Do you think you may have a hearing loss? Are you in need of hearing aids? Then you’ll be wanting to see an Audiologist, right? Or maybe you’re thinking of going straight to a hearing instrument dispenser instead? Before you make that decision – and it’s a very important one when it comes to finding the right kind of care for your hearing – let us tell you the difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument dispenser.
Both an audiologist and a hearing instrument dispenser can give you a hearing test and fit you with hearing aids. But that is where the similarity ends. There is a whole lot of difference in their training and the level of care they provide.
Hearing instrument dispensers are trained specifically to carry out hearing tests and subsequently fit and sell hearing aids to you. This training involves work experience supervised by a licensed hearing aid dispenser. They must also pass a state written and oral exam.
Audiologists are trained to diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders, which includes carrying out hearing tests and fitting hearing aids. Their training involves studying a range of subjects at university, from anatomy and physiology to acoustics and psychophysics. There is so much information to learn that they must complete both an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree in Audiology. After all of this, they are still not qualified. They need to complete a minimum of 350 hours of patient care, twelve months of supervised work experience and pass a national exam. Once qualified, they have to undergo Continuing Education (CE) by completing accredited CE courses.
Care provided to you
A hearing instrument dispenser can provide you with a hearing test, fit you with hearing aids of your choice, and show you how to use and maintain your hearing aids.
An Audiologist can do all of the above but is also qualified to fully assess your hearing health to determine exactly what is behind your hearing loss. This ensures that they can provide you with all of your treatment options, including hearing aids, as well as provide you with continuing aftercare as your hearing health changes over the years.
Lifestyle factors often play a big part in how your ability to hear changes over time. At Big Thicket Hearing Aids & Audiology, our Audiologist, Dr. Joni Ruiz, is experienced in dealing with hearing damage caused by lifestyle factors that particularly affect our local community. That’s why when you come to see Dr. Ruiz about your hearing health, you can be certain you’ll get expert help and advice that really makes a difference in your life.
Get in touch
Dr. Joni Ruiz is the owner and Doctor of Audiology at Big Thicket Hearing Aids and Audiology. She earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009 from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. Selected for a prestigious fourth-year externship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ruiz has more than ten years’ experience as an Audiologist. She has a heart for patient-centered care. At her hearing care practice, she performs comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations, provides aural rehabilitation to her patients and their loved ones, dispenses state of the art hearing aids, and manages the care of said devices for their life. Dr. Ruiz is dedicated to patient education regarding hearing loss, hearing protection, and hearing aid selection.