Difference between an Audiologist, and AudD, and a Licensed Hearing Aid Dispenser

Hi, All…

I am not looking to pick a fight… I am asking this out of ignorance.

What are the practical differences to the patient (me) for having a hearing assessment and buying hearing aids from an audiologist, a Doctor of Audiology, and a Licensed Hearing Aid Dispenser?

I had my ears tested at a Costco with a LHAD last week and tomorrow, I have an assessment with an AudD.

The Costco assessment was free and the hearing aids (Resound Alera or Bernafon Veras) are $1300 each. From what I have read here, I might expect the same or comparable hearing aids at $3000+ each and pay for the hearing assessment at the AudD.

I don’t mind paying for the assessment --but should it be more indepth, better assessment, more complete, better interpretation, or what? What should I ask for if it isn’t brought up?

What am I getting for the phenomenal difference in cost of the aids?

As I said… I am not trying to pick a fight. Or insult anyone or an professional certificatrion… I am trying to understand.

I have gone to audiologists in the past and am continnuing to struggle with hearing aids, so I am trying to go about it differently this time and am finding myself floundering… not knowing which way to turn, what to ask, or how to proceed.

Many thanks… jt

I just had a call from the AudD’s office to inform me that my health insurance would not cover any of the hearing test since I am not in their group. They are part of the Audgy group(?). I was told that the hearing testing would start at $103 and go up depending on what tests would be run. There is no way of knowing what tests might be run, what they might cost or what it might cost to evaluate the programming of my current aids. It was not possible to estimate an upper limit.

Does that strike you as odd?

At my Costco the professional is an AuD. I don’t know if it is typical of Costco to hire AuDs or if they get whoever they can in each market. What I did first is go to a physician, an ENT, to make sure my loss is due to previous noise exposure and not due to something else. Then once I was sure of the condition I was free to go somewhere else for a hearing aid. I bought them one at the time to spread the cost over time and that was a mistake. I wish I had looked around more and found out about Costco first and bought both there to begin with. I ended up with two different brands and apparently that is not recommended but they seem to be working out fine.

I like the service I have received with my Costco hearing aid and AuD better than my previous Master’s level audiologist. I’m not sure it has anything to do with the training but the Costco Aud seems more up to date on what’s going on than my previous ENT based Master’s audiologist. I think it depends more on the person than the specific degree but I am happy my audiologist has an AuD.

Uh, yes.

Not odd that your insurance won’t cover it, because health insurance coverage for hearing services generally is lousy (though it varies from one insurance company to another), but odd that this office can’t see from your side how unfair such an open-ended fee policy is. There should be a menu of tests and fees for tests and perhaps an hourly? or flat fee for analyzing the programming on your current aids, and you should be able to say, Enough, at any point, and get a copy of the results of tests you have paid for to take anywhere you like.

Did you speak to and hear this policy directly from the audiologist, or from a receptionist? If it’s the latter, ask to have the audiologist call you back to discuss this. If you’re hearing this from the audiologist, I would say, “Look, let’s say you were taking your car for service. Are you going to give the dealer’s service shop carte blanche to run whatever services they want without a binding estimate or an upper limit? I understand that you don’t know yet what tests you might think I need until you see some results, but on the other hand, what you’re proposing is a little too open-ended. Can we find some middle ground here?” And if the audi says, Well, sorry, that’s how it is in my office, or doesn’t respond in a way that makes me feel much better, I’d be moving on.

As to your first question, I’m sure you can get great or lousy service at all levels of degrees and certifications, depending on the individual and the office. The AuD degree is increasingly becoming required in many states. In some states, new hearing practitioners need an AuD degree to practice independently, and old ones grandfathered in without it have to be working towards it. That’s the trend. What the rule and coming changes, if any, are in your state, I don’t know.

Thanks for your thoughts, hamjor. The call I received was from the recptionist. I am going to call my insurance company to the stoiry from them and then call and ask to talk to the AudD.

What is and AudD? Does this person have a medical degree or a Doctorate (PhD)? Does an Audiologist have a 4 yr Bachelor’s Degree?

Thanks again… jt

If I recall correctly, one used to take, typically, two years after getting the four-year bachelor’s degree to get the master’s degree in audiology. To get the Doctor of Audiology or AuD degree, you generally need four years of study after four years of college and a college degree, so while it’s not really the same as an MD or PhD degree, it’s similarly quite a commitment and often very expensive.

And I have a feeling that the audiologist would give you a much more specific fee structure than the receptionist. I think the receptionist just isn’t authorized by the audiologist to try and do what you’re asking.