Why choose an Audiologist vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser?
An audiologist is a quality of life doctor who specializes in the auditory (hearing) and vestibular (balance) system to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat hearing loss, balance issues, and related conditions. Some people believe hearing aid dispensing companies are their only choice to seek treatment for hearing loss because they do not understand the difference between an audiologist and hearing aid dispenser (also known as hearing instrument specialist).
Consider an audiologist as the highly qualified and primary clinical care specialist for your auditory and vestibular system. An audiologist is the only licensed professional who can treat your comprehensive hearing and balance health. We are concerned with the wellness of your entire auditory and vestibular system, which includes your brain, as well as your ears.
Do not be misguided by the impression a white lab coat presents in the hearing care industry. Be well-informed and know in advance if you will be seen by an audiologist or HAD. While there are audiologists who work at some hearing aid dispensing (HAD) companies, the goal of the HAD company is to sell you hearing aids. Therefore, in that venue audiologists tend to focus on selling you hearing aids rather than your overall hearing and balance care and participating with your medical team. Grace Hearing and Language Services teams with your primary care physician (PCP) and/or otolaryngologist/ENT physician to preserve the integrity of your overall auditory and vestibular health.
Audiologists are employed in a variety of venues, including audiology private practices (like Grace Hearing and Language Services), ENT practices, hospitals, K-12 schools, residential state schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, military, residential health and long-term care facilities, non-profit agencies, hearing conservation programs, hearing aid manufacturers, and cochlear implant manufacturers, hearing aid dispensing companies, and big-box companies.
Hearing Aid Dispenser
|Doctor of Audiology degree required.||High school diploma required.|
|Adults and children; no age restriction.||Adults only.|
| Diagnostic audiologic evaluations including tests of hearing sensitivity, |
speech understanding, middle ear function, inner ear, and auditory
|Hearing tests for the purpose of selling hearing aids.|
|Design, selection, and fitting of hearing instruments and assistive listening devices.||Design, selection, and fitting of hearing instruments and assistive listening devices.|
|Legally permitted to bill Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies for diagnostic audiologic evaluations.||Not qualified to bill Medicaid, Medicare, and most insurance companies.|
|Cochlear implant candidacy examinations.||Not qualified.|
|Cochlear implant programming.||Not qualified.|
|Ototoxic monitoring for chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments posing a potential threat to the auditory system.||Not qualified.|
|Diagnostic assessments to identify balance/dizziness disorders.||Not qualified.|
|Auditory processing evaluations.||Not qualified.|
| Design, selection, installation and monitoring of classroom|
| Aural (re)habilitation therapy for hearing disorders to improve aided and unaided hearing (such as speech‐reading and language or modality|
|Aural (re)habilitation for auditory processing disorders.||Not qualified.|
|(Re)habilitation for vestibular (balance) disorders.||Not qualified.|
|Cerumen (ear wax) management related or unrelated to diagnostic audiologic evaluation, hearing aid use, or ear impressions.||Not qualified.|
|Evaluation and management of tinnitus (ringing in the ears).||Not qualified.|
|Patient and family counseling related to diagnosis and treatment.||Not qualified.|
| Development and implementation of hearing conservation programs|
to prevent hearing loss.
|Education and prevention of the use of ototoxic, vestibulotoxic substances (pharmaceutical, over-the-counter, and nutraceutical)||Not qualified.|
|Research and development of new evaluation techniques and rehabilitation strategies.||Not qualified.|