May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a great time to learn more about the hearing professionals you should see if you suspect you’re having problems hearing. Here’s the rundown on the importance of each professional, and how they help you hear your best.
An audiologist is a degreed professional who specializes in the diagnosis and non-medical treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders.
What an Audiologist Can do for You:
- Evaluate and diagnose hearing loss
- Recommend, prescribe, fit, service and adjust hearing aids
- Perform otoscopy and provide cerumen/wax removal when necessary
- Recommend and provide assistive listening devices (products to enhance telephone conversations, television viewing, etc.)
- Diagnose and treat dizziness and balance disorders
- Provide tinnitus assessment and management
- Provide education regarding the effects of noise on hearing and prevention of hearing loss
- Deliver counseling and aural rehabilitation (counseling, education, auditory training/exercises)
- Make medical referrals to a physician when appropriate for issues such as ear pain, drainage from the ear, sudden hearing loss, cochlear implantation, etc.
Abbreviations Commonly Seen with Audiologist’s Names
- Au.D.: Au.D. is the abbreviation for Doctor of Audiology. Beginning in 2007, many states adopted the Au.D. as the entry level degree required to practice audiology. To obtain an Au.D., you must earn a bachelor’s degree and complete four years of graduate school from an accredited institution. An audiologist also may have a doctorate of philosophy, or Ph.D., which indicates a research and/or clinical research degree focused on audiology.
- CCC-A: CCC-A stands for Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology. This is a voluntary certificate issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Professionals who have been awarded the CCC-A have completed a rigorous academic program and a supervised clinical experience and have passed a national examination.
- FAAA: FAAA is the abbreviation used to designate those audiologists who are Fellows of the American Academy of Audiology. The American Academy of Audiology is the world’s largest professional organization of, by and for audiologists and is dedicated to providing quality hearing care services through professional development, education, research and increased public awareness of hearing and balance disorders.
Other Hearing Professionals
Each of these providers can refer to an audiologist if they believe you have a hearing-related need with which we can help. Likewise, we often refer patients to these specialists if we detect an issue we believe should be investigated more closely. A common designator seen with physicians who also provide surgical procedures is F.A.C.S., which stands for Fellow of the American College of Surgery.
Hearing Aid DispenserThere is a vast difference between the training, education and expertise of an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser. A hearing aid dispenser can perform basic hearing tests and can sell and service hearing aids, but their scope of practice is much more limited than an audiologist’s. The designator or credential for a hearing instrument dispenser or specialist is HIS (i.e., John Doe, HIS) which stands for hearing instrument science. You may also see the designation BC-HIS, which stands for board certification in hearing instrument science. This recognizes completion of a national examination.
Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician’s AssistantThese are the medical professionals you typically see for primary care, such as your family doctor, or specialty care, such as an ear, nose and throat doctor. Physicians’ credentials are usually M.D. (allopathic medical doctor), or D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine). Nurse practitioners are usually designated by the credentials F.N.P. (family nurse practitioner) or A.P.R.N. (advanced practice registered nurse). Many nurse practitioners also are earning their doctorates and are designated as D.N.P. (doctorate nurse practitioner). Physician’s assistants are designated as P.A. Other subspecialist physicians (M.D. or D.O.) you might see for your hearing or balance include:
- Otolaryngologist (ENT) - An otolaryngologist specializes in treating ear, nose and throat problems.
- Neurotologist - A neurotologist specializes in treating neurological disorders of the ear.
- Otologist - An otologist specializes in surgical treatment of inner ear disorders.
Associated Audiologists Provides Comprehensive Care
Associated Audiologists has the largest group of doctoral-level audiologists of any practice in the Midwest. Each member of our team has earned a doctoral degree, has achieved certification and is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. This indicates our commitment to the profession, and to improve lives through comprehensive audiology care.
Download our free ebook: Tips for Choosing an Audiologist.