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Difference between an Audiologist and a Hearing Aid Dispenser

by Kate Scully, Audiology Expert
July 13, 2017

Question: What is the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser?

Answer: The short answer is training.

An audiologist is a professional with typically a Doctorate in Audiology (8 years of post secondary education the minimum education requirement for entry into the profession since 2007) or a Masters Degree and has been extensively trained in the science of hearing and can evaluate, diagnose, treat and monitor hearing loss and balance disorders. They are trained in anatomy and physiology, amplification devices, tinnitus, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics,  and auditory rehabilitation. The can test, diagnose and make recommendations based on their findings. 

A hearing aid dispenser has to pass an exam and there are varying requirements state to state, but in many dispensers are only required to have a high school diploma. A hearing aid dispenser is licensed to perform hearing testing for the sole purpose of selling and fitting hearing aids. They CANNOT make a diagnose based on their results.

Kate Scully, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA is Director of Audiology at Hearing Center Silver Spring in Maryland. Her professional interests include hearing aids, adult diagnostics, assisted listening devices, otoacoustic emissions and ototoxic monitoring, hereditary/syndromic hearing loss, and newborn hearing assessments. Dr. Scully is licensed by the Maryland Board of Examiners for Audiologists. She is also nationally certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a fellow of

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