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Difference between Hearing Instrument Specialist and an Audiologist

Hearing Doctors

If you’re having issues with your hearing you need to see a specialist. You may not realize this, but you have a number of experts that you can consider booking an appointment with. For instance, you can choose between seeing an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist. Both professionals can help you when you need support with your hearing, but there are differences in the services they provide. Let’s look at exactly what this means and determine which expert is right for you?

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist can provide a far more advanced and in-depth service to you compared to the typical HIS or hearing instrument specialist. When you speak to an audiologist, you will find that they can diagnose, treat and manage a range of hearing issues from balance problems to tinnitus and of course hearing loss.

In terms of training, an audiologist must have a doctorate or master’s degree in their field. This is to make sure that they have the knowledge and indeed the expertise to treat and diagnose the full range of issues that can develop with your hearing. Remember, hearing issues can have a variety of causes from neurological to neglect or even surgical issues. As such, an audiologist must be trained in all these areas. As well as this, they need to know about pharma, physics, ethics and genetics as well.

Indeed, audiologists will spend years training and will continue research and studies even when they begin working as a fully qualified professional. An audiologist can provide additional levels of care, offering both hearing aids and therapeutic treatments. They receive training to help their patients understand their condition and the impact this has on their life, putting coping mechanisms in place to ensure they can get the best quality of life possible.

Additionally, an audiologist can make sure that individuals know how to operate and work their devices. They can also provide expertise on the type of devices that an individual might need if hearing aids aren’t providing the right level of support.

What are hearing instrument specialists?

There are few differences that you need to be aware of when deciding whether to see a HIS or an audiologist. Firstly, while they can have a similar level of qualification and training, they are not legally required to. They will typically only need a national board of certification in their chosen area and at least a high school diploma. As well as this, they can provide testing, help when selecting your hearing aids and the fit the hearing instruments.

The main difference aside from the level of training is that a HIS is limited in what they can do for you. They can only test hearing to provide and dispense hearing aids. They cannot provide more in-depth examinations or explorations of a condition. They certainly won’t be able to diagnose the cause of your condition. This is an issue as hearing problems can develop due to a cause that is completely treatable.

An audiologist has the full scope of training needed to expertly evaluate, diagnose and treat a broad range of auditory issues, such as hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders. Because they learn not only how to test hearing, but how to assess the cause behind a possible loss, they are invaluable when it comes to proper diagnosis and treatment methods. Hearing instrument specialists are typically limited to evaluating individuals with age-related hearing loss and don’t often work with children or other auditory conditions.

When do you need an audiologist?

The bottom line is simple. If you are struggling with a hearing issue that has not yet been diagnosed and is a complete mystery to you, then you need to see an audiologist. Remember, even issues many people think have no cure like tinnitus can be caused by a physical issue that can be treated by a suitable expert. As such, it is always worth looking to get a diagnosis first. You can do this by speaking with an audiologist and getting a thorough examination.

Your audiologist is also well-versed in caring and maintaining your hearing aids. They can offer repairs if you experience an issue with your device or simply need a professional cleaning, an audiologist is perfectly knowledgeable and capable of handling any hearing aid concerns.

Do you think you might need the support of an expert audiologist? Contact Hearing Health Care today at (843) 488-2717 for our Conway office, or (843) 497-6156 for our Myrtle Beach location to get help and advice on how to proceed with a treatment plan and a diagnosis.