This is the first of a series of articles that will explore hearing health for all age groups while revealing the medical and emotional consequences of untreated hearing loss. We will also provide tips for improving your hearing and overall health.
This first issue will clarify the difference between Audiologists and “hearing aid dispensers”. Subsequent issues will explore 1) age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, 2) the consequences of untreated hearing loss and the benefits of treating the problem early, 3) assessment and management options for tinnitus, 4) evaluation and management of balance disorders and, 5) cutting-edge treatment solutions for hearing disorders inflatable human spheres.
Audiologists Vs. Hearing Aid Dispensers
Audiologists must earn a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree, requiring 4 years of undergraduate study and an additional four years of specialized academic work, including specialized training in the prevention, identification, assessment, and treatment of hearing disorders. Their extensive academic credentials, professional certification, and licensure, allow Audiologists to provide a full range of professional services, from consultation and diagnosis, to hearing aid fitting and programming, to post-fitting counseling and rehabilitation.
By contrast, hearing aid dispensers can sell hearing aids in many states if they 1) have a high school diploma, 2) pass a license exam, 3) complete a brief apprenticeship with a licensed hearing aid specialist, and 4) receive continuing education credits.
The scope of audiological practice will continue to grow due to rapidly progressing technology, a rising baby-boomer population, and increasing collaboration with physicians. Professional collaboration will become more important because hearing loss can signal underlying medical conditions and Audiologists have the diagnostic capability to uncover this potential.
The bottom line: if you suspect a hearing problem, seek the services of an Audiologist…your health may depend on it!
About the Author
Dr. Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky is the President and co-founder of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com), based in Bend, Oregon. Pacific Northwest Audiology has been a dream-to-reality story for the doctor, who is motivated by a strong belief that hearing health is a vital part of a good life.
Dr. Li-Korotky earned an MD with an emphasis in otology and otolaryngology, a PhD in audiology with a thesis on Age-Related Hearing Loss, and a Clinical Doctor of Audiology degree (AuD).
Dr. Li-Korotky is an adjunct associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and a fellow of both the American and Oregon Academies of Audiology. The doctor is also a member of the American Auditory Society and the American Tinnitus Association.