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hearing instrument specialist?
You haven’t been hearing well lately and decide it’s time to have your hearing checked. Whom do you call? Among the qualified hearing care professionals in your area are some with an HIS designation. What does that mean and how is it different from an audiologist? Let’s take a look:
What does a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) do?
A hearing instrument specialist is a state-licensed hearing care professional who has been trained to evaluate common types of hearing loss in adults, and to dispense hearing aids. Every state licenses hearing instrument specialists, and in some states, they are also known as hearing aid dispensers, hearing aid dealers or hearing instrument dealers. Hearing instrument specialists typically use the initials HIS after their name, or in some cases, HAD or other initials depending on their state.
People with a hearing instrument specialist license can:
- administer and interpret hearing tests, such as immittance screening, pure tone screening and otoacoustic screening, as well as air or bone conduction and speech audiometry
- select, fit, program, dispense and maintain hearing aids
- take ear impressions
- design, prepare and modify ear molds
- repair non-functional or damaged hearing aids
- in some states, hearing instrument specialists may remove earwax
Every state requires that individuals be licensed to perform these tasks.
Is a hearing instrument specialist right for me?
As in any profession, there are variations in the skill level, experience and expertise of hearing instrument specialists. If you’re an adult with common age-related hearing loss or noise-induced mild to severe hearing loss that cannot be corrected medically, a hearing instrument specialist may be the right professional to help you hear better with hearing aids.
If you have special needs, your hearing loss is more complex, or you could benefit from the additional education someone with a doctorate has, a licensed audiologist may be the best choice for you.
What is the difference between a hearing instrument specialist and an audiologist?
Education and scope of service are the two major differences between the two types of hearing care professionals. While hearing instrument specialists are trained to administer hearing evaluations to fit hearing aids, audiologists are trained to perform full diagnostic evaluations of the auditory system from the outer ear to the brain. Audiologists often work closely with otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) to diagnose and treat complex hearing problems.
To become an audiologist in the United States today, a person must earn a Doctorate in Audiology (AuD), and become licensed by the state they are practicing in. (Previously a masters degree in audiology was required and those audiologists with that degree who were practicing before the requirement changed may be grandfathered to continue practicing.) Audiologists are authorized to work with infants, children, adults, the elderly and patients with special needs.
More: What is an audiologist?
Educational requirements of hearing instrument specialists
Hearing instrument specialists’ educational requirements are less than audiologists’ requirements and vary by state. Every state establishes their own set of requirements, but at a minimum, hearing instrument specialists must have a high school diploma and complete a rigorous training program. Most of these training programs combine classroom or distance learning with a requisite number of hours of hands-on experience supervised by licensed hearing care professionals and can take up to two years. The required program of study for hearing instrument specialists includes anatomy of the ear, acoustics, assessment and testing of hearing, hearing aid selection and fitting, hearing aid technology, counseling and other topics.
The licensure process
When hearing instrument specialist candidates have successfully completed the training program designated by their state, they must pass an exam to become licensed. The testing combines both written and practical examinations judged by a board of examiners. After they pass the examination process, hearing instrument specialist candidates must then apply for licensure from their state. That process includes a background check.
To maintain their required professional licensure and stay current with developing changes in the hearing care industry, hearing instrument specialists are required to complete a minimum number of semi-annual continuing education hours.
After a hearing instrument specialist has been licensed and practicing for at least two years, they become eligible to apply for board certification in hearing instrument sciences. The board certification process includes passing a psychometric exam developed by the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences Exam Committee. Hearing instrument specialists who are board certified use the NBC-HIS designation after their names.
Where do hearing instrument specialists typically work?
Hearing instrument specialists often work for hearing clinics, healthcare organizations, such as hospitals and ENT practices, or hearing aid manufacturers. They may also own their own hearing care practices.
Where to go for help
If you need a hearing healthcare professional, don’t delay. Many clinics employ both hearing instrument specialists and audiologists working together as a team. Our online directory can help you find a qualified hearing care provider near you.
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Frequently Asked Questions About what does a hearing aid specialist do
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what does a hearing aid specialist do, then this section may help you solve it.
What distinguishes a hearing aid specialist from an audiologist?
An audiologist can complete a deep dive into a hearing issue, for example, they will be able to offer an evaluation and diagnosis of a hearing issue. Hearing problems can be caused by a range of medical issues. A hearing aid specialist is limited to providing the right hearing aid support.
What qualifications are necessary to become a hearing aid expert?
Specialists in Hearing Aids: Skills and Capabilities
- Understand spoken information.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Listen to others and ask questions.
- Understand written information.
- Read and understand work-related materials.
- Write clearly so other people can understand.
Is working as a specialist in hearing aids stressful?
Even though the work is not typically physically demanding or stressful, it does call for meticulous attention to detail and intense concentration. Actually, when you think about it, hearing instrument specialists fit that description as well.
Is working as an expert in hearing aids a good job?
The Verdict A career as a hearing aid specialist offers a stable career opportunity for years to come, pays an annual salary of at least 0,00, and has flexible working hours.
Do I need an audiologist to purchase a hearing aid?
Yes, OTC hearing aids can be purchased without first visiting an audiologist; however, prescription hearing aids must be obtained from an audiologist or hearing care specialist if the patient has severe hearing loss that cannot be managed with OTC aids.
Do people refer to audiologists as doctors?
Audiologists are medical doctors who specialize in the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the auditory and vestibular systems of the ear, most frequently dealing with hearing loss, tinnitus, or balance problems.
DO YOU NEED A levels to work as a dispenser of hearing aids?
You may need to work in the audiology industry to qualify for the Foundation Degree or Diploma of Higher Education in Hearing Aid Audiology. Level 3 A-levels or equivalents are typically required.
Without a degree, is it possible to become an audiologist?
You must complete an audiology degree that has been authorized by the Health and Care Professions Council in order to work as an audiologist in the private sector.
What’s it like to dispense hearing aids?
You may need to adjust or manipulate devices to make sure they fit a patient’s ear canal. It’s likely that your position will require you to sell hearing devices to patients. As a hearing aid specialist, you’ll be expected to conduct hearing tests and make recommendations for hearing devices.
Is intelligence required to become an audiologist?
First and foremost, audiologists are extremely intelligent. They hold an advanced-level degree, go to school for a number of years, spend time working in a clinical setting before receiving their degree, and then they must pass a difficult state licensing exam.
How much money do Costco hearing aid salespeople make?
The average Costco Wholesale Hearing Aid Dispenser hourly pay in the United States is roughly $3.69, which is 107% more than the national average.
What is the name of a hearing specialist?
If you have issues with your hearing or balance, an audiologist can diagnose the issue. You can go to them for specialized tests that your doctor or a hearing aid specialist can’t carry out.
Should I visit an ENT or an audiologist?
An audiologist will have a more in-depth understanding of how these parts of your body relate specifically to your hearing rather than to your general health. Both audiologists and ENTs deal with issues of the ear canal and inner ear. Both are able to make diagnoses and administer a range of treatments.
Can an audiologist clean my ears of wax?
In many cases, audiologists will use a vacuum to remove large globs of earwax from your ear while also loosening any bits of earwax stuck to the sides of your ear. This method offers a thorough clean that is hygienic, carried out by a professional, safe, and ultimately quick.