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If you are experiencing hearing loss, it is important to get advice from a specialist you can trust. A good audiologist or hearing aid specialist will offer you advice, assess your hearing, recommend a hearing aid, and adjust it to your personal requirements. Read below for valuable information on hearing issues and what to expect on a first visit.

What is an hearing care professional?

A Hearing Care Professional (HCP) is someone who helps people with hearing loss.  There is a range of professionals in the field that are qualified to test for hearing loss, recommend hearing aid solutions, fit and service hearing aids.

In each case, the HCP will have been through studies, have passed their exams and gone through practical training before being licensed by their state. This ensures a high level of knowledge and professionalism in the field. 

What are the different types of hearing care professionals?

There are 3 main types of hearing care professionals across the US. They range in levels of formal trainings, certifications and advanced degrees of education. It is important to note that each type has gone through formal training and been licensed by their state to recommend, dispense, and service hearing aids.

Hearing Instrument Specialist (HIS) or Hearing Aid Specialist (HAS) are individuals who have completed vocational training in theory and also logged a set number of hours of practical training before being licensed by their state. They are experts in testing for hearing loss and recommending the latest in hearing aid technology. HIS/HAS's are also required to complete a set number continuing education units during the year.
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences (BC-HIS) are those HIS/HAS's who have ​been dispensing hearing aids for at least 2 years.  During that time they have gone through studies and have passed an certification board exam. They are also required to maintain continuing education units during the year.

Audiologist (AuD) is a hearing care professional that have advanced levels of education, either earning a Master's or Doctorate in the field of Audiology. Their course work may include the study of hearing loss, balance disorders, anatomy and physiology, genetics, etc. They are capable of evaluating, diagnosing and treating patients with hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders.

What should I expect when I visit a Connect Hearing Center?

Visiting a Connect Hearing Center takes a patient through a lifestyle assessment, a hearing test and a consultation with a hearing care professional.  Your HCP will guide you through each step of the visit answering your questions and asking their own.
The lifestyle assessment is an interview of the patient where the HCP will be asking you questions to gain a better understanding of your personal hearing situation.  These questions will be about your daily needs and leisure activities (socializing, watching television, theater, sports, etc.).  The more the HCP can get to know you, the better their recommendation as to the type of hearing solution and functions are appropriate to meet all your needs.
The hearing test will provide you with information on your hearing performance. You will be asked to sit in a specially equipped room, and sounds will be played to you through headphones. You may be asked to repeat words that you hear. The audiologist will create a hearing curve based on your responses. This visual representation of your hearing ability is known as an audiogram. The results of the hearing test form the basis of subsequent personalized advice and procedures.
Based on your responses to the lifestyle assessment and your hearing performance from the hearing test, the HCP is now ready to make their recommendations as to which hearing aid solutions are optimal for you. They will present you with several choices that can range in hearing aid type such as behind-the-earreceiver-in-canal or in-the-ear. Each type will have its own set of functions and features like rechargeable batteries, tinnitus masking, and smartphone connectivity. The HCP is there to help you decide which is appropriate for you.

To get the most out of your visit, we recommend downloading our FREE guide, "5 Crucial Hearing Health Questions" below.
5 Crucial Hearing Health Questions

What makes a good hearing care professional?

Not all hearing solutions are alike, and the same applies to hearing care professionals? Regardless of their audiological title, Connect Hearing holds their employees to the highest standards in knowledge, ethics and professionalism. The results have been a top-rating in customer service in our industry. Here are some of the areas that we focus on:
Our hearing care professionals are truly experts in the field. After their extensive education and training to obtain a required state-license, we provide them with even more continuous training on the latest breakthroughs in audiology and hearing aid technologies. They are also connected to one of the largest global network of audiological professionals for advice and best practices to offer their patients.
The test phase for new hearing aids may be quite lengthy: The hearing aid wearer may need to visit the specialist shop several times before the right settings have been achieved for their maximum comfort. Clients should never feel that they are being a nuisance: A good hearing care professional is patient and pays attention to the individual client’s specific needs and requirements.
Sufficient time for testing
The various hearing aid brands and prices typically have obvious differences in terms of sound, settings options, and extras. It should be possible to test a device in normal conditions for a few days to determine whether it is an optimal fit. The audiologist should always offer you this flexibility.
Experts for follow-up care
Once you have found the right hearing aid for you, you can start enjoying life to the full again! However, a good audiologist should also offer you follow-up support. Check-up appointments and health insurance settlements are equally as important as quick and competent help in the event of any problems with the device.

What does it take to be a hearing care professional?

If you are interested in a career as a hearing care professional, we encourage you to look into the state requirements for hearing instrument specialist or hearing aid specialist. Some of you may be interested in working in our centers as a Patient Care Coordinator first to get a feel for this job environment. Please visit our career page for more information.
During their practical training, aspiring professionals learn how to provide their clients with the correct advice, how to support them in selecting the appropriate hearing aid, and how to adjust and maintain the devices. Once their training is complete, audiologists work either at hearing aid companies, or for larger industrial hearing aid manufacturers.  

Additional Articles

Getting a Hearing Test
Understanding Audiograms: A Visual Representation of Your Hearing Health
Career Opportunities