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Different Types of Hearing Care Professionals

Curious about the difference in education, skills, and services between different types of hearing care professionals? This page is for you!

 

Audiologist:

  • Highly educated professionals with minimum of master’s degree
  • Possess comprehensive knowledge of human auditory & vestibular systems
  • Have extensive training in hearing, auditory processing, and habilitation options to improve hearing and understanding.

 
What they can offer:

  • Comprehensive hearing tests
  • Fitting, adjustment & maintenance of hearing aids
  • Treatment for tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

 
Lori is a clinically certified, licensed, dispensing audiologist.
 

Hearing Instrument Practitioner:

  • Recommend & fitting appropriate hearing aid technology
  • Experienced in performing & evaluating basic hearing tests

 

Otolaryngologist:

  • Physicians (M.D.’s or Doctors of Medicine) specializing in diagnosing & treating diseases of ears, nose, mouth, & throat
  • Trained in both medicine & surgery
  • Typically treat types of profound hearing loss that require pharmaceutical or surgical treatment, like a cochlear implant
  • These types of hearing loss include loss by trauma, infection, or benign tumors in the ear
  • Otolaryngologists often refer patients to an audiologist for prescription & fitting of hearing aids

 
Whichever type of specialist you decide to see for your hearing care needs, it is vital to select a professional you feel comfortable with.
 

Partner with a professional who:

  • Listens to your feedback and takes the time to understand your unique needs
  • Is fully certified & in good standing with their local & national licensing organizations
  • Is open about what they can and cannot offer you

 
You deserve and we wish you—the best hearing care possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

Hearing loss is a puzzle that our professionals love to solve, and it is based on your individual experiences, lifestyle, and severity of impairment. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment method for hearing loss — it’s based on the sounds that you can’t hear, which vary greatly, and the sounds that you want to be able to hear. A quality hearing system from a reputable manufacturer isn’t effective until an experienced, qualified hearing care professional programs the technology properly based on your unique hearing needs.
Research has established a relationship between hearing loss and dementia. There is strong evidence that hearing loss accelerates brain-tissue atrophy, particularly in areas of the brain that auditory nerves would stimulate but can’t because they aren’t receiving a signal (due to a hearing loss). These areas of the brain are also related to memory and speech. Individuals with a mild hearing loss are three times as likely to fall down than those without, and the likelihood of falls increases as degree of hearing loss increases. Hearing loss has also been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sickle-cell anemia, and other circulatory conditions.
Since hearing loss is cumulative, hearing loss begins as an infant and continues throughout life. Most individuals don’t begin to experience symptoms until their late 20s or early 30s, and by age 45 a yearly hearing check becomes of greater importance. One-third of people beyond the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss, however mild or severe, and that share of the elderly population increases as they age.
Unfortunately, many forms of hearing loss are permanent because there is no cure. Treatment methods that feature amplification fit to your specific hearing loss by a hearing care professional typically have the highest user satisfaction for improved hearing and improved quality of life.
Protecting your hearing from noise levels greater than 85 decibels at work and during leisurely activities will greatly reduce your chances of noise-induced hearing loss. Many manufacturing jobs require hearing protection in loud environments, but hearing protection is also recommended while ATV riding, hunting, attending concerts and sporting events, and playing music — all situations where your hearing is vulnerable.
Though it is difficult to say what genetic factors predispose individuals to hearing loss, there seems to be a connection. Some genetic disorders present at birth cause a hearing loss, but in the absence of a disease, hearing loss can still have a basis in your genetics.
See your physician immediately; sudden hearing loss is considered a medical emergency. Sudden hearing loss typically resolves on its own within two weeks, but it might not — meaning your hearing might be gone for good. Seeking medical assistance within 72 hours of the onset of sudden hearing loss greatly improves the chances that your hearing will recover.