Find a Hearing Care Professional.
As fitting and follow-up services will be supported by the professional you select for the entire life of your hearing aids, we suggest choosing someone within close proximity. They will provide you with the necessary care, trouble-shooting, and advice whenever the need arises.
What is a hearing care professional?
Hearing care professional is a catchall term for a person or medical group that can test your hearing, diagnose your hearing loss and any related conditions, as well as fit you for hearing aids and offer follow-up services. Some examples of hearing care professionals follow.
Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat Physician)
An ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) has extensive training and can offer thorough hearing loss evaluations right at his or her office, in most cases. As a trained physician, an ENT can determine the cause of your hearing loss, evaluate whether hearing aids or other treatment are your best options, and check for any serious complications of which hearing loss may only be a symptom. Many ENTs employ an audiologist or hearing aid specialist to actually fit and maintain hearing aids, making the office a convenient one-stop shop. You may also find Medicare or your private insurer covers the exam (assuming you qualify for this coverage).
An audiologist is a trained professional with more than 1,000 hours of clinical training. Audiologists hold a doctorate or masters degree (Au.D.) and are certified by national and (depending on location) state board examinations. Audiologists may have private practices, work at a clinic or hospital, or work for a business that sells hearing aids. Audiologists can also identify problems related to hearing loss, such as issues with vertigo or balance, and recommend treatments in addition to hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Specialist
Hearing aid specialists also assess hearing and fit hearing aids. Certification by the National Board for Certification in Hearing Aid Sciences is the nationally accepted credential for hearing aid specialists. Like audiologists, hearing aid specialists may have private practices, work at a clinic or hospital, or work for a business that sells hearing aids.
Depending on where you go, audiologists and hearing aid specialists could be working in the same facility, so you may not know if the person working with you is an ENT, Au.D, or hearing aid specialist. The best way to make sure? Just ask.