Audiologist vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser – do you know the difference between the two?
Imagine the cringe factor associated with taking your Rolls Royce or Ferrari to some cheap garage behind a warehouse in a seedy part of town. Doesn’t it make more sense to take your high-dollar automobile to a factory certified service center? A certified service center has the unique qualifications to provide the proper care for your car, while that seedy garage, well… I use this illustration to provide a simplified explanation of the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser. Although there are some similarities, the differences between an audiologist and a common hearing aid dispenser are significant.
Audiologist vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser : Similarities
Hearing aid dispensers and audiologists can help you select the type and design of various types of instruments and assisted listening devices, and provide you with a fitting service for the device you choose. Both conduct basic hearing tests, and both have the capacity to serve adult patients who require hearing assistance from a hearing instrument.
Audiologist vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser : Level of Care
Some hearing aid dispensers have advanced training in some testing and hearing aid devices, provide excellent fitting and maintenance services, and do a decent job when it comes to aftercare. However, the similarities between them and audiologists end at this point. An audiologist is a doctor with a license to practice their specific type of health care. Audiologists have the capacity and additional training to go beyond conducting a general hearing test to sell you a hearing aid. Doctors of audiology can conduct a broad range of diagnostic audiological evaluations such as:
• hearing sensitivity
• speech understanding
• middle and inner ear function
• auditory nerve function
Like the certified service center used in the illustration above, an audiologist has extensive training and knowledge reaching beyond the expertise and most advanced qualifications of a hearing aid dispenser. A doctor of audiology has an extensive range of treatment options and qualifications available to treat all types of patients, including children.
Unique Qualifications of an Audiologist
Doctors of audiology have a higher level of understanding and expertise specifically related to the physiological function of hearing. Qualifications unique to audiologists for serving our patients include:
• Legal Authorization to Bill Insurance Companies (private, Medicare, Medicaid)
• Cochlear Implants (candidacy examination and programming)
• Ototoxic Monitoring (auditory threat-related treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, others)
• Assessment and Treatment for Balance and Dizziness Disorders
• Capacity to Conduct Auditory Processing Assessments
• Providing Amplification Systems for Classrooms (design, selection, installation, monitoring)
• Aural Rehabilitation Therapy (instrument aided, non-aided, auditory processing disorders)
• Management of Cerumen (ear wax)
• Evaluation and Management of Tinnitus
• Provide Counseling for Patient and Family (diagnosis and treatment)
• Hearing Conservation Programs (development and implementation)
• Education and Prevention of Ototoxic and Vestibulatoxic Substance Abuse
• Research and Development of Evaluation Techniques and Rehabilitation Strategies
These distinctive characteristics are a part of the advanced hearing care of an audiologist and are not available from a hearing aid dispenser. Essentially, while hearing aid dispensers have the capacity to plaster over the problem with a hearing aid, a doctor of audiology seeks to provide you with far-reaching auditory solutions.
In addition to fitting our patients with the right hearing assistance devices, Alabama Hearing Associates meets a broader range of hearing health care needs, including years of after-care, follow-up appointments to evaluate progress, an extensive range of treatment options, and the qualified experience and expertise of a doctor dedicated to all aspects of healthy hearing.
Contact us to learn more about the hearing healthy solutions provided by Alabama Hearing Associates.