SIGNS AND CONSEQUENCES OF HEARING LOSS

Hearing loss can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate because of age, gender, demographic background or ethnicity. In addition to the noticeable signs of hearing loss, including asking for repetition or saying “What?” there are some warning signs that are not as obvious.  One of the most challenging aspects of hearing loss is the gradual progression in which it appears for some patients. Research shows it takes more than seven years from the time a patient notices they have to....

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AUDIOLOGIST VS. HEARING INSTRUMENT SPECIALISTS

With the addition of hearing aids to chain stores, there are more places than ever to purchase such devices. Making it even more complicated, there are also different levels of hearing health care professionals capable of working with individuals who have hearing loss, including audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. Understanding the key differences between these professionals will allow patients to make more educated decisions regarding their hearing health.

….FULL ARTICLE

HEARING AIDS VS. OVER-THE-COUNTER DEVICES

One of the most common questions I get after recommending hearing aid technology to a patient is: Why are they so expensive? This question not only stems from pricing advertised by local hearing healthcare providers, but also over-the-counter (OTC) devices that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost.

….FULL ARTICLE

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AUDIOLOGIST VS. HEARING INSTRUMENT SPECIALISTS

With the addition of hearing aids to chain stores, there are more places than ever to purchase such devices. Making it even more complicated, there are also different levels of hearing health care professionals capable of working with individuals who have hearing loss, including audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. Understanding the key differences between these professionals will allow patients to make more educated decisions regarding their hearing health.


Audiologists are health care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage patients with hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders. Audiologists have advanced levels of education, including master and doctoral degrees. Graduate programs focus on diagnosing and treating hearing loss and balance disorders, anatomy and physiology, normal and abnormal communication development, genetics, ethics, physics, pharmacology and much more. Audiologists are also required to complete over 2,000 hours of clinical experience while supervised by a seasoned professional. They are trained to diagnose and treat all types of hearing loss and to determine when a patient needs a medical referral.


The scope of practice for an audiologist is medically based. The type of hearing loss a patient has can indicate many pathologies. Audiologists are focused on doing as much as possible to understand this cause in order to ensure treatment is as successful and appropriate as possible.

Additionally, audiologists are trained to counsel patients about the level and type of their hearing loss, how hearing loss impacts daily communication and about a variety of communication strategies.


Hearing instrument specialists (HIS) are not required to have the same level of educational training as audiologists. In the state of Kentucky, an HIS must have a high school diploma or higher and work under another hearing health care professional for 12 months; they are not fully supervised during this time. Services provided by an HIS include testing, selection and fitting of hearing instruments.


Both audiologists and hearing instrument specialists must be licensed by the Kentucky Board of Specialists in Hearing Instruments. Both providers must pass a state board exam focused on the testing, selection and fitting of hearing instruments. Audiologists are also required to be licensed by the Kentucky Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. This license requires audiologists to pass the Praxis, a comprehensive examination covering all the years completed in graduate school.  

These differences can be telling as far as the expertise and services patients will receive when utilizing an audiologist versus a hearing instrument specialist. With all this information, there are still both good and bad audiologists, as well as good and bad hearing instrument specialists. The important thing is being informed on the differences between the hearing care professionals so that patients can make an educated decision on who to entrust their hearing health care.

DR TIFFANY BREWER

Dr. Tiffany Brewer completed her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) at the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine and her undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is licensed by the state of Kentucky as an Audiologist and Hearing Instrument Specialist.

more articles by Dr Tiffany Brewer