The Difference Between Hearing Instrument Specialists and Audiologists

With the addition of hearing aids to chain stores, there are more places than ever to purchase listening devices. To make matters more complicated, there are also different types of hearing aid providers to consider. In the world of hearing health, there are different tiers of hearing care professionals. Understanding these key differences will allow you to make educated decisions regarding your hearing health.

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Hearing Instrument Specialists (HIS)

Also known as hearing aid specialists or simply “dispensers,” these professionals are trained in hearing evaluations and fittings. Their knowledge is often gained on-the-job and does not require formalized training, though a few two-year hearing instrument science programs do exist. In order to receive a license to dispense, an individual must have either a diploma or GED and pass a qualifying exam. A hearing instrument specialist can test for hearing loss, select and sell hearing aids and take ear impressions for custom earmolds.

Audiologists (AuD)

An audiologist is considered an expert in the field of audiology. In order to become an audiologist, one must complete 6-8 years of higher education at either the doctorate or master level. In addition to the selection and fitting of hearing aids, audiologists are able to provide thorough diagnostics, evaluation and treatment for hearing and balance disorders.

The greatest difference between these two types of providers is their level of expertise. Both will strive to fit you with the best hearing aids possible, but the decision on which provider to select will ultimately be formed by your needs. Once it has been determined that your hearing loss does not require medical treatment, a hearing instrument specialist will be able to dispense a hearing device. If thorough diagnostics or medical treatment are required, you’ll want to visit an audiologist.

Regardless of which professional you choose, the important thing is that you are proactive about your hearing health. If you’re looking for a trusted audiologist in American Fork, we can help. Our staff specializes in providing patient-focused treatments for a range of hearing and balance disorders. For more information, we welcome you to contact our team at 801-763-0724!