Not all hearing practitioners are the same

Thu, 03/31/2022 - 4:00am

Choosing a hearing aid and hearing aid provider can be a difficult decision. There are two types of licensed professionals that can sell and fit hearing aids in the state of Rhode Island:
• Hearing Aid Dispenser (otherwise known as a Hearing Instrument Specialist)

• Certified Clinical Audiologist
A Hearing Aid Dispenser is focused on the sale of hearing aids and has the ability to test your hearing, but only those tests relevant to the fitting and sale of hearing aids. A hearing aid dispenser must have a high school diploma and may have the minimal requirements of sixty days of supervised training with completion of a state examination in order to obtain licensure.

An Audiologist is a professional with a graduate degree in Audiology: either a Master’s Degree in Audiology or a Doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) An Audiologist is typically trained in Communication Sciences as an undergraduate before completing the graduate level certification program necessary to become an Audiologist.

Audiologists are the primary health care professionals who evaluate and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. The Audiologist has the skill to perform complete audiological evaluations in order to determine the type and severity of hearing loss and provide
appropriate referrals or recommendations. The Audiologist understands how hearing loss affects communication with others and quality of life. The Audiologist takes into account all the needs of the patient when selecting and fitting hearing aids : dexterity, home life, visual acuity, family support, to name a few. They build their practice on the care of hearing - not on the sale of hearing aids.

There are numerous hearing aid centers in and around our communities. Most do not have Audiologists onsite. It is important to feel that your interests and concerns are being addressed when you purchase a hearing aid. It is appropriate to ask the person who is selling you hearing aids about their education and experience.