If you’ve been thinking about embarking on a career in hearing care, there are many fascinating options to explore. Although the top jobs require college degrees, there are other roles where a willingness to work hard and learn on the job will get you a long way. Most important, of course, is that you care about and respect hearing impaired people and want to help them get more out of life.
Jobs in hearing care
These are some of the key roles involved in hearing care:
- Audiologist – Assess people suspected of having hearing difficulties, arriving at appropriate diagnoses and working out a therapeutic program based around the specific needs of each individual. This normally requires a postgraduate degree, and audiologists are usually based in hospitals. There are opportunities to specialize in working with children or with elderly people. Salaries average around $63k, with independent consultants among the highest earners.
- Speech therapist – Help those who have been hearing impaired since birth or who have just developed problems, which requires a different skill set. Many speech therapists work with children and help improve their comfort level with language and sound. A degree is required for this role, along with a period of on-the-job training. Salaries range from $43k to $100k and tend to be higher for specialists such as those who help children with multiple disabilities.
- Sign language interpreter – Translate at conferences and events or accompany deaf people to things like job interviews and doctors’ appointments. Variations on the role include typing up speech so it can be read as text, or lip speaking so non-signing deaf people can understand. Certification is available, but demand is high so there are many opportunities even without this. Qualified interpreters can earn up to $35 per hour.
Why work in hearing care?
Many people find their way into hearing care roles because they have deaf or hearing impaired family members, and this has made them aware of the important work that needs to be done to make society more inclusive towards those with disabilities. The work involved can be highly rewarding, enabling children to communicate fully for the first time or helping older people to recover their enjoyment of life. In some cases, it can involve substantially reducing an individual’s impairment and in other cases, it can mean helping a confident member of the deaf community to overcome barriers created by the hearing world.
Staying up to date
Whatever area of hearing care you choose to go into, you’ll need to keep up to date in order to fulfill your duties effectively. The Miracle-Ear site is great for news and career updates, and it’s also a good idea to read audiology journals in order to get in-depth coverage of scientific and technological developments in the field. Sign language, like all languages, is constantly evolving, so it’s advisable to look for social as well as work-based opportunities to keep up with it.
There’s always something new happening in this fascinating area, and through your involvement you will get to be part of a field that is improving all the time in its ability to revolutionize people’s lives.