What is an audiologist?
An audiologist is a highly skilled individual who specializes in hearing disorders. They hold either a Master’s Degree or a Doctoral Degree (6-8 years of higher education in an accredited college). Audiologists are also required to have a specified number of continuing education hours each year to maintain their license.
What is the difference between an Audiologist and a "hearing instrument specialist"?
To best answer this question, it’s important to understand the role of your Audiologist and ENT Specialist.
In many cases, hearing aids are not the answer to hearing loss. With a complete medical workup, we can develop a clear picture of a patient's needs, and provide the best medical care for each individual person -- not a single one-size-fits-most approach to hearing loss.
Memorial Village ENT provides a complete end-to-end health care approach, specializing in patient needs rather than a sales-based business model. In partnership with Dr. McCutcheon, hearing health treatment plans are developed based on the entire medical picture each patient presents. A holistic medical treatment plan (usually covered by insurance) can only be provided by the partnership of an Audiologist and Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. This includes diagnostic hearing evaluation, medical evaluation, diagnosis of the cause of the hearing loss, any necessary medical treatment, hearing aid selection and fitting, hearing aid follow-up care, and long-term treatment plans including rehabilitation and patient counseling.
These services are covered by most insurance plans, and cannot be offered by store-based hearing aid retailers.
Your chosen Audiologist will become as familiar with you and as dedicated to your health as your physician. We are committed to your health, safety and quality of life. Your overall health is our primary concern, not how many hearing aids we can sell per day.
What is the difference between personal amplifiers and hearing aids?
Both devices make sounds louder. Personal amplifiers are not intended to correct a hearing loss, therefore are not medical devices, and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Hearing aids are designed to assist a person with hearing loss, are designed to be adjusted to your specific hearing needs, and are regulated by the FDA. Due to the FDA regulations, manufacturers must have research to prove all claims they make regarding their hearing aids to be accurate. An individual must be licensed in order to dispense hearing aids.
Can I buy my hearing aids online?
Because it seems easy to "install" a hearing aid, many people believe it's a simple device that just "amplifies" sound. A hearing aid is an extremly complex medical device that needs to be adjusted to an individual's medical need using specialized tools.
Success with a hearing aid requires guidance during the selection and initial fitting phase, as well as adjustments based on your experiences and diagnostic tests performed by an audiologist. Working closely with an audiologist will be difficult if you choose to purchase hearing aids online.
Online hearing screenings cannot accurately diagnose hearing health issues, or the cause of hearing loss. If you are experiencing a hearing loss, first see an Ear, Nose and Throat physician, and be tested by a licensed Audiologist.
To better understand the limitations and risks of using online hearing services, please see this article from ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assosiation: What You Should Know Before Buying Hearing Aids Online.
Why do some people wear one hearing aid?
If someone only has hearing loss on one ear, or has hearing that is not usable in one ear (called a profound hearing loss), they may only need one hearing aid. Most people do indeed require two hearing aids to obtain the most benefit. Even when it is not in their best interest, some people choose to wear only one hearing aid.
Do I really need two hearing aids?
Without an individual consultation, this question can’t be answered for everyone. What can be said is that a majority of people with hearing loss have an equal amount of hearing loss in both ears. Even when there are differences between the ears, speech is understood better at a softer volume when both ears are sending speech information to the brain. Speech in a noisy room is easier to understand when two ears are listening. Also, our brain uses differences in loudness and timing of sounds between the ears to determine where a sound is coming from. This can create a safety issue if a person who needs two hearing aids is only wearing one.
Want more information?
Memorial Village ENT suggests the following information from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assosiation: