Audiology is a 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.
An audiologist is a person who is qualified to provide a comprehensive array of professional services related to the prevention of hearing loss and the audiologic identification, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with impairment of auditory and vestibular function, and to the prevention of impairments associated with them. The central focus of the profession of audiology is concerned with all auditory impairments and their relationship to disorders of communication. Audiologists identify, assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with impairment of either peripheral or central auditory and/or vestibular function, and strive to prevent such impairments. Audiologists select, fit, and dispense amplification systems such as hearing aids. They work to prevent hearing loss by providing and fitting hearing protection devices, consultation on the effects of noise on hearing, and consumer education. They can also serve as expert witnesses in litigation related to their areas of expertise.
The audiologist is an independent practitioner who provides services in hospitals, clinics, schools, private practices and other settings in which audiologic services are relevant.