Clear hearing is an important aspect of your daily interactions, whether personal or professional. So, when you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss or another auditory-related condition, it’s imperative that you seek the best possible support. While there are many issues to consider, finding the right type of hearing professional should always be top of the agenda.

With so many different kinds of professionals available, it’s very easy to feel confused and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. Audiologists and hearing instrument specialists (HIS) are the most likely solutions, and knowing the difference between the two will help you make a more calculated decision.

Here’s all you need to know:


Perhaps the clearest distinction between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist revolves around the scope of their expertise. The HIS specializes in conducting hearing examinations and evaluations with the exclusive aim of helping patients gain the best hearing aids for their lifestyle and severity of hearing loss.

Hearing instrument specialists are very efficient and effective in what they do. However, they are only permitted to work with adults. Conversely, an audiologist can provide the hearing examinations along with a host of other services including full diagnostic evaluations that cover every auditory element from the outer ear through to the brain.

In addition to diagnosing hearing loss, Meniere’s disease, tinnitus, and other hearing issues, audiologists are committed to discovering the root of those problems. For a comprehensive approach to hearing health, an audiologist is the best solution by far.


Given the fact that they cover a far broader range of hearing-related issues, it’s no surprise to learn that audiologists boast a greater level of formal academic education. The average hearing instrument specialist has a high school degree and certification, with their training focusing on practical skills and vocation.

An audiologist will have a graduate level degree and will spend much of their schooling learning the anatomy of the ear. This makes them far more qualified to not only diagnose and test hearing loss, but to also examine other possible auditory conditions, such as tinnitus.

As well as learning the technical skills, they also develop the theoretical understanding needed to determine the root of those hearing problems. Not all clients will require this level of expertise, especially if they are merely getting fitted for hearing aids, but anyone that’s a little unsure about their situation should probably see an audiologist first.


The experience levels can vary massively from one audiologist to the next, which is also true of hearing instrument specialists. As such, you’ll always want to do your research to find the right expert regardless of which route you take. However, it is worth noting that audiologists have to undergo supervised training, even after their academic studies have been completed.

This ultimately guarantees that audiologists have been taught how to complete the practical aspects, as well as the research elements of the diagnostics, in the most efficient manner while also adhering the standardized industry expectations. Audiologists will be much more versed in identifying the different types and possible causes of your hearing loss, whereas the HIS typically works with individuals who have age-related hearing loss. Additionally, your audiologist will be able to help counsel your family members on the best ways they can help you monitor your hearing loss or even adjust to your hearing aids.


As with experience levels, compassion is something that varies from person to person. But while the hearing instrument specialists may boast the same level of empathy and human understanding, they do not boast the credentials or level of understanding required to provide practical solutions to common issues that you may face as a result of your hearing loss.

Audiologists are trained to counsel patients while they can provide advice on assistive listening devices (ALDs) and other devices that may be used to make daily life more comfortable. Given that this is the whole purpose of wearing hearing aids or treating the ear-related issues in the first place, this aspect makes a huge difference.

This can be an imposing time in your life, and while plenty of HIS experts do boast the human empathy needed to comfort you, only an audiologist combines this with effective support needed to gain the best results. For peace of mind, as well as daily comforts, they are the best solution.

Book an appointment today

If you need to see an audiologist, it’s vital that you book an appointment with the right specialist. With Pacific Audiology Clinic, your hearing health is in safe hands.

Give us a call at (503) 719-4208 today!