Scott Marquardt, Au.D.
What’s the difference between an Audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser?
If you have a hearing loss, you may be grappling with the decision of whether to see an Audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser to get your hearing tested and hearing aids fitted. We know what we’d do, but to help you make an informed decision, we’ve broken down the differences between an Audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser, so you can decide for yourself.
The lowdown on hearing aid dispensers
Hearing aid dispensers are trained in how to conduct hearing tests and fit hearing aids with the purpose of selling these hearing aids to you.
Requirements to become a hearing aid dispenser vary slightly from state to state but in general, here are the must haves:
- be 18 years old or older
- be of good moral character
- undergo relevant work experience under the supervision of a licensed hearing aid dispenser
- pass a state written and oral exam
And, well, that’s it.
On to the Audiologists
Audiologists can diagnose, monitor, and treat any hearing and balance disorders. They learn about a wide range of subjects while at university and on the job in order to do this, including: anatomy, physiology, amplification devices, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics, counseling, and sign language.
Here are the requirements they need to meet:
- complete an undergraduate degree in audiology
- complete a Master’s or Doctoral degree in audiology
- have at least 350 hours of patient care under their belt from an accredited college or university
- complete 12 months of supervised work experience as part of an accredited program
- pass the national exam set by the Board of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
- show a commitment to Continuing Education (CE) through completing accredited CE courses.
As you can see, becoming an Audiologist involves a lot of academic study and rigorous professional training. At Clarity Hearing, all of our Audiologists have gone through this process and continue to keep up to date with advances in the field.
What does the FDA say?
The FDA recommends that anyone looking to get hearing aids should first get their hearing evaluated by a licensed Physician or Audiologist. They especially recommend this in cases where hearing loss comes with pain or has worsened in the last 3 months.