What does an audiologist do?

Who is an audiologist?

The audiologist is a professional specialising in the auditory system. They play a very important role in the health of the ear, which, as we know, is a delicate and complex organ. In addition to its auditory function, it also serves the purpose of maintaining the correct conditions of balance in the human system. The audiologist is the doctor to turn to when specific pathologies, such as deafness, tinnitus, labyrinthitis and Ménière's syndrome need to be addressed.

What does everyday working life look like?

The tasks of an audiologist vary as much as the people who seek their assistance. Their daily responsibilities include:

  • Analysing hearing symptoms.
  • Formulating diagnoses.
  • Developing treatment plans.
  • Referring patients to other specialists if necessary.

Apart from conducting examinations, audiologists collaborate with other professionals to support their work. This includes the audiometrist, who performs audiometric tests, and the hearing aid specialist, who recommends suitable hearing aids based on the patient's requirements.

What education does an audiologist need?

The audiologists are specialised medical professional in Audiology and Phoniatrics. They hold a degree in Medicine and Surgery, have passed the state examination for medical practice, and have enrolled in a specialisation course.

In which institutions do audiologists work?

Audiologist can work in the audiology departments of both public and private institutions, at hearing centers, or with hearing aid retailers.

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Audiologists vs. other hearing specialists

Patients often encounter confusion when addressing their hearing problems, unsure about which hearing specialist to consult.

This category encompasses various medical professionals with distinct specialisations, each contributing uniquely to auditory well-being.

The audiologist is just one part of this spectrum; other essential professionals include otolaryngologists, phoneticians, speech therapists, and hearing aid technicians. Let's explore the differences.

Hearing aid specialist

Hearing aid specialists are technicians who deal with the rehabilitation side, i.e. they come into play after the diagnosis has been made by another professional, usually the audiologist. In fact, the hearing aid is often prescribed by the doctor who makes the diagnosis and who has assessed that the other routes (pharmacological and surgical) are not viable.

After a series of tests and a consultation with the audiologist, the hearing aid specialist then selects the most suitable type of hearing aid based on the patients needs and begins the rehabilitation process, which has variable duration and results.

ENT Doctor

The otolaryngologist deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of problems related to the ear, nose and throat (including tonsils, tongue, thyroid, salivary glands). There is, in fact, a close correlation between pathologies affecting these three systems, as they are all anatomically connected. The audiologist, on the other hand, has a more focused competence on the ear and also deals with surgical therapy. In addition to nose and throat problems of course, an ENT examination is recommended for ear diseases such as:


The phonatrist is a medical specialist who deals with verbal communication, swallowing and all speech-related disorders. Their educational background includes a degree in Medicine and Surgery, a licence to practice, and a specialisation in Audiology and Phoniatrics, the same as an audiologist. Unlike the speech therapist, who deals with therapy, the phoniatrist deals with the diagnostic part, but the collaboration between the two figures is fundamental for a good rehabilitation.

You may consult a phoniatrist for cases involving:

  • Loss of verbal language
  • Alterations in the normal or singing voice
  • Neurological problems or disorders that cause incorrect articulation of speech

Paediatric audiologists

Paediatric audiologists deal with childhood hearing problems and follow their patients during diagnosis and treatment, offering targeted options for improving hearing ability and customising hearing aids. Their role is crucial as good hearing is the essential basis for healthy development and proper language learning. Thanks to Amplifon's hearing aids, children who suffer from hearing impairments are able to explore the world, keep up at school and play with other children without limitations.

Logopaedists and speech therapists

The speech therapist is a healthcare professional responsible for patients with speech problems. They often work closely with the medical specialists who refer patients to them for rehabilitation. The work of the speech therapist focuses on the education and re-education of pathologies that cause: 

  • voice disorders
  • learning disorders
  • communication handicaps
  • pathologies linked to swallowing.

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How can an audiologist help with hearing problems?

Deafness, whether mild or profound, can be treated with medication, surgery, hearing aids or cochlear implants. The audiologist job is to identify the origins of the hearing impairment and find the most suitable treatment option, depending on the case, to alleviate or resolve the symptoms of the pathology.

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases

After conducting the audiological examination, the doctor diagnoses conditions such as hearing loss, vertigo, or tinnitus, determining their severity. Subsequently, the doctor identifies the optimal treatment and, if required, recommends the use of hearing aids, overseeing their proper usage to restore hearing perception, particularly in individuals with profound deafness.

Carrying out hearing tests

During the audiological examination, the audiologist carries out tests that are useful for the diagnosis of the pathology. Among these, the fundamental ones are the inspection of the tympanic membrane and the external auditory canal, the tonal and vocal audiometric examination (which serves to identify the threshold of minimum audibility) and the impedance testing, performed by inserting a small probe into the patient's ear to assess the elasticity of the eardrum and the chain of ossicles responsible for hearing function.

In addition to these, if the audiologist deems it necessary, the vestibular examination and the ABR examination, aimed at investigating the action potential of the auditory nerve, may be performed.

Choosing hearing aids

After determining the type and severity of the hearing disorder, the audiologist prescribes a suitable hearing aid and helps the patient select a model that meets both their care and comfort requirements.

The hearing aid technician plays a crucial role in this phase, evaluating the audiometric profile, the user's subjective preferences, and the technological features of the device, in order to offer guidance in the customisation and selection of the hearing aid.

Why should you see an audiologist?

The audiologist is a key figure for all those cases in which the patient suffers from:

  • deafness
  • labyrinthitis
  • Ménière's syndrome
  • tinnitus
  • generally experiences localised ear problems.

Not only that, the audiologist often microsurgically operates various pathologies such as otosclerosis. Thanks to a consultation and evaluation of the patient's history by means of specific examinations, the audiologist is able to advise on the course of action to be taken and treat the hearing problems.

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Why are regular checks important?

Early diagnosis is essential in order to intervene in time and prevent further hearing damage. This is why Amplifon has always recommended regular audiological examinations and preventative examinations in the event of pain, ear discomfort or a decrease in hearing.

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