Hearing Aid Specialist vs Audiologist


Key Takeaways: 

  • Hearing loss affects anyone ranging from babies to adults, but an Audiologist and other professionals can help.
  • Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists (H.I.S.)  are both professionals who can assist with different areas of hearing loss treatment.
  • If you’re not sure what type of hearing loss you’re dealing with, an Audiologist is the professional to see.

Whether you’re still waiting on a diagnosis, are in the middle of treatment, or are learning to manage your condition, hearing loss can be detected by several professionals who are dedicated to helping your situation in Laredo, Texas. Knowing the differences between these professionals is a great way to ensure you are receiving the best care.

Something to consider when selecting the right professional for your care is how far the services can go. If you are diagnosed with a condition, and your care will extend beyond what one particular professional can provide, you may need to make some decisions about how to move forward with care. Each circumstance is unique, including yours. As we arm you with the right information, you’ll be better equipped to make those decisions about treatment and care.

What Is a Hearing Aid Specialist?

A hearing aid specialist, also often referred to as a hearing instrument specialist (H.I.S.), performs hearing tests that will help determine whether a hearing loss patient could benefit from hearing aids. An HIS is more suited to care for an adult patient rather than a child.  If the patient does end up getting hearing aids, the specialist will ensure they fit correctly.  A hearing aid specialist may also:

  • Look over the patient’s case history to check for patterns or any other information to determine care needs.
  • Refer patients to another type of professional who deals with conditions related to hearing loss. For example, hearing loss has been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and diabetes, so that the specialist might refer a patient to a neurologist, cardiologist, or endocrinologist.
  • Take ear impressions for patients that will be fitted with custom hearing aids.  
  • Perform minor repairs to hearing aids as well as clean and check that they are functioning.

Hearing instrument specialists (HIS) are not required to have any formal education.  However, a state license is required in Texas.  

What Is an Audiologist?

An audiologist is the most qualified professional to diagnose and treat hearing loss in Laredo, Texas. Audiologists don’t just identify hearing issues or provide information but work toward assessing and managing several hearing loss issues. They also deal with patients and their other symptoms that come with hearing loss, such as balance and other neurological issues. Audiologists are also the best qualified to treat pediatric patients.  At Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center, our audiologists:

  • Help patients ranging from babies to adults with hearing loss and other hearing-related issues
  • Work toward avoiding hearing loss in those who are at risk because of other conditions they deal with in their lives.
  • Provide evaluations that assist a physician in recommended a cochlear implant.  
  • Fit and dispense amplification for those patients that are candidates.  
  • Work with physicians whose patients are experiencing dizziness or even tinnitus.
  • Work with patients dealing with hearing loss due to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or ototoxicity.

Audiologists have to attend an accredited university and obtain a Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D). A fourth-year Audiology intern must complete a fourth-year internship under a state-licensed audiologist. An audiologist can also choose to become a member of a national organization such as The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and American Speech & Hearing Association (ASHA) as well as several others depending on their specialty. 

Which Professional Should You See for Your Hearing Needs?

If you don’t understand what you’re experiencing, you would likely want to visit an audiologist as they can carry out more tests than other hearing professionals. After testing and diagnosis, your audiologist can point you in the right direction if you should meet other professionals. 

When you have a question about your hearing or the hearing needs of a family member, Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center staffs two Doctors of Audiology (Au.D.).  As a family-operated business, we treat each of our patients like a part of the family. Our professionals come with a combined experience of over 25 years, making us the most knowledgeable and experienced audiologists and other professionals in Laredo, TX, and the surrounding areas. When you visit us for an evaluation, you can expect:

  1. To discuss your medical history – This helps us to understand what may have led to the hearing loss issues you’re experiencing now. This is the first step in determining what course of action we should take to treat your issue. Some things that will be discussed are any complaints of pain, current or past medication use, current or past diseases, previous surgeries, excessive noise exposure, family hearing loss history, family medical history, balance or dizziness issues, and tinnitus.
  2. A visual examination – One of our audiologists will then conduct a visual examination. This includes a look at your ear canal and your eardrum. If there’s wax in the way, we can remove it, as it can affect the results of your hearing test. The doctor will look for abnormalities or other issues that might require a referral to another medical professional.
  3. A hearing test – There are several tests our audiologists perform to determine the best course of action for your hearing needs. Different tests look at different areas of your ears and your ability to hear. 

To discuss a treatment plan – After your entire examination, the audiologist will use all of the information to discuss a treatment plan. At this point, hearing aids may be recommended depending on the results of your auditory examination. 

Learning More About Your Hearing Needs

Whether your hearing has been lost progressively over time, you were born with hearing loss, or you’re just starting to experience symptoms, Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center has the answers you’re looking for. Call us today at 956-727-3801 or fill in our contact form to learn more about a hearing specialist vs. audiologist and so we can move ahead with diagnosis, treatment, and management of your condition. Help is only a phone call away.

Featured Image: Peakstock/Shutterstock

Masks encouraged for patients.