Hearing healthcare is delivered by different types of professionals. It is important to understand the difference between them. Understanding what type of professional you are dealing with gives you the ability to make educated choices about your care. It’s clichéd, but knowledge is power. The more you know, the better choices you make and the more comfortable you are. If you find yourself needing the help of an audiologist, it is wise to be educated.
The difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist
As we said, there are generally two types of professionals an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist. However, there is a huge difference between a certified audiologist and a hearing aid specialist. Primary among the differences is the level of education. An audiologist is a medical specialist who must earn a four-year degree. This training consists of both academic and clinical training.
Hearing aid specialist requirements vary from state to state across the US, however, the normal minimum requirement for being a hearing aid specialist is usually having a high school diploma, passing a licensing exam and completing an apprenticeship with a licensed hearing aid specialist. The difference in services provided and testing ability is huge though.
An audiologist is qualified to perform a number of tests and procedures, and is able to offer treatment for many conditions including hearing loss for adults and children. Whereas a hearing aid specialist is qualified to perform basic hearing tests to sell hearing aids to adults and general hearing aid fittings and sales. In essence, an audiologist has the most comprehensive education and capabilities.
Audiologists deal with more than hearing loss
As we said earlier, even though most of our time is devoted to treating hearing loss, audiologists are qualified to treat more conditions than that. We also deal with a number of other hearing-related issues, including:
- Hearing loss prevention
- Assessments of balance and equilibrium
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Hyperacusis (sensitivity to loud noises)
- hearing aids for pediatrics
Of course education alone is not the overriding factor in any decision, however, it helps to understand what the difference is. Audiologists are trained and capable of assessing and treating hearing-related issues, but the most important thing that we can and must do is treat you with kindness, compassion and a willingness to listen. Being a good listener is really key to delivering real benefits for people with hearing loss.
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Our expertise is measured by our commitment to patient satisfaction, continuing education, and the application of current technologies. We understand that “value” is not measured by price alone. Rather how well we meet your expectations for service — how well we translate our knowledge into customized hearing solutions and the quality of the experience we offer to you.