Hi, thanks for stopping by!
I’m Michelle Couture-Souvenir, Doctor of Audiology, and I’d like to discuss and help you with some hearing help.
Today let’s talk a little bit about the difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist. To go into that subject, I would like to go back a little bit in time.
Back in the 1970s, audiologists were the diagnosticians and those that provided oral rehabilitation from hearing loss.
Hearing instrument specialists were the ones that were licensed to sell hearing devices.
So, audiologists would test and diagnose, and if a hearing aid were recommended, they would then refer the person to a hearing instrument specialist to purchase hearing devices.
Audiologists quickly realized that leaving this large portion of rehabilitation out of their practice wasn’t a very smart thing to do. So audiologists fought to include hearing aid fittings in their practice, which caused a battle between the two professions.
Good battle/bad battle – nonetheless, it existed, and today both professions are aloud to retail hearing devices.
The Key Differences
With everything, audiologists are great; some are not great – the same goes for hearing instrument specialists.
But there are differences. One of the biggest differences between the two professions is education. Audiologists are now required to have a doctorate level degree to practice audiology and be licensed within their state. This entails about 8 years of study.
Depending on what state they are in, a hearing instrument specialist may require an associate’s degree, or they may require a six-month certification course.
Another big difference between the two is the ability to do research. Historically, audiologists have always been very research-oriented to determine what our best practices are within our profession – whereas hearing instrument specialists have not.
They’ve been trained to be able to do some testing to determine what hearing aids are necessary and to be able to fit that hearing device.
Hearing instrument specialists may pursue certification for their profession, but not always.
I hope this video has helped provide a better understanding of the differences between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist.
If you or a loved one is looking for a trusted hearing healthcare provider, I would love to help you on your hearing health journey!
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