Hearing Aid Specialist

Audiology Assistant, Audiology Technician, Audioprosthologist   More Names
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Description

Select and fit hearing aids for patients and customers. Administer and interpret hearing tests and help patients understand any hearing loss.

Take ear impressions and prepare, design, and modify ear molds. Work directly with physicians and patients to determine the correct type of hearing aid for each patient, demonstrating different hearing aid models. Fit and adjust hearing aids as required by patients and to meet special needs. Maintain and repair hearing aids for patients and customers.

Hearing aid specialists work in wide range of settings, from large hospitals, audiologists' offices, hearing aid franchisers, retail stores, and specialty sections within large retail establishments. With experience, some may choose to open their own hearing aid business. Education and training requirements are flexible, but also are influenced by individual state laws and licensing requirements.

Hearing aid specialists assist patients and customers by conducting tests to determine what type of hearing instrument may be beneficial. They conduct basic hearing tests including air conduction, bone conduction, and speech audiometry; they also perform basic screening procedures such as pure tone, otoacoustic, and ear canal status. They take measurements and adjust hearing aids during final fittings to ensure patient or customer comfort. They also use computers and other high tech equipment to determine the causes of a person's hearing loss.

As required, hearing aid specialists will work closely with audiologists to diagnose and treat hearing or related disabilities. They also may assist audiologists in performing aural procedures, such as real ear measurements, speech audiometry, auditory brainstem responses, or cochlear implant mapping.

Many hearing aid specialists will refer a patient to a physician, family physician, internist or ear, nose and throat specialist if they feel that person's hearing loss needs further medical review or attention. A physician, for example, may quickly tell if a hearing loss is something that is easy to correct, such as a wax buildup, or a more difficult problem.

Hearing aid specialists now have well over half a dozen different styles or types of hearing aids to choose from, ranging from conventional to very small, electronics-based, newer varieties. When it comes to selection, hearing aid specialists are the ones who guide patients and customers in selecting the appropriate type and model of hearing aid that will best suit their needs and tastes. Hearing aid specialists work with the different hearing aid manufacturers in order to provide patients with highly practical and suitable hearing aids that are matched to individual needs.

As hearing aid specialists gain experience from working with patients and customers, they may find opportunities for advancement, either within the companies or medical facilities for which they work or through opportunities to establish their own business. Some also may decide to obtain further education and training to become an audiologist.

Credentials Needed: Most states require hearing aid specialists to obtain a license or register to sell or measure patients for hearing aids. Since the requirements to practice in this occupation do vary from state-to-state, before starting training it is a good idea to check out the education, competency testing, certification, and licensing requirements for the particular state in which you intend to practice as a hearing aid specialist.

This information can be obtained from your state board for hearing aid specialties, state department of health, and/or state licensing board. In addition, some state education agencies have additional special policies and procedures for hearing aid specialists who work in local public schools.

As part of the licensing process, most states require candidates to pass a written or computer-based exam. Often this is the International Licensing Examination for the Hearing Instrument Dispenser, but it also may be another state designated test. After passing the passing licensing exam and meeting all fee and other requirements, an individual will be licensed to practice as a hearing aid specialist within that state.

Hearing aid specialists with two-years or more of full-time experience are also eligible to obtain voluntary industry-based certification through the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. This certification benchmarks a level of professional competency and can be obtaining by passing an examination and meeting other requirements.

Some Key Things to Remember: Hearing aid specialists select and fit hearing aids for patients and customers. They work directly with patients and physicians to determine the correct type of hearing aid, and demonstrate different models. They also fit and adjust hearing aids as required by patients and to meet special needs. Most states require hearing aid specialists to obtain a license or register to sell or measure patients for hearing aids, and these requirements vary. In many states completion of a one-year certificate or two-year associate's degree education and training program is one of the conditions for obtaining a state license to practice as a hearing aid specialist.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
27% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $34,940 - $66,460    Hourly: $17 - $32
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

27% - Much faster than average
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $34,940 - $66,460

Hourly: $17 - $32