Hearing Aid Specialist Vs. Audiologist

Hearing aid specialists and audiologists have different niches in the medical field, but their shared goal is improving the lives of their patients. Their degree requirements, salaries, and career outlooks also differ.

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Comparing Hearing Aid Specialists to Audiologists

Hearing aid specialists and audiologists are skilled members of the medical field, but their focuses are different in some important ways. The former markets hearing aids, while the latter studies more complex treatments of hearing issues and requires significantly more education.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Hearing Aid Specialists High school diploma or equivalent $50,250 19%
Audiologists Doctoral degree $75,980 20%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Audiology and Hearing Sciences
  • Speech-Language Pathology

Responsibilities of Hearing Aid Specialists vs. Audiologists

Members of both of these professions are driven to help people with hearing loss. Hearing aid specialists, however, focus more on promoting sales of hearing equipment. Audiologists can administer more thorough tests than hearing aid specialists do and provide complex procedures for treatment. Additionally, both require special training and education, but audiologists have the opportunity to open their own practice. Finally, both aim to educate patients and families of the hearing impaired on the social and mental implications of hearing loss to help them better cope.

Hearing Aid Specialists

Hearing aid specialists are responsible for selling the latest hearing aid equipment. First, however, they administer simple hearing tests, such as tone screenings. After getting the results of any tests, they then sit down with the patient and find the best option for hearing devices. If a hearing aid stops functioning, these licensed professionals know how to repair it. They may also check the health of the inner ear bones and ear canal, or they may even take impressions of a patient's ear to ensure any needed devices fit precisely.

Job responsibilities of a hearing aid specialist include:

  • Removing excessive ear wax from the ear canal using the appropriate tools
  • Updating and maintaining patient records, both paper and digital
  • Teaching patients to use hearing equipment
  • Maintaining and calibrating testing equipment

Audiologists

These hearing specialists work with those who have hearing loss and balance issues related to inner ear issues. They use medical equipment, such as audiometers, to test a patient's level of hearing. If necessary, audiologists also provide the patient with cochlear implant tubes. Additionally, they can treat ringing in the ear, also known as tinnitus. Perhaps one of the most important things audiologist do, however, is to advise patients and families about alternative ways to communicate, including lip reading and sign language.

Job responsibilities of an audiologist include:

  • Using an otoscopic exam of the ear canal to check for damage or blockages
  • Investigating causes of ear and hearing issues, as well as new ways of treating these issues
  • Warning the public about the risks of certain behaviors, such as listening to music too loudly, on hearing loss
  • Hiring administrative staff for their private practice

Related Careers

Someone researching a career as a hearing aid specialist may be interested in a job as a medical sales representative, because both specialize in current medical equipment. Alternatively, those looking into a career as an audiologist could also research a job as a speech language pathologist, since both attempt to improve an individual's ability to communicate.

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