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Hearing Instrument Specialist versus a Hearing Aid Dispenser

Hearing Instrument Specialist versus a Hearing Aid Dispenser

Your hearing health is worth protecting, so you want to ensure that you choose the right professional to help whenever you have a concern or complaint you want to address. There are different types of hearing health professionals at your disposal, and it can be difficult to tell the difference. This is even more true of telling the difference between similarly named professionals, such as a hearing instrument specialist and a hearing aid dispenser.

To ensure that you get the kind of service that you want from the qualified, educated professional that you need, we’re going to look at the differences, and exactly what factors separate the varying hearing health professionals.

The different hearing health professionals

Though they might be called different things, there is no meaningful difference between the hearing instrument specialist and the hearing aid dispenser. They are two different names for the same thing, also known as hearing aid specialists. Simply put, they are trained to provide hearing tests specifically in order to select, sell, and fit hearing aids. However, if you need something beyond that service, there is another category that can help: the audiologist. 

About hearing instrument specialists and hearing aid dispensers

A minimum of a high school diploma, or something equivalent, is necessary to become a hearing instrument specialist or hearing aid dispenser. They have to go through further vocational training to carry out hearing tests and learn more about the hearing aid market. Though not clinically trained, they do have to be licensed by the state in order to offer their services.

As mentioned, hearing aid dispensers and hearing instrument specialists are trained specifically to carry out hearing tests. They aren’t trained to diagnose hearing loss, nor to deal with any other hearing or ear health issues. Their primary goal is to help those who are looking for hearing aids. As a result, they help clients complete an audiogram, showing the extent and kind of hearing loss they have, and help them select and fit hearing aids best suited to their needs.

Hearing instrument specialists/hearing aid dispensers can also help with learning how to use, maintain, and program hearing aids. They can also be useful sources of advice and help when it comes to troubleshooting and maintaining a device that is malfunctioning or broken.

About audiologists

By comparison, audiologists have to go through a lot more training and education before they can work with patients. They have to go through academic and medical training, earning a Master’s or Doctorate in Audiology, and many specialize in more specific fields. Furthermore, they have to go through hours of supervised training under a senior audiologist before they’re able to practice on their own.

Audiologists offer a much broader range of services. They can carry out hearing tests and help patients select hearing aids, but they are also licensed to diagnose hearing loss. They are medical professionals with an understanding of ear, hearing, and balance health. As such, they can also help with other issues such as vertigo and tinnitus. For those living with hearing loss, they can also help them learn more about communication strategies, hearing aid care, and other treatments that can greatly improve their quality of life.

Unlike most hearing instrument specialists or hearing aid dispensers, audiologists are also trained to work with a broad range of patients, including the elderly, children, and those with special needs. They frequently work with ear, nose, and throat doctor to provide a high standard of care for a wide variety of different health issues.

Which should you choose?

Depending on your needs, either professional could potentially serve you. However, if you’re looking for more extensive care, an audiologist is able to deliver diagnosis, management and treatment of conditions impacting your entire auditory system. This means whether it is hearing loss, tinnitus or vertigo, they will be able to assess your issues and recommend the right course of treatment for the relief you need. Additionally, they are experts in hearing technology, making them a well-rounded option for your hearing healthcare needs. Audiologists can dispense, fit, maintain and repair hearing aids.

Either way, making sure that the professional of your choice has the training, reputation and service you deserve is key. Hearing Health Care is glad to help lay any concerns to rest and to answer any questions you might have. Get in touch with us by calling our Myrtle Beach office at 843-497-6156 or our Conway office at 943-488-2717.