When it comes to hearing loss, you will find that there are different professionals and specialists for various stages of diagnosing and treating hearing loss. It can seem difficult to keep up with all the different titles that they have, and as such, people tend to just switch off and not even know the title of the person who is performing their hearing tests or screenings. But, something that you need to ask yourself is how do you know that you can trust this person with your hearing health if you don’t know what qualifications they hold? It is comparable to going to a doctors office, and not knowing whether the person sitting in front of you was a doctor or a nurse. Both are qualified and able to perform certain services, but where one might specialize in one area, the other does something else. 

In this article, we are going to be looking at the difference between a hearing aid specialist and a hearing aid dispenser so that next time you go for a hearing visit, you can be aware of exactly who is treating you. 

What is a hearing instrument specialist?

A hearing instrument specialist has to complete specialized certification to practice. This licensure includes an intensive training program that prepare the professional to work with individuals afflicted by hearing loss. Once certified, they will be able to conduct hearing loss tests, fit hearing aids, repair devices and help you with other conditions that impact your auditory system. Hearing instrument specialists may be found in their own private practice, hospital setting or with other hearing health professionals.

What is a hearing aid dispenser?

A hearing aid dispenser will be licensed to conduct audiometric testing on patients in order to sell and fit hearing aids only. A hearing aid dispenser is not qualified to diagnose or treat any kind of other hearing or balance problem. The requirements for this role are a little more flexible than to become a hearing instrument specialist, and it varies from state to state what they are prior to taking the exam. If these requirements are met, the individual will have to sit an exam and pass. 

It is usually the case that the requirements for taking the exam are the minimum education necessary for the person to practice safely once they pass the exam. Like we said above, this does vary from state to state, so in one place it could be a high school diploma, and somewhere else you could need at least two years at college before you can apply for a license. 

How can you find the right professional?

Finding the right hearing care professional is important to getting the treatment you need and deserve. There are several ways you can find a hearing instrument specialist or hearing aid dispenser, including: the internet, family and friends and referral from a primary care provider. When selecting a hearing care professional, make sure you find an office that is convenient to your lifestyle and situation. This means finding an office that is close to your home or work, as well as one that offers appointments on days and times that work best for you.

When evaluating your options, look at the professional’s website to find out more about their center. Pay attention to what hearing aids they offer, because if you do have hearing loss this will be the most widely recommended treatment. Look for a professional that has a variety of manufacturers and models available; this will ensure you are able to find the absolute best solution for your specific needs.

You may also want to look at what types of services the professional provides. Are you looking for someone that can perform an ear cleaning, or do you simply need to take your hearing aids in for repairs? Check to make sure the professional you are considering has the specific services and products you need.

You can also look for reviews from real patients. These reviews will provide an authentic glimpse into the type of treatment you can expect to receive from this professional.

Finding the right hearing health professional is vital to your hearing health. Remember to evaluate your options carefully and don’t be afraid to talk to the staff to learn more. If you want to learn more about the professionals at Pacific Audiology Clinic, give us a call at 503-719-4208. We will be more than happy to assist you in finding the best care possible for your issues.