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Audiology relates to the inner ear, its associated functions, including hearing and balance, and the disorders that can affect it. The primary responsibility of an audiologist is to identify, diagnose and treat hearing problems which, according to the National Health Service (NHS), affect around 16% of the population.
The majority of qualified audiologists work in hospitals as part of multidisciplinary teams, treating patients directly. Many also move into higher education teaching and research.
There are different levels of audiology qualification, depending on the competence and experience of the individual. They are:
As with all medical professionals, their primary responsibility is to identify, diagnose and treat problems experienced by patients through a variety of examinations, tests, medical procedures and prescription of medication. It is also their job to ensure that the patient is fully aware of courses of treatment and procedures available to them, so that they can play a role in, and have some control over, the care they receive.
Qualified audiologists can go on to specialise in one or more of the following areas:
Audiologists may also work closely with designers and manufacturers of hearing aids and other apparatus used to support patients’ hearing.