Posts for tag: audiologist
Is there REALLY a difference between an Audiologist and a Hearing Aid Dealer (Audioprosthologist/ Hearing Instrument Specialist)?
In one word, YES!
It is easy to become confused about professional nomenclature regarding hearing healthcare professionals. In Central Texas and the greater Austin area, it is becoming more and more confusing by the day. Often consumers are unaware of professional and educational differences between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser. This fact has only become more of an issue as hearing aid dispensers have taken to calling themselves audioprosthologists (sounds an awful lot like audiologist doesn't it). A white coat can be purchased off of Amazon, but the education, that is earned. Often patients may obtain a hearing test or screening and purchase hearing aids without the knowledge of what sort of education or certification the provider has. Here are some of the key differences between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser.
An audiologist is a professional with either a masters or doctorate degree that specializes in diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus and vestibular/balance disorders. Doctors of audiology complete a minimum of 8 years of schooling including undergraduate and doctoral degree. There is also a one year supervised residency that is completed prior to obtaining state licensure or certifications. Audiologists gain extensive training in anatomy and physiology of the ear and brain, psychoacoustics, amplification devices, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, and auditory rehabilitation. Audiologists also have the ability in working with all ages from new born to geriatric. Audiologists must pass a national state licensure exam and obtain continuing education requirements to maintain state licensure.
On the other hand, a hearing aid dispenser is trained in performing audiometric tests and fitting and dispensing hearing aids. The requirements to become a dispenser differ from state to state. In some states only a high school diploma and passing an exam is required prior to obtaining a state license. Other states require two years of college or post-secondary education prior to taking the exam. In Texas, only a high school diploma is required along with passing a written and practical exam. Hearing aid dispensers are typically only trained in working with adults. Many states place restrictions on their ability to dispense hearing aids to any child under the age of 18. In Texas, hearing aid dispensers are not at this time, allowed to fit children. Also, it is not within their scope of practice to treat tinnitus, and they are not able to diagnose the severity or origin of a hearing loss. Dispensers are also not qualified to recognize medical abnormalities and make appropriate referrals.
As you would when making any medical decision, choosing the most qualified professional to handle your health care is the most important. Moving forward with addressing your hearing healthcare needs is no small matter. Fitting a device is not as easy as pushing a button, and it is critical to your success to make sure that you receive the correct rehabilitation, validation and follow-up to ensure your success.
Next time you plan on getting your ears checked, make sure you ask if your provider is a licensed and experienced audiologist.
If you or a loved one have concerns about your hearing, tinnitus or balance function please call (512) 258-2300 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology today.
Better Hearing Month is a wonderful reminder to hone in on effective listening skills. Hearing impaired or not, everyone can improve their listening abilities. Genuine listening provides better opportunities for clear communication, problem solving, relationship building, and proper understanding. Here are 5 tips to develop effective listening skills:
Face your conversation partner or the speaker, and maintain eye contact.
Be attentive and focused, not distracted or distracting.
Reduce any background noise to allow better hearing of the speaker.
Pay attention to nonverbal cues, and have adequate lighting to see these.
Ask questions to ensure understanding.
Often we are so quick to speak, we forget what it takes to be a good listener. These tips can help facilitate meaningful conversations you’ll actually remember.
The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin specializes in hearing related disorders including tinnitus and hearing loss, neurophysiological disorders as well as dizziness/balance disorders. Currently accepting new adult and pediatric audiology patients. The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin is the hearing and balance division of Great Hills ENT and serves the greater Austin area including the Arboretum, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, hearing aids, tinnitus, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders
GN ReSound Linx2 Haring Aid Review:
GN ReSound launched their MFiPhone product in February 2014 and began paving the way for other manufacturers to get on board to offer this compatibility. MFI compatibility is available in all levels of the LiNX2, so it is accessible to those unable to afford premium level technology. Money ain’t no thang here for that feature!
One of the best things about the LiNX2 is that the tinnitus sound generator doesn’t disappear with the addition of MFI capabilities. This means that you can utilize a variety of maskers for tinnitus and still have the ability to stream directly to your phone. ReSound also offers a customizable tinnitus streaming program through their tinnitus application.This is not possible in all MFI hearing aids from other manufacturers (at time of this blog going live). Additionally, you can ALSO have T-coil compatibility-you just need the larger model size of the RIC (receiver-in-canal). The difference in size is minimal, and worth it if you just can’t let go of that T-coil option. I personally don’t think either model of the LiNX2 RIC is entirely sleek and up-to-date looking, but that’s my opinion.
The GN ReSound app is pretty user friendly. Hearing aids can be adjusted individually as needed per environment (meaning you can turn the volume to your left hearing aid down while increasing the volume in the right if you are driving and want to hear your passenger better… kind of cool, right?!), and the iPhone can even be used as a microphone that streams directly to the hearing aids. The app has the ability to give a wearer LiNX a LOT of options for adjusting settings though, so keep this in mind if you as a provider do not want a patient monkeying with all your hard work! As a user, you’ll love it if you’re tech savvy, and hate it if technology makes you cringe. Also-just like the previously reviewed Oticon OPN, any updates to hearing aid firmware will need to be pushed through in office and cannot be done directly through the app.
In terms of streaming, patient feedback has been mixed. I have had many patients report excellent sound quality for phone calls, and less-than-stellar quality for music. Depending on what you will be primarily streaming, this may be a turn-off. It is also worth noting that at the time of publishing Dr. Peterson currently uses the LiNX platform for her tinnitus and hearing loss.
As always, hearing aids should NOT be chosen based on direct-to-iPhone compatibility. GN ReSound has a very distinct algorithm for processing sound that may or may not work for your brain. The ultimate goal in selecting amplification is to allow access to speech with ease in a variety of environments-not stream the latest Ed Sheeran hit without interruption (although, a major plus).
GN ReSound Linx2 Hearing Aid Pros: Available in multiple technology levels, able to utilize tinnitus masking, t-coil compatibility available.
GN ReSound Linx2 Hearing Aid Cons: mixed reports on streaming quality, in-office visits for firmware upgrades, larger RIC model is significantly less sleek than other MFI options.
The ability to maintain tinnitus masking and T-coil functionality give the LiNX2 a step up. However, if exceptional streaming quality is your primary concern when investing in a MFI product, this would not be my go-to recommendation. I give the GN ReSound LiNX2 3 out of 5 ears.