Exploring a Career in the Hearing Care Profession

Although the majority of us stay current with our annual physical, dental cleaning, and eye examination, we notoriously fail to consider the health of our hearing. And when our hearing does start to diminish, it happens so slowly and gradually that we barely notice and fail to take action. It’s this lack of interaction with hearing care professionals that makes people wonder what the career actually involves.

And that’s a shame, because hearing care professionals serve as an important segment of the healthcare system. It’s through the hearing care professional that the correct performance of one of our key senses — one in which we often tend to take for granted — is maintained or restored.

Due to the fact that we take hearing for granted, we often fail to fully grasp just how invaluable hearing is. With precise hearing, we can increase focus, enjoy the details of sound, converse better, and strengthen working relationships. And the hearing care professionals are the ones who make certain that this essential sense is working properly.

If you’d like to learn more about this crucial but little-known healthcare field — or if you’re thinking about joining the field yourself — read on.

Attraction to the hearing care field

Hearing care professionals are attracted to the field for a number of reasons, but a few main motivating factors are habitually present. First of all, many practitioners have experienced, and continue to suffer from, hearing complications themselves. Seeing as they were themselves helped by a hearing care professional, the need to repay the favor for other individuals is strong.

For example, Zoe Williams, a hearing care professional practicing in Australia, has moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears. This could have caused an inability to communicate, but thanks to cochlear implants and hearing aids, Zoe is now able to communicate normally. Understanding first-hand how enhanced hearing leads to a better life, Zoe was motivated to enter the field and to assist others in the same way.

Other individuals are enticed into the hearing care field thanks to its unique combination of counseling, problem solving, science, and engineering. Alongside studying the science of hearing and the design of hearing technology, practitioners also learn how to work with individuals in the role of a counselor. Dealing with hearing loss is a delicate situation, and people present a number of emotions and personalities. Practitioners must be able to employ the “soft skills” required to manage these challenges and must work with patients on a personalized level to defeat hearing loss.

Training and preparation

Part of the overall appeal of working in the hearing care profession is the fascinating combination of topics included as part of the education and training. Those pursuing a career in the field master interesting topics in assorted fields such as:

  • Biology – topics include the anatomy and physiology of hearing, balance, the ear, and the brain, in addition to instruction in hearing and balance disorders and pharmacology.
  • Physics – topics include the physics of sound, acoustics, and psychoacoustics (how the brain processes sound).
  • Engineering – topics include the production and operation of hearing technology such as assistive listening devices, hearing aids, and cochlear implants, as well as the programming of digital hearing aids.
  • Counseling – topics include how to interview patients, how to teach coping skills, and how to train on the use of hearing aids, as well as other interesting topics in psychology and counseling.
  • Professional practice – topics include diagnosing hearing problems, performing and interpreting hearing tests, carrying out hearing treatments, fitting and programming hearing aids, professional ethics, and running a business.

Job functions

Hearing care professionals work in a wide range of settings (schools, hospitals, private practices) performing diverse tasks such as research, teaching, and diagnosing and treating hearing and balance conditions.

Regular responsibilities include performing diagnostic tests, interpreting hearing tests, and working with patients on identifying the best hearing treatment, often times including the use of hearing aids. Hearing care professionals custom-fit and program hearing aids to best fit the individual and will coach the patient on how to use and maintain them. Hearing care professionals also work with organizations and businesses to protect against hearing injuries in loud work environments.


The benefits cited most frequently by people in the hearing care profession revolve around the opportunity to positively impact people’s lives on a very personalized level. Lifelong friendships between patients and hearing specialists are also common as a consequence of the personal nature of care.

When patients declare that they can hear again for the first time in a very long time, the emotions can be intense. Patients commonly describe a feeling of reconnection to the world and to family, in addition to strengthened relationships and an enhanced overall quality of life.

How many occupations can claim that kind of personal impact?

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