Audiology (from Latin audīre, "to hear"; and from Greek -λογία, -logia) is the branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders. Its practitioners, who treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage are audiologists. Employing various testing strategies (e.g. hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, videonystagmography, and electrophysiologic tests), audiology aims to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range, and if not, which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected and to what degree. If an audiologist determines that a hearing loss or vestibular abnormality is present he or she will provide recommendations to a patient as to what options (e.g. hearing aid, cochlear implants, surgery, appropriate medical referrals) may be of assistance.
Audiology is a branch of science which deals with the study of hearing, balance and related disorders through tests and treatment through hearing aids.
In addition to testing hearing, audiologists can also work with a wide range of clientele in rehabilitation (cochlear implants and/or hearing aids), paediatric populations and assessment of the vestibular system.
The use of the terms "Audiology" and "Audiologist" in publications has been traced back only as far as 1946. The original creator of the term remains unknown, but Berger identified possible originators as Mayer BA Schier, Willard B Hargrave, Stanley Nowak, Norton Canfield, or Raymond Carhart. The first US university course for audiologists was offered by Carhart at Northwestern University, in 1946. Audiology was born of hearing aid dispensers to address the hearing damage from World War II veterans.
Audiologists are licensed professionals who hold a master's degree, Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), or Ph.D. in the hearing sciences. The specific degree and experience requirements necessary to practice are determined by each state audiology license board. As of January 2007 all professional training programs for audiologists in the United States culminate with the Au.D. (Doctor of Audiology) degree. Many state license laws now require the Au.D. degree for all newly licensed audiologists, and it is expected that eventually all license laws will require this (in the United States of America). Audiologists who have earned the master's degree prior to the change in licensing standards are not required to earn a doctorate to continue practicing in the field. Audiologists have a clinical/educational background that emphasizes diagnostic evaluation of auditory (hearing) and vestibular (balance) systems, amplification technology (especially hearing aids), cochlear implant mapping, hearing science, aural rehabilitation and assistive device fitting. Audiologists may specialize in pediatric diagnostics/amplification, cochlear implants, educational audiology, intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, vestibular and balance issues, and/or industrial hearing conservation. Audiologists also work in universities, conducting research, or acting as clinical instructors.
Audiologists are also involved in the prevention of hearing loss and other communication disorders. Hearing Conservation programs in industry and government strive to prevent noise induced hearing loss through education and Audiologist intervention. Audiologists are often in charge of Newborn Hearing Screening programs designed to identify hearing loss within the first 4 months of life.
The first Audiology & Speech Language Therapy program was started in 1966 at T.N.Medical College and BYL Nair Ch.Hospital in Mumbai. In the same year, Government of India established the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing which has become the country's leading Institute in the field of communication disorders. There are currently 20 Universities in India which provide Speech Pathology and Audiology programs. These programs are accredited by Rehabilitation council of India.
To practice audiology, professionals need to have either Bachelors/Masters degree in Audiology and be registered with Indian Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA) or the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). There are around 100 private clinics in India providing speech and hearing services.