Audiologist and Hearing Aid Dispenser: What Is the Difference?

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Audiologist   *Hearing Aid Dispenser
State licensure required
Degree requirement: Master’s or doctorate in audiology  
Degree requirement: High school diploma or associate’s degree
Clinical education training: 1,800+ hours of hands-on experience  
Hearing aid fitting and dispensing: Adult population
Hearing aid fitting and dispensing: Pediatric population  
May bill insurance, including Medicare, for medically necessary hearing and balance evaluations  
Performs diagnostic hearing evaluations on children and adults  
Serves as part of a medical team to conduct pre- and post-operative hearing evaluations  
Evaluates and monitors patients who are at risk for ototoxicity (hearing and balance loss due to certain medications)  
Evaluates and treats patients with dizziness and balance disorders  
Evaluates and treats patients with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hyperacusis (sensitivity to sounds)  
Evaluates and treats patients with cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices  
Performs hearing testing for the purposes of dispensing hearing aids
Performs hearing evaluations for the purposes of diagnosing and treating hearing loss  

*States may use a title other than hearing aid dispenser when referring to a nonaudiologist who is licensed to dispense hearing aids. Other similar titles are hearing instrument specialist, hearing aid specialist, hearing aid fitter, and hearing aid dealer.

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