When it comes to diagnosing and treating hearing loss, there has been a lot of confusion from patients about the different hearing health professionals. It is still common for people today to end up being screened, fitted or tested for a hearing aid without actually knowing what qualifications the person in question boasts. We simply assume that the professional in question must have the correct qualifications for the job, otherwise they would not be carrying it out, right?
Who should you visit if you’re experiencing hearing issues? One thing you need to understand when it comes to this question is the difference between a hearing aid dispenser and an audiologist. A lot of people do not know the variations in the two roles. An audiologist is some that has a degree and they have trained specifically in the anatomy of hearing. On the other hand, to be a hearing aid dispenser, you must become certified and apply for a license, in addition to extensive training in working with hearing technology. With that being said, continue reading to find out everything you need to know about both roles so that you can get a better understanding of the differences between them.
What is an audiologist?
This is an individual that has received comprehensive training when it comes to diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders relating to the balance and hearing system. They have been trained in areas such as auditory rehabilitation, psychophysics, acoustics, electrophysiology, cochlear implants, amplification devices, physiology and anatomy.
At a minimum, an audiologist will complete an undergraduate and graduate-level degree in audiology. There will also be an externship, which is supervised, before the professional can get national certification and state licensure. This typically means that there is going to be around six to eight years of post-secondary education. This will be four years in undergraduate education and then two to four years in grad school. The studies in graduate school will enable the individual to focus on the rehabilitative, diagnostic and medical elements of the vestibular system, hearing aids and hearing loss. Once training has been completed, an audiologist will also be required to pass a national standardized examination so that they can get a state licensure. For this to be kept, continuing education requirements is a must.
What is a hearing aid dispenser?
Now that you have a good idea regarding what an audiologist is, let’s take a look at the role of a hearing aid dispenser so that you can get a better understanding of this. This is someone who has a license for performing audiometric testing to dispense and fit hearing devices. For this individual to get the license, they must become certified and take an exam. Before this test is taken, there are a number of different requirements that they need to meet. These requirements will depend on where the professional is located and wants to practice. In some states, it is required that a hearing aid dispenser has completed two years of post-secondary education or college in any field before they are able to make an application for a license. Some states will also ask that distance learning coursework is completed before the exam is taken. Hearing aid dispensers are experts when it comes to hearing technology. They are familiar with the top manufacturers in the industry and can help you determine which features and style of hearing aid will be most beneficial to your specific needs, whether it is a powerful behind-the-ear (BTE) model with noise reduction features, or a discreet in-the-canal (ITC) option with Bluetooth.
While there are clear differences between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser, both professionals can be essential to your hearing care depending on your needs. Both professionals provide invaluable services to individuals with hearing loss. For expert care in hearing technology, fitting, maintenance, cleaning and repairs, a hearing aid dispenser has the extensive training needed to fully understand the capabilities of these devices. For more medically-related services like balance issues, earwax impactions and hearing loss caused by noise exposure, an audiologist may be more suited to your needs. Both professionals can carry out hearing aid maintenance, cleaning and repairs, in addition to fitting and adjustments.
If you are looking for a professional to assess your current level of hearing loss or to provide you with the device you need to restore the quality of life, you should get in touch with a professional at Hear Again America.