Variations Between The Job Descriptions Of Hearing Instrument Specialists And Audiologists

Often, those who have hearing problems will require services from both an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist (HIS). However, most are not aware of the fact that the two professions are actually different. Indeed, it is almost as if only those who have had hearing problems actually understand that there is a difference in the first place. Let’s take a look at the two in order to understand this difference.

In terms of audiologists, it is important to understand that they work within primary health care. There role is to work with both children and adults. Their first role is to evaluate as well as diagnose hearing problems, including vestibular disorders (disorders of balance) and hearing loss. Secondly, they will prescribe hearing aids, as well as fitting and dispensing them. Their job description also includes working with a range of other hearing products, including sound amplification devices. When dealing with cochlear implants, they work as part of an integrated health care team. Also, they work with patients who require surgery for their ears or hearing, monitoring their progress. Their role is also to work on hearing conservation, designing and implementing these procedures. Additionally, they work with newborn babies, delivering hearing screening programs. Additionally, they deliver auditory training, including listening skills, to their patients. Finally, they work with those who have central auditory processing disorders, delivering treatment and assessment.

This is very different from the hearing instrument specialists. They test clients with the goal of selling a hearing aid to them. Audiologists have received far more in-depth training than what a HIS has. The biggest training they have received is around testing hearing, which they deliver on adults. They are able to recognize medical conditions relating to hearing and will refer their clients to the appropriate professional. Not only will they recommend a hearing aid, they also fit them. The HIS tends to have some medical training, but this is usually more through experience and by undertaking short courses to achieve a baseline of knowledge. As such, they are not involved in holistic health care. A huge difference between HIS and audiologist is that the HIS tries to earn profits. On the other side is the audiologist, whose role is to deliver health care, which is not driven by monetary gain. A single patient may, however, work with both an audiologist and a HIS. Patients will have the medical side of their condition managed by an audiologist, and the hearing aid by the HIS. A HIS is also able to deliver a greater variety of designs for hearing aids.

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