When seeking hearing healthcare, there are many options to navigate. Often newspapers, television commercials, and radio stations are bombarded with advertisements for places to go for hearing aids. How do you determine the best resource out of so many options?
Generally, when it comes to hearing healthcare, there are three primary options: hearing instrument specialists, doctors of audiology and ear physicians, which usually employ audiologists. Hearing instrument specialists (HIS) are often employed by store front locations and big box stores such as Miracle Ear, Audibel, Beltone, and Costco. These are state-licensed professionals who are only certified to perform basic hearing tests for the sole purpose of selling you a hearing aid. Licensing requirements for these professionals vary from state to state, but most require a minimum of a high school diploma, passing of a state licensing exam, and completion of a one-year apprenticeship
A Doctor of Audiology holds a specialized clinical degree which consists of a four-year bachelor’s degree followed by a four-year clinical doctorate degree in audiology (Au.D.). Additionally, audiologists are required to pass a state licensing exam and complete a clinical fellowship year before graduating. This training allows them to not only assess and treat hearing loss with hearing aids as a HIS would do, but also qualifies them to assess the need for treatment with cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing devices, assess and treat balance disorders, diagnose and treat hearing loss in infants and young children, assess patients for auditory processing disorders, provide auditory rehabilitation counseling, monitor hearing in the operating room during certain surgeries, establish and monitor programs to prevent noise induced hearing loss in various workplaces, and conduct research.
When researching options for your hearing health, it is always recommended that you seek out a doctor of audiology to ensure that you are getting the most comprehensive care possible. At Gardner Audiology, you will be assessed and treated by one of our board-certified doctors of audiology. They will ensure that best practices are in place to provide you with the best outcomes possible. If you would like our assistance in improving your hearing and communication, please contact us for an appointment at 1-800-277-1182. We offer 7 locations throughout the Tampa bay area.