Frequently Asked Questions about Audiologists
This article covers some commonly asked questions about audiologists, with an aim to help you make the right decision when choosing which kind of hearing care provider is best suited to meet your needs.
- Can audiologists dispense hearing aids? Yes, audiologists can dispense hearing aids if they have a hearing aid dispensing license, which many of them do. If you think that you may wish to try hearing aids, make sure you choose an audiologist who also has a dispensing license, this information should be available on their website.
- Is it true that audiologists have a wider range of testing methods available to them than hearing instrument specialists? Yes, again. Audiologists undergo an extensive eight years of education and training (at a minimum), which fully qualifies them to implement a wide variety of hearing tests which go far beyond basic pure tone audiometry. For instance, Auditory Brainstem Response Testing (ABR), which allows them to assess the hearing ability of people who may not be able to participate in standard tests, such as babies, young children and people with mental impairments.
- Can audiologists diagnose the type and cause of my hearing loss? Yes, in most cases, though there are some very rare instances in which patients may need to be referred to other specialists such as an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT). Hearing instrument specialists are not qualified to diagnose hearing loss, so if you are suffering from anything other than age-related sensorineural hearing loss which is common among older adults, you would need to see an audiologist.
- Can audiologists treat all types of hearing loss? Yes (barring extremely rare cases), unlike hearing instrument specialists who can only dispense hearing aids, audiologists can treat all kinds of hearing loss and have a variety of treatment options at their disposal, such as: cochlear implants, assistive technologies, aural rehabilitation, counseling and recovery programs.
- Are audiologists more expensive than hearing instrument specialists? Not necessarily. Many people wrongly assume that treatment or hearing devices purchased from an audiologist will be costlier due to their higher level of expertise, this isn’t the case. In fact, one recent national survey found that there was no discernible difference in the amount of money spent on similar services and products, whether they were obtained from an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist. Furthermore, patients who were treated by audiologists generally reported a higher level of satisfaction from the money that they spent.
- Can audiologists program, repair or adjust hearing aids? In most cases, yes. If the audiologist has a hearing aid dispensing licence, they will have taken a training course and passed an exam enabling them to appropriately program and make adjustments to the programming of assistive hearing devices. Many audiologists can carry out basic repairs from their offices should your hearing aid stop working, though there are some cases in which your aid may need to be returned to the manufacturer.