Realising that you may be experiencing hearing loss isn’t easy. If you have reached this point, it is important you get the right care and support. But who should you turn to for that help, an audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser?

Well, let’s take a look at the differences between the two and what that means for you.

What qualifications do they have?

Both an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser have to complete high school and that’s where the similarity ends.

A hearing aid dispenser has to pass an exam to qualify. In some states this is the only requirement, while in others they may also need to have two years of further education after high school in any subject area or complete some distance learning coursework.

An audiologist has to complete undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in audiology, which takes a full eight years. They also need to undergo a job training placement and pass a national exam. Only then will they become a certified audiologist, licensed to practice. And it doesn’t end there; they have to keep up with continued education in their field if they want to keep practicing.

What do they know by the time they’ve qualified?

A hearing aid dispenser focuses on learning how to test patients’ hearing with the specific goal of fitting patients with hearing aids that patients can then buy.

With all of the extra years an audiologist spends studying, they cover a wide range of subjects, including: the anatomy and physiology of hearing, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics, amplification devices and auditory rehabilitation.

What can they do for you?

A hearing aid dispenser can test your hearing to fit you with a hearing aid and can help resolve technical issues you may have with your hearing aid. For example, if it gets damaged or is producing feedback.

An audiologist can test your ability to hear and balance to diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders. They can continue to monitor the health of your hearing and provide the most appropriate treatment so you can communicate more easily and connect with the world around you.

In East Tennessee, our audiologists at Physicians Hearing Care, are waiting to help you hear better. To take the first steps towards healthier hearing, book your hearing assessment online or call us at (865) 693-6065.

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Dr. Kalyn Bradford Au.D.

Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the director of hearing aid services here at Physician's Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician's Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a clinical audiologist, where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as director of hearing aid services, where she does an excellent job managing the audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.