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Choosing an Audiology Program

Choosing an Audiology Program

What Students Should Know and Look for When Seeking to Become an Audiologist

As a founding principle, The American Academy of Audiology (the Academy) endorsed the concept of audiology as a doctoral profession with Doctor of Audiology (AuD) as the entry-level practice degree. The advanced level of training the professional doctorate mandates is necessary to ensure the provision of the highest standards of delivery of service to individuals with auditory, vestibular, and related disorders. The professional doctorate establishes audiologists in a clearly defined and prominent role within the health care delivery system and strengthens our position as autonomous practitioners and providers of audiological services.

This document was prepared to assist students understand the current transition of the profession to the doctoral-level and to provide insights that may enable them to choose the academic program best suited to their interests and needs.

  • The specific purpose of the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree is to prepare highly skilled practitioners.
  • The Doctor of Audiology (AuD) program should provide at least four years of academic and clinical training after the completion of the bachelor's degree.
  • AuD programs must demonstrate sufficient depth and breadth to warrant the doctoral designation. The academic program should award the AuD (Doctor of Audiology) to describe the professional degree. This distinguishes the professional degree from the PhD or related research-oriented degrees.
  • The focus of the professional doctorate in audiology (AuD) is on the development of clinical proficiency. The PhD is defined as the mark of highest achievement in preparation for creative scholarship and research, often in association with a career in teaching at a university or college. The professional doctorate (AuD) is the highest university award given in Audiology in recognition of completion of academic preparation for professional practice and does not require a dissertation for its completion.
  • The primary objective of the AuD program is to produce competent practitioners who provide the diagnostic, management, and treatment services associated with the practice of audiology. Hence, there is major emphasis on the clinical learning experience.
  • Although the professional doctorate in audiology (AuD) is not a research-oriented degree, it is imperative that student-practitioners be familiar with the scientific and research literature.
  • Individuals completing an AuD will be prepared to be leaders of the field and will be competent to interact with other doctoring professions.
  • Individuals completing an AuD will be critical consumers of research and may choose to participate in clinical research including the evaluation of the efficacy of current diagnostic and treatment strategies.
  • The Academy has endorsed the AuD degree becoming the entry-level degree for the clinical practice of audiology by the year 2007.

The Clinical Training Program

The AuD educational process assumes development of broadly based clinical rotations based on substantive academic achievement. The preparation of the complete practitioner rests upon three essential foundations:

  • Mastery of the audiological knowledge base
  • Extensive clinical experience and rotations
  • Role modeling based on exposure to experienced, practicing clinicians

It is recommended that the student receive diverse clinical experiences with an extensive variety of cases and preceptors. Student-practitioners should be exposed extensively to diverse and challenging clinical populations. Appropriate clinical training environments should include but not be limited to:

  • Audiology/Medical practices
  • Autonomous private practices in audiology
  • Community clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Industrial settings
  • Local education agencies
  • Schools for the hearing-impaired
  • University or college clinics

Recommended Academic Curriculum

As in most professional degrees, a basic science core is essential. The following general areas of study are recommended.

Basic science areas include:

  • Physics of sound, acoustics, psychoacoustics
  • Research methods and statistics
  • Speech science and perception
  • Computer science
  • Electronics, instrumentation and calibration
  • Gross anatomy, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology
  • Anatomy and physiology of hearing
  • Diseases and pathologies of the ear and nervous system
  • Related medical diagnosis and treatment
  • Embryology and genetics
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Epidemiology
  • Radiographic techniques and imaging

General areas of professional instruction include:

  1. Audiologic assessment
    • Case history/interview techniques
    • Physiologic measurements
    • Electrophysiologic measurements
    • Behavioral tests of auditory function
    • Communication measurement scales
  2. Medical considerations
    • Audiologic manifestations of ear disease
    • Clinical diagnosis and evaluation of auditory pathology
    • Clinical decision analysis
  3. Clinical decision process/counseling
    • Counseling strategies and techniques
    • Referral procedures and case management
    • Interprofessional relationships and responsibilities
    • Personal and interpersonal dynamics
  4. Professional issues
    • Ethical/legal/quality improvement issues
    • Fiscal intermediaries/government agencies
    • Practice management/healthcare marketing
    • Forensic audiology
  5. Conservation of hearing and prevention of hearing loss
    • Public and consumer education
    • Hearing conservation models
    • Identification and screening models
    • Federal/state regulations
    • Worker's compensation issues
  6. Special populations
    • Pediatric audiology
    • Geriatric audiology
    • Difficult to test, including developmental disabilities
  7. Audiologic habilitation and rehabilitation
    • Normative developmental models
    • Auditory training
    • Visual communication, including speech reading
    • Manual communication systems and skills
    • Speech and language of the deaf and hard of hearing
    • Educational management
  8. Management of amplification
    • Physical and electroacoustic characteristics of amplifying devices
    • Methods of evaluation
    • Rehabilitative procedures
    • Dispensing
    • Assistive devices
    • Implantable devices
  9. Vestibular evaluation
    • Diagnostic techniques and procedures
    • Management and Treatment strategies

Doctoral Programs in Audiology