Audiometric Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Insider Info

dot"I'm sorry. You're speaking too quietly. Can you speak up?" Your friend raises her voice, but you still can't make out her words. Could the problem be your hearing? Hearing loss can happen because of aging, disease or occupational noise hazards.

Occupational noise from equipment such as jackhammers, chainsaws and heavy machinery can cause significant hearing loss. In fact, any loud or repeated noise such as music in a nightclub, gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers or a rifle shot can harm a person's ears. Continued exposure to any noise above 85 decibels is considered a risk for hearing loss.

dotAudiometric technicians test the hearing of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Hearing can affect speech development in children. That's why it's especially important to pick up any hearing problems in infancy.

dotIn order to protect against hearing loss on the job, audiometric technicians advise workers to wear protective equipment on their ears. Audiometric technicians also routinely test these workers for hearing loss by performing an audiogram.

During this test, an audiometric technician asks a worker to sit in a soundproof booth. The worker is then asked to respond when they can hear a pure-tone sound. The softest sound a person can hear is called his hearing threshold.

This hearing test is plotted on a graph called an audiogram. When a person is retested after working in a noisy environment, the hearing threshold may change. That means that the person can no longer hear as soft a sound as they heard before, and may have permanent hearing damage.

dotAudiometric technicians may work in hospitals and private health clinics. They might also work at occupational health clinics, large companies and manufacturing plants. Mobile testing is also performed. Technicians can be hired as employees or contract out their services.

Many people, such as nurses, occupational health workers and hearing aid dispensers, may be trained as audiometric technicians. They would do the work as a part of their regular job.

dotMost audiometric technicians work a regular 9-to-5 workweek. "We may start working six days to do testing on the weekend," says Toni Saxton. She is an audiometric technician. "For now, we work regular office hours."

Audiometric technicians need to be able to move about a patient to apply testing devices and to monitor computers. "I'm on the move all the time," says Saxton. However, she says that with advancing technology, people in wheelchairs may soon be able to do the work.

At a Glance

Test people's hearing

  • You could work at occupational health clinics, large companies and manufacturing plants
  • You need to be able to move about a patient to apply testing devices and to monitor computers
  • Get training in industrial hygiene or as a registered nurse, occupational nurse or hearing aid practitioner