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What is Audiology?

At Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center, we’re dedicated to your hearing health, and pride ourselves on being caring, competent, and reliable audiologists. But what exactly is audiology?

Audiology is the study and science of hearing and balance. Being an audiologist involves providing a number of different services, which can have a significant impact on communication, mobility, and quality of life. When you come into Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center, our audiologists can help with:

  • Adult and pediatric diagnostic hearing screenings and assessments
  • Tinnitus/ hyperacusis/ misophonia evaluation and management
  • Hearing aids/ amplification and assistive technology evaluation, fitting, and management 
  • Implantable technology evaluation, programming and management, such as cochlear implants and auditory osseointegrated devices
  • Cerumen removal and management
  • Hearing and ear protection 
  • Industrial hearing assessment, prevention, and protection programs
  • Auditory processing evaluation and management
  • Auditory rehabilitation, training, and counseling
  • Balance/ vestibular assessment and rehabilitation
  • Hearing loss and falls prevention

So, what’s the difference between Audiologists, Otolaryngologists (ENTs), and Hearing Aid Dispensers?

With so many different types of hearing health specialists out there, it’s difficult to keep track of who does what. Not to worry, we’ve got the breakdown you need to ensure you contact the right professional whenever you have hearing health concerns.

Audiologists are state licensed healthcare providers who evaluate and manage hearing and balance symptoms and disorders, including hearing loss. An audiologist has a minimum of a four year undergraduate degree as well as a Master’s and/or a doctoral (AuD, PhD, EdD, or ScD) degree. 

Otolaryngologists (ENTs) are state licensed medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and pharmacological (drug) management of ear, noise, and throat conditions, including hearing and balance disorders. An otolaryngologist has the same educational degrees as an audiologist (undergraduate and master’s/doctoral), as well as a medical degree (MD), and a residency training program specific to ear, nose, and throat evaluation and management.  

Approximately 10% of hearing and balance disorders have medical, pharmacological, or surgical treatment options or solutions. This is where audiology comes into the equation and where an audiologist can be valuable to consumers in addressing their communication and balance issues and improving their quality of life. 

Hearing aid dispensers (hearing instrument specialists) are state licensed to perform the basic hearing testing required to select and fit hearing aids, and to provide said hearing aids . Hearing aid dispenser training and licensure requirements vary greatly state by state. In most states, a hearing aid dispenser must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma, and pass a written examination to obtain a license. In most states, a hearing aid dispenser cannot evaluate or treat tinnitus, provide cerumen management, or provide aural rehabilitation. 

Now that you know what all these roles entail, you can confidently seek help for any hearing health issues you may be facing. Of course, if you’re still unsure about what hearing health professional you need, give us a call! We’re here to help, whether you need an hearing health assessment, new hearing aids, or are curious about hearing implants.

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