Focused On Care

Audiologist vs. HA Dispenser: What's the Difference?

Many professions have different degrees and levels of expertise, and it can often be confusing.  The world of hearing care is no different. 


Audiologists are doctoring professionals who are trained in the prevention, evaluation and treatment of hearing and balance disorders.  They are trained in areas of anatomy and physiology, psychoacoustics, auditory processing, disorders and diseases of the ear, amplification, electrophysiology, vestibular evaluations, cochlear implants, and aural rehabilitation.   A four year post-collegiate doctoral degree, either clinical or research based, is the minimum requirement for audiologists.  After receiving a degree, audiologists must pass a standardized national exam before practicing, and must comply with continuing education credits to maintain their licensure.

Hearing Instrument Specialists/Hearing Aid Dispensers

Hearing aid dispensers are people who are allowed to sell hearing aids after completing limited training.   The amount of education required to become a hearing instrument specialist varies from state to state, but minimum requirements can range from high school diploma to an associate’s degree in any field.  Hearing aid dispensers are allowed to complete basic audiologic testing in order to fit hearing aids.  They are not trained in recognizing, evaluating, or treating any disorders or diseases of the ear or balance system.