I am beginning my search for a place to find HAs. I am seeing a lot of places who have only Hearing Instrument Specialists on board. Can someone clear up for the me difference between a HIS and an Audiologist? Thanks.
if you have been seen by an ENT and know you have no underlying problem causing your hearing loss a good HIS can fit and tune a pair of HAs as well as an AD.
The main thing is to get a professional who will work with you to get the sound you need and who is skilled in programming the models of aids they sell.
In the past year, personally, I had better results from my HIS than from the audiologist I tried, but I know there are many skilled audiologists, especially on this forum.
Actually, I am not totally pleased with my current HIS, but that is another discussion, off-topic to this thread.
In summary, either one shoudl work for you, everything else being equal.
The main difference is education. A HIS may only have a GED and on-the-job training for rudimentary hearing testing and primarily focus on hearing aid dispensing. Some states require a much higher level of education including an associates degree and more practical training. It varies from state-to-state so to know what kind of background/education your instrument specialist has you would have to ask them or call the state board to see what their minimum qualificaitons are. Or you could post it here and I’m sure someone will find out for you and post it.
An audiologist has a minimum of a Masters degree and most likely now a Clinical Doctorate (Au.D. designator) with the primary focus on diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. Hearing aids are part of treatment of hearing loss so they are included. An audiologist is the appropriate choice when you have other symptoms, no matter how inconsequential they may seem, like noises in the ear (tinnitus), balance problems, difference in hearing between the ears (asymmetrical hearing loss), plugged feelings/fullness, or there’s a concern that there could be wax in the canal that needs to be removed to ensure that you get a thorough and complete audiological evaluation. I’m not implying that HIS’s are not able to also provide a good hearing test but when you have other symptoms, it’s easier to just see the audiologist/ENT to have those evaluated.
Honestly, most experience fitting hearing aids is learned via manufacturer training and on-the-job experience. The audiologist will come out with the knowledge of what is behind the adjustments being made and how that may play into the entire hearing system but the actual adjusting and learning of software takes place in the work-place, for the most part. Unfortunately all that education doesn’t always translate into an exceptional hearing aid fitter. Ultimately, the best thing is to feel comfortable with your provider since purchasing a hearing aid is as much about purchasing a relationship with that person as it is about purchasing a product.
I totally agree!
The best combination is Education + experience. However, your hearing care provider
has to have an inclination to serve, some simply don’t…