these negative comments really puts down a 4th year honours student. I hate to believe that all the sleepless nights, notes galore, research stress and oral exams was a waste. I can understand the need of wanting a higher salary......but surely all audiologists out there researched the field before putting it as there 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice. Furthermore, we ACCEPTED the post. This proves that we never went in there blindfolded. Audiology is a field of passion, care and REALLY wanting to help people that require our help. Saying that a patients dont like hearing aids now days, or that the ipods in the market are going to bring us more patients, thus more income, is quite distastefull. What about INTERVENTION? PREVENTION? AWARENESS? EARLY IDENTIFICATION? ............Those are our roles too. Therefore, I believe that complaints come from those who just are'nt passionate about what they doing, and frankly, I think that's very unfair to all the youngsters and parents out there who are considering this field. Its honestly one of the most rewarding professions. Witnessing a Deaf patient hear the drop of a pen/ aircon the very first time........to consoling a distraught mother who just found out that her child has a HL, is a gift on its own:)

Audiology is a profession

Audiology is a profession burdened with stigma. No one wants to be seen wearing hearing aids. Try as you may, hearing aids - unlike eye glasses - will never look sexy.

Not every patient has a

Not every patient has a vanity problem. There are invisible hearing aids out there for those who don't want to be seen wearing hearing aids.

What is going to destroy us

What is going to destroy us is the low reimbursement rates from insurance companies.  More and more companies are offering hearing aid benefits to their subscribers and/or distributing them directly to their subscribers.  On top of that, the distribution chain is changing rapidly from a service oriented distribution model to a direct to consumer internet/store purchase model.  And then we have several major hearing aid manufacturers who are distributing directly to consumers and undercutting their Audiologist and HIS customers.  The baby-boomers are aging, with aging comes hearing loss, and the snakes are out to capitalize. We also have the direction of healthcare to consider.  Our physician referral sources are drying up.  Large hospital groups are buying out private physician practices all over the country at an alarming rate, and when they are ENT practices they are incorporating the Audiology and hearing aid portions of the businesses into the hospital groups.  Physicians in hospital groups refer their patients to their own group, not to outside private practices. We have many challenges ahead of us.  It makes one really ponder the future of private practice Audiology.  As a group we need to sell our SERVICES, participate in the negotiation of insurance contracts, lobby the FTC to restrict the mail sale of hearing aids just as the FDA restricts the over the counter sale of hearing aids (i.e. you need a LICENSE), and for goodness sake DO NOT PURCHASE AND SELL HEARING AIDS FROM MANUFACTURERS THAT UNDERCUT YOU BY DIRECT SELLING TO YOUR PATIENTS!! 

Audiology: a small profession that makes a big difference

How gratifying to see my profession recognized here! Hearing loss is a problem that most people can't fathom until it happens to them or their loved ones, but when it occurs, it impacts family life, occupational and school success, and an overall engagement with the world.  What if you couldn't hear the cashier, or the minister, or your physician during an appointment?  Or your loved ones trying to tell you how much they care about you?  Hearing matters! Audiologists also help people with balance problems, dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and hearing loss prevention. We screen newborn babies, work with veterans, help kids hear their teachers, help adults hear their co-workers and families ....  Can you visualize the look on a patient's face when she hears her husband's voice for the first time in years?  Every day is an inspiration. Kris English, PhD, professor at The University of Akron/NOAC  

Worst mistake I ever made

I keep seeing Audiology come up as a "good" career, and it always seems to be the same argument--Baby Boomers are getting old and so there should be a lot of them with hearing problems.  Two things anyone should consider--this is a very small profession that requires Doctorate level training, all the growth is assumed will happen.  Look anywhere outside of these "best careers" lists and see if Audiology is even on anyone's radar.  And if you want to know where I'm coming from, 20 years ago I walked away from an Audiology program and have never regretted it. Back then my program only had students because several others had closed, and they were panicked enough the professors were telling us how to write letters to our Congressmen supporting Audiology.  That's not a healthy profession, and I'm surprised it's even still around.

Is the salary for a PhD in a medical field appropriate?

My daughter is very interested in this career field and has already started scoping out the best schools for audiology. But I'm concerned that this field is highly undervalued salary-wise ($67k). We have undergrad Biomed engineers starting with zero experience at my company making $53k. I need to know why I shouldn't be directing my daughter more towards an MD program.

My $.02.

Undervalued? It depends on what you value.

22 years ago I chose audiology over other feasible career options (including medicine and software engineering, although it was still early days for that one!). I'm now practice leader for a large public health audiology clinic, earning an annual salary of 90k with excellent benefits including 5 weeks paid vacation. We provide services ranging from newborn hearing screening to helping very frail elderly patients retain communicative independence with their hearing aids. We teach and are involved in clinical research. I have never started or ended a work day unhappy with my job, and I receive enormous satisfaction from seeing how much our patients and their families benefit from the advanced diagnostic and rehabilitative technology we have available now. Audiology is still "under the radar" and most people who choose it do so out of a genuine desire to help, not just to earn a high income. I work with fantastic colleagues and workplace conflict is very rare.

I've never had to work a night shift and rarely work weekends. The stress in this profession is generally "good stress" that comes with continuous personal growth and learning about new technology. Work-life balance is rarely an issue (I work full time and have a family).

I would love to see Audiology remunerated somewhat better, but there are opportunities for higher salaries in private practice especially for those with a flair for business. We are still a young profession and I don't think we've reached our full earning potential yet.

Agreed..."attempt" should be

Agreed..."attempt" should be replaced with evaluate or assess....and put a white coat on the woman in the picture while they are at it!

Not all doctors of audiology wear white coats...

nor should they feel the need to do so.  White coats try to DEMAND respect and authority which is something that EARNED.

What about Vestibular? And define "attempt" .....

This description of an audiologist fails to mention evaluation and diagnosis of vestibular (balance) conditions. It sounds random, but the hearing and balance systems both lie in the inner portion of your ear. Hearing and balance also intertwine in some syndromes.

And also, Audiologists don't "attempt." Sorry, that kind of bugged me. As a Doctoral Student of Audiology, I'd hope that 4 years of undergrad and 4 years of doctoral work goes toward more than just "attempting" to do something. That word makes audiologists sound incompetent, when in actuality, after all the education we go through, are very knowledgeable of the hearing and balance mechanisms. I think a more appropriate term would be "evaluate" or "assess."

On a good note, congrats to Audiology for #6!! It really is an exciting career and the sky is the limit for research and development in the field.

Boomers on the March

Don't overlook aging boomers. Presbycusis and the long-term effects of noise exposure are providing an ever increasing caseload.

Re: Boomers on the March

Well said!

Dr. Moor (an Audiologist)

iPods Help The Hiring Outlook for Audiologists

I've been trying to figure out why the future is so bright for audiologists and it just dawned on me. iPods! These wonderful toys are blowing our kid's hearing out! As a parent educator, I'm aware that the pressure to keep our kids entertained is important but your first job is to protect your kids. If you can hear their iPods while the ear buds are in your kid's ears, it's too loud! Don't fuel the future careers of audiologists! The iPods have a volume limit setting. Use it. Okay. I'm off my soap box. Congrats to the audiologists for all you do.

NICU babies

This career path is also growing due to the better survival rates for preterm infants.  Many lead healthy normal lives in most areas, however, tubal ligations and ear drum restoration is increasing due to prematurity.  To IPod above, it was boom boxes, sub woofers and bose speakers in the 80's so there has always been too much noise for many teenagers.

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