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Audiologist or Hearing Aid Specialist? What's the Difference?

Read on to learn the differences between an audiologist and hearing aid specialist.

If you’re looking for a hearing health professional, you’ll no doubt come across two varieties: audiologists and hearing aid specialists. 

It’s important to note, however, that the two are not the same. There’s a vast difference between them which could have an impact on the services and treatment you receive. 

What is a hearing aid specialist?

A hearing aid specialist is somebody who helps patients find the hearing aid that’s right for them. They can provide basic hearing tests and work more in-depth in the selection and fitting of hearing aids. Hearing aid specialists have to complete a high school diploma and, in some states, a two-year degree. They also have to become a board-certified hearing instrument specialist with the National Hearing Instrument Society. 

Hearing aid specialists, therefore, are not fully medically trained. Their primary role is to provide testing and fitting services for hearing aids. They help patients adjust their hearing aids, troubleshooting problems and provide adjustments. They also offer recommendations on the hearing aids that the patient should choose and whether they ought to use a behind-the-ear or in-the-ear devices. They may consult on the features they should consider when buying a hearing aid and which will help to improve their quality of life the most. 

What is an audiologist? 

The differences between an audiologist and a hearing aid specialist are stark. In terms of education, audiologists have to complete not only a medical qualification but also a Masters in Audiology. 

The level of training required to become an audiologist is much higher. And with that higher level of training, audiologists can provide more services. 

Audiologists, for instance, can diagnose hearing issues. They use a range of equipment to assess the state of your hearing and determine what’s causing your hearing loss. Most audiologists, for instance, have sound booths that they use to play different sounds to patients ears to test whether they have issues with their hearing or not. Audiologists also use a range of other tools and scanners to probe the health of the patient’s ears and find the root cause of any issue with their hearing. 

Because many audiologists have a background as ear, nose and throat doctors, they also have substantial understanding of the many things that can affect hearing, including injury. An audiologist, therefore, has vastly more knowledge to diagnose conditions that they encounter. A hearing aid specialist does not diagnose hearing loss issues. 

Audiologists can also treat people suffering from hearing loss, tinnitus and a range of other ear and hearing-related conditions. Audiologists may recommend that a person use a hearing aid, receive tinnitus retraining therapy for their tinnitus or remove impacted earwax. It fundamentally depends on the needs of the patient. Again, hearing aid specialists are not able to provide treatment to people with hearing loss. 

Why Choose an Audiologist

When it comes to choosing a hearing health professional, an audiologist is a much more comprehensive specialist.

If you need to make a quick adjustment to your hearing aids or want help choosing the right assistive hearing device for you, hearing aid specialists are great. If, however, you need a diagnosis or treatment, then audiologists are the way to go. Audiologists have vastly more experience in all matters of hearing health because of their longer and more focused education. 

Audiologists offer hearing health services across the age spectrum. They are specially trained, for instance, for dealing with children, toddlers and infants, and know how to test their hearing health too. Discovering whether a baby has a hearing health issue can be a challenge, but audiologists have a range of methods that they use. Audiologists are also trained in how to work with children and what language to use to communicate with them effectively. Again, discovering whether a child has a hearing health issue can be difficult, but it is vital if they are to get the treatment they need to develop normally. 

Audiologists are also able to treat a wide variety of hearing issues that hearing aid specialists cannot. If you have tinnitus, hearing loss, balance issues, or any other illness to do with the ears, they can help. Audiologists are medically-trained doctors who can prescribe a range of treatments and drugs to improve your situation. 

In general, people benefit the most from going to see the audiologist, especially if they believe that they may have a hearing health issue. Only audiologists can diagnose and treat conditions. 

If you’d like to learn more about how audiologists can help you, call Listen Hear Diagnostics at 347-450-9872. Get in touch with us today to find out more.