Ask an Audiologist: What Does an Audiologist Do?
What is an Audiologist? That’s the question that one of our veteran Audiologists was asked to answer.
What’s the typical day in the life of an Audiologist and how do they help their patients tackle chronic issues like hearing loss and tinnitus?
Mike Prangley has only been working with Hearing Solutions for a short time, but he’s been working in the field for many years. He discusses what it means to be an Audiologist.
Ask an Audiologist
Hello! I’m a student at Byron Nelson High School and of the Academy of Biomedical Sciences and I was wondering if you had an Audiologist who would be willing to answer a few questions?
- What are the duties and responsibilities of someone working as an Audiologist?
- What do you like about Audiology?
- What do you dislike about Audiology?
- What is your educational background?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- How did you discover you wanted to be an Audiologist?
- What is something most people don’t know about your job?
Thank you for your time!
Depending on where an audiologist works, there are a number of different responsibilities. Typically an Audiologist assesses and treats hearing loss on individuals of all ages. We can work with the pediatric population and as part of the Infant Hearing Program. Every baby has their hearing screened at birth in Ontario and if they fail this assessment, or there’s a family history of hearing loss, an audiologist would do a follow-up assessment once the child can respond to external stimuli reliably (around 6 months). If the child needs hearing aids, an audiologist would choose the appropriate amplification and the child can be fit with hearing devices as soon as possible. This is often done in a hospital or private practice environment. We also work with school age children and assess auditory processing abilities. If a child has issues with auditory processing, there are suggestions made to help modify the classroom environment to help the child as much as possible. We also assess and treat hearing loss in adults. If an individual comes in and has hearing loss, we would advise them on the best solution for them. Then we would fit, verify, and follow up with the client to determine satisfaction levels with their hearing aids. We also provide testing for Veterans Affairs Canada, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and the Ontario Disability Support Program as well. Audiologists take impressions for custom earmoulds, whether it be for musicians, construction workers, hunters or swim-moulds for children, etc. Basically, Audiologists treat all ages and work in a multitude of environments like hospitals and in private practice.
What I like about audiology is the unique ability to get to know people, learn about their difficulties and provide an appropriate solution. I have worked with the Infant hearing program, for multiple Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, in the hospital environment, private practice, along with guest lecturing and providing mentorship to the new audiology students at Elborn College in London. Every day is unique and no two days are the same. I never quite know what each day will consist of until its over.
The negative stereotype surrounding hearing aids. There is so much variability in the level of care people receive and the hearing aids that are available. An individual needs to be appropriately educated on what is available to them and to make the best choice. As technology changes, the technology in hearing aids also change. People often avoid hearing aids because someone they know has had a bad experience, or they knew someone who wore an old hearing aid that was really big and whistled all the time. As technology has changed in your cars, TV and phones, it has changed in hearing aids too. Speaking with a knowledgeable clinician, like someone at Hearing Solutions will help counter this stereotype and increase the satisfaction level of hearing aids as a whole.
I have three post-secondary degrees. First degree was in Psychology (BA) Second degree was in Health Sciences (B.H.Sc Hons) and then my Masters in Audiology (M.Cl.Sc), which is 9 years of post-secondary education.
Providing audiological assessments for individuals and going over their results. I will often prescribe and fit hearing aids. I also do follow up appointments with people who already have hearing aids and troubleshoot any issues they may be having. I see people for yearly re-assessments and make changes to their hearing aids if their hearing thresholds have changed. I will also write reports to doctors, answer phone calls from clients and handle any general inquiries people walking through the mall may have in regards to hearing aids and their hearing loss.
I have hearing loss myself and have worn hearing aids since I was 4 years old. Just a natural choice for me. Allows me to relate to clients in a unique way, as we often share similar experiences. I also get a chance to try out the technology before it is available to the public and I make myself available for hearing aid research whenever possible. As someone who sells and wears hearing aids, I have a unique dual perspective.
That I have heard every audiology joke there is out there! When people ask what I do, or I ask them what brings them in today, many say “what” and put their hand behind their ear. I still laugh though.
Keep in mind that these answers aren’t all-encompassing, but they at least provide a good idea of what Audiology is all about.
Mike Prangley is an Audiologist registered with CASLPO working for Hearing Solutions. Currently, Mike sees patients at the Masonville Place Hearing Solutions clinic in London, Ontario.