What is a hearing aid dispenser, hearing instrument specialist, and hearing aid dealer?
According to the Department of Consumer Affairs; the qualifications for a person to become a hearing aid dealer are as follows:
1. Must be graduate from high school.
2. Be at least 18 years of age.
4. Pass California hearing aid written and practical exams.
A hearing aid dispenser usually obtains training for a few months from a licensed hearing aid dispenser and then pass a state exam. Some have years of experience in this industry but they do not hold an advanced degree in Audiology which is usuful when we test and dispense hearing aids.
Most hearing aid dispensers work on commission.
Hearing aid dispensers do not have an audiology degree. They preform test for the purpose of fitting hearing aids, but they can not preform specialize testing such as tympanometry that will give information about the status of the middle ear. They can not preform specialize testing to rule out a hidden hearing loss. They lack the training and education in ear pathology, neuro-fuction, diseases of the ear, physiology of the ear, physiology of the balance system that at times can be associated with hearing loss, they lack education and training in brainsteam fuction. All these areas and training comes into account for sucessfull fitting of hearing aids. They lack the counseling skills that are needed for a sucessful rehabilitation program and are not able to communicate with physicians regarding the hearing mechanism. Hearing Aid dispensers depend on obtaining comprehensive hearing test results from an Audiologist and most of the time they rely on recommendations made by an Audiologist.
When they look in someone’s ear, they might not be able to properly make a referral to an ear nose and throat specialist. If a medical problem exists due to an allergic reaction due material that was used for hearing aid ear molds, they might not be able to properly chose the ear mold material needed for patients who suffer from medical problems in the ears or suffer from certain allergies. They lack the medical aspect experience and treatment options If a patient comes in and complains that their hearing is muffled they are more likely to make an adjustment on the hearing aid since they do not know about the medical part of the ear that can be associated with this complaint.