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What is the difference between an Audiologist and Hearing Instrument Specialist?

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When you are looking for hearing health specialists, there are several professionals that you could visit. When there are numerous job titles that these people might have, it can be confusing. Two of the common types of professionals that you might come across is an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist (HIS). While both of these specialize in hearing health, they offer different experiences and have different backgrounds. Understanding the difference between the two and how each one might be able to help you if you have hearing loss or suspect that you do will ensure you can care for your hearing health.

The definition of an audiologist

An audiologist has a master's degree or a doctorate (AuD or PhD) in the field of audiology. They are certified and licensed to offer audiology services and care for people's hearing health. With their level of education, they have generally spent six to eight years learning about the subject of audiology. Audiologists are licensed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Board and are certified at both national and state levels. They can offer a range of services, including hearing tests and hearing device fitting. An audiologist can help to treat most hearing loss if it's caused by nerve damage.

Services offered by audiologists

Audiologists offer a wide range of services to help you take care of your hearing health. An audiologist can test your hearing and check the health of your ears. They can help to discover the causes of hearing loss, and they can diagnose and treat tinnitus too. In addition to this, audiologists are also able to offer help with hearing aids and other hearing devices. They can carry out hearing aid fittings and often are able to take care of hearing aid repairs too. An audiologist can offer almost all of the services that you might require to help you look after your hearing health. A hearing instrument specialist, on the other hand, has a more limited range of services and expertise.

The definition of a hearing instrument specialist

Whereas an audiologist has a number of years of specialist education in audiology, a hearing instrument specialist is more likely to have a high school education or perhaps an associate's degree. In some states, a hearing instrument specialist needs to pass a written exam to be certified. They also have the option of becoming board-certified hearing instrument specialists (BC-HIS) through the National Hearing Instrument Society. A hearing instrument specialist is knowledgeable about hearing aids and other assistive hearing devices.

Services offered by hearing instrument specialists

Hearing instrument specialists focus their services on fitting, recommending, and care for assistive hearing devices. Some HIS services might offer hearing tests, but these aren't always the full and thorough tests that will be carried out by an audiologist. A hearing instrument specialist can help people to find the right hearing devices, program them, and ensure they fit comfortably. Hearing instrument specialists also often offer repair for hearing devices and can help with cleaning or troubleshooting any problems.

The benefits of seeing an audiologist

Choosing an audiologist when you need a hearing care specialist is a smart decision. Audiologists are highly qualified and experienced and can offer you a range of services to help you take care of your hearing health. You can get everything that you need from an audiologist, from hearings tests to recommendations for hearing aids and even hearing aid repair. An audiologist has an advanced degree and can help you with all aspects of hearing care and hearing devices, whereas a hearing instrument specialist has a lower level of education and knowledge and experience more focused on hearing devices.

If you want to find a good audiologist, you can check that they are licensed at both state and national levels. You can check resources such as the Better Business Bureau and the audiologist's own website to find out about reviews, testimonials, and complaints. You might want to ask family and friends for referrals to see if they have had any good experiences with an audiologist. Remember to check their office hours and location to choose a convenient service.

Learn more about how an audiologist can help you from The Center for Audiology. You can call our Houston office (713-255-0035) or Pearland office (713-800-5050).