Looking for professional help to improve your hearing can be confusing. Specifically, should you choose an audiologist or a hearing aid specialist? The difference is in their education:

* Audiologist - has an advanced degree that took 6-8 years to earn and is an expert in all aspects of hearing healthcare, including the fitting of hearing devices.

* Hearing aid specialist - has a high school or two-year degree and has received training and passed their state examination for the dispensing of hearing devices only.

Audiologists are typically licensed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and are trained to evaluate disorders of hearing and balance. They perform comprehensive hearing evaluations, fit hearing devices, recommend assistive listening devices (ALDs), counsel patients and their families in communication strategies, provide guidance regarding tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and many audiologists work with cochlear implants.

Hearing instrument specialists or dispensers must pass a written and practical exam to become licensed in their state.  Hearing instrument specialists may also pass a national exam and become board certified through the National Hearing Instrument Society. They are trained to use the appropriate type of equipment for the purposes of selecting and programming hearing aids.

Certain types of hearing loss must be treated by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician. Ask your audiologist if you need to see an ENT prior to proceeding with hearing instruments.

For highly educated, experienced doctors of audiology, contact Arizona Hearing Specialists at 520.448.2895.