What’s the Difference between Hearing Care Professionals?

You may have noticed a hearing change in yourself or a loved one. That means you lived a full life of many experiences and sounds, and it is not a bad thing. It is normal. Hearing change starts affecting people in their 40s. It is not about getting old. It is about having lived a full life, living life out loud, and not compromising on your enjoyment and celebration of sound over the years. It is a matter of perspective.

There are five levels of hearing health care providers.

EAR Doctor: An Otolaryngologist is also referred to as an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT) – is a medical surgeon. Otolayrngologists diagnose and medically treat diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. They typically earn a four-year undergraduate university degree followed by an additional four-year medical degree with a four-to-five year specialized residency program.

ENTs are registered under the College of Physicians and Surgeons. ENTs require that you be referred by your family doctor.

HEARING Doctor: A Doctor of Audiology is a Registered Audiologist with an additional Clinical Doctorate degree in hearing science. This is a non-surgical designation in the field of hearing care. The other doctorate degree in Audiology is the PhD. 

A Registered Audiologist is a healthcare professional who is university trained and has generally earned a Master’s degree of education or equivalency that specializes in hearing-related communication disorders, physiology of speech and hearing, hearing loss, hearing conservation, hearing aids, assistive listening devices, aural rehabilitation, and treatment of hearing loss for all ages. They typically earn a four-year undergraduate university degree followed by an additional two or three year Master’s (graduate) degree.

A Registered Hearing Instrument Practitioner (RHIP) is a hearing healthcare professional who typically earns a two year community college diploma in hearing testing, hearing aids and assistive listening devices. HIPs are generally restricted to serving adults.

A Technician has taken either College-level or certification in a limited scope of practice related to the work of a Practitioner, Audiologist, or Doctor of Audiology.

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