Begin by Choosing an ENT, Audiologist or Hearing Aid Specialist You Trust
ENT? Audiologist? Hearing Aid Specialist? Are you confused? It doesn’t take long to discover that buying a hearing aid is not like buying a TV or refrigerator.
Instead of focusing on the hearing aid, you should begin your search for the solution to hearing loss by choosing a hearing professional you like and feel you can trust. Your overall satisfaction with the investment you make in hearing devices will depend on his/her ability to
- select the correct hearing instrument for your personal needs and
- provide complete follow-up care. Understand that your relationship with the hearing professional you choose will more than likely be a long-term relationship.
There are three types of professionals who are trained to diagnose hearing loss and/or fit hearing aids.
Ear Nose and Throat doctors (or ENTs) are medical doctors and surgeons who specialize in the ear, nose and throat. They are trained to perform hearing and balance testing and to diagnose and treat diseases of the ear and balance system by prescribing medications, performing cochlear implants and fitting hearing instruments.
Audiologists have graduate degrees (Au. D. or Ph. D.), have completed more than 1000 hours of clinical training and have passed national and often state tests. They are authorized to diagnose hearing loss and recommend, fit and sell hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Specialists may have a two-year degree or supervised training to fit hearing aids. Individual states have different requirements and licensure standards for hearing aid specialists.
Be smart in your search for the right hearing professional. Consumer Reports recommends you should see an Audiologist associated with ENT physicians in order to get the best medical care. You should ask family and friends for recommendations and, before making an appointment, contact the Better Business Bureau to see if there is a history of any complaints about the business you have chosen. Whether you choose an ENT doctor, an audiologist or hearing aid specialist, your due diligence will have its rewards.