Ask An Audiologist: Why do I have to visit a local hearing care professional to get a hearing aid?
Alyssa pursued her degree in Malaysia and graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Audiology) in 2016. As an audiologist, she is passionate to promote hearing awareness to the public and to help more hearing-impaired people. Prior to working with Signia, Alyssa worked at a private clinic where she specialized in comprehensive audiological assessment, hearing aid fitting and audiological rehabilitation.
When promoting hearing awareness to public, a question that frequently comes up is:
Why do I have to visit a local hearing care professional to get a hearing aid?
I had previously conducted a comprehensive audiological assessment for a user, where his hearing loss levels were shown to be frequently fluctuating. On further consultation, I found out that he had previous medical conditions making it a complex case to fit a suitable hearing aid. To be completely sure, I recommended him to visit an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist for a detailed medical evaluation first.
The ENT specialist whom he visited evaluated his medical and risk conditions and concluded that surgery was not suitable. He recommended a hearing aid prescription. With this information, I proceeded to fit this user with a superpower hearing aid for his fluctuating hearing problem.
Every hearing loss case is different and there may be more than meets the eye. Before you buy a hearing aid it is always important to consult a local hearing care professional to understand more about your own hearing loss conditions and suitable products!
What are the differences between each Hearing Care Professionals (HCP)?
A Hearing Care Professional is an all-inclusive term for a professional who has the education and experience to test your hearing, diagnose your hearing loss, and to prescribe you with a hearing aid. Examples of HCPs include an Otolaryngologist or an ENT specialist, audiologist, and trained hearing care consultant.
Otolaryngologists / ENT specialists
Otolaryngologists / ENT specialists are the physicians who have specialized residency and training in medical conditions of the ear. If you are experiencing other ear problems in addition to a reduced ability to hear, you should visit an Otolaryngologist / ENT specialist prior to a hearing aid prescription. This includes pain in the ear (with or without drainage), dizziness, sudden hearing loss, and other similar concerns.
Audiologists are trained and certified professionals. An audiologist will give you a hearing assessment and professional consultation to recommend the most suitable hearing aid. In addition, your audiologist will also support you through regular follow-up assessments.
Audiologists can also identify further problems related to hearing loss and recommend treatments in addition to a hearing aid prescription. An audiologist may also recommend a further medical evaluation, based on the hearing test results seen in the case above.
Trained hearing care consultants (Dispensers)
Like audiologists, trained hearing care consultants may administer hearing tests to find out about your hearing needs. Following with, they will suggest the most suitable hearing aid that mirrors your needs and preferences. If you have hearing loss without any other medical concerns, a trained hearing care consultant can provide the necessary assistance with getting a hearing aid.
If you feel that you are having problems with your hearing and would like to find out more, you can use our handy Store Locator to find your nearest hearing care professional!