Navigating Hearing Care: Should You Consult an Audiologist or a Hearing Instrument Specialist?

For comprehensive hearing care in St. Louis, choose an audiologist over a hearing instrument specialist due to their advanced training, diagnostic abilities, and personalized treatment plans.

Navigating Hearing Care: Should You Consult an Audiologist or a Hearing Instrument Specialist?

Navigating Hearing Care: Should You Consult an Audiologist or a Hearing Instrument Specialist?

When it comes to your hearing health, it's crucial to choose the right professional for your needs. If you're in the St. Louis, MO area and are considering hearing aids, you might be wondering whether to visit an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist (HIS). Both professionals play important roles in the hearing healthcare field, but there are key differences in their training, scope of practice, and the services they provide. This article aims to clarify these distinctions to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding the Roles

Audiologists: Comprehensive Hearing Healthcare Experts

Audiologists are healthcare professionals who specialize in identifying, diagnosing, and treating hearing disorders. To become an audiologist, one must obtain a master's or doctoral degree in audiology, which involves extensive education and clinical training. This rigorous academic background ensures that audiologists possess a deep understanding of the auditory system and are equipped to handle a wide range of hearing-related issues.

At Greentree Hearing & Audiology in St. Louis, our team of audiologists provides comprehensive hearing healthcare services. This includes not only fitting and programming hearing aids but also diagnosing and treating other hearing disorders, such as tinnitus. Audiologists are trained to perform a variety of tests to assess your hearing, allowing them to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific needs.

Hearing Instrument Specialists: Focused on Hearing Aids

Hearing instrument specialists primarily focus on the selection, fitting, and maintenance of hearing aids. To become a HIS, individuals must complete a state-approved certification program, which typically requires less extensive education compared to audiologists. Some states only require a high school diploma and on-the-job training to become certified.

While HISs are knowledgeable about hearing aids and can provide valuable assistance in selecting and fitting these devices, their scope of practice is more limited. They do not diagnose or treat hearing loss or other hearing disorders; their primary role is to ensure that the hearing aids are correctly fitted and programmed to meet the user's needs.

The Benefits of Choosing an Audiologist

Holistic Approach to Hearing Health

When you choose to visit an audiologist, you benefit from a holistic approach to your hearing health. Audiologists consider the broader picture, looking at your overall auditory system. They can diagnose underlying conditions that might be contributing to your hearing loss, such as ear infections or tinnitus. By addressing these underlying issues, audiologists can provide more comprehensive care that goes beyond simply fitting a hearing aid.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools and Techniques

Audiologists have access to advanced diagnostic tools and techniques that allow them to accurately assess your hearing functions. At Greentree Hearing & Audiology, we utilize state-of-the-art equipment to perform detailed evaluations. These evaluations help us identify the specific type and degree of hearing loss you may have, enabling us to recommend the most effective treatment options.

Personalized Treatment Plans

An audiologist’s extensive training allows them to create personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique hearing needs. They consider factors such as your lifestyle, the severity of your hearing loss, and any other medical conditions you may have. This personalized approach ensures that you receive the most appropriate and effective treatment for your situation.

Ongoing Support and Counseling

Hearing loss can have a significant impact on your quality of life, and adjusting to hearing aids or other treatments can take time. Audiologists provide ongoing support and counseling to help you adapt to your new hearing devices and manage any challenges that arise. At Greentree Hearing & Audiology, we are committed to supporting our patients throughout their hearing journey, offering follow-up care, adjustments, and advice to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Expertise in a Wide Range of Hearing Devices

While hearing instrument specialists are knowledgeable about hearing aids, audiologists have expertise in a broader range of hearing devices and technologies. This includes assistive listening devices that can complement your hearing aids. If your hearing loss requires a more advanced solution than a standard hearing aid, an audiologist is well-equipped to guide you through the options and help you choose the best device for your needs.

Making the Right Choice for Your Hearing Health

Choosing the right hearing healthcare professional is a crucial step in managing your hearing health. While hearing instrument specialists can provide valuable services related to hearing aids, audiologists offer a more comprehensive approach to hearing care. Our advanced training and expertise allow them to diagnose and treat a wide range of hearing disorders, ensuring that our patients receive the highest quality care.

If you're in the St. Louis area and considering hearing aids or other hearing treatments, we encourage you to visit Greentree Hearing & Audiology. Our team of experienced audiologists is dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate care to help you achieve the best possible hearing outcomes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards better hearing health.

Remember, your hearing is too important to leave to chance. Choose an audiologist for a thorough, professional, and comprehensive approach to your hearing healthcare needs.

John Scarlas was born in Tampa, Florida and raised in Beckley, West Virginia. He received his Bachelor of Science from West Virginia University in 1995, and he received his Master’s degree in Audiology from Towson University in 1997.

Doctor of Audiology
Sherry Pickett, Doctor of Audiology
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