Audiologist Vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser

Often times in the office, we are asked “What’s the difference between an Audiologist and a dispenser?” In order to answer this question fully, it’s important to look at the minimum academic training require for each provider group and the laws that define the scope of practice.


DOCTOR OF AUDIOLOGY: Doctors of Audiology are trained to treat, diagnose, and monitor disorders of the hearing and balance system. They are trained in anatomy and physiology, amplification devices, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics, counseling and sign language. At minimum, Doctors of Audiology have an undergraduate and doctoral level degree in audiology, as well as a supervised externship prior state licensure and national certification. This usually requires eight years of post-secondary education, four years of which are focused on the medical, diagnostic and rehabilitative aspects of hearing loss, hearing aids and the vestibular system.  Upon completion of training, Audiologists must also pass a national standardized examination in order to be eligible for state licensure.  Continuing education requirements must be met in order for an Audiologist to maintain state licensure.


According to Georgia Licensing requirements for an Audiologist, one has to have:
1. A Master’s or Doctoral degree in audiology or completed the academic requirement of a doctoral degree program with a major emphasis in audiology from an institution of higher learning that is, or at the time the applicant was enrolled and graduated, was accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or its successor organization
2. A minimum of 350 hours of patient care obtained by an accredited college or university
3. Completed the requirement of full-time professional experience that is equivalent to 12 months full-time supervised clinical practicum. Must be obtained with an accredited program.
4. Passage of a Board of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology-approved national exam
5. Demonstrated recency of study through 2 CEUs within 2 years preceding application.


Learn more about the requirements for audiologists.


HEARING AID DISPENSER: Hearing aid dispensers are trained in audiometric testing and hearing aid fittings only, mainly for the sale of hearing aids.  Specific work experience requirements and an examination are required to be licensed as a hearing aid dispenser.

According to Georgia Licensing Requirements for a Hearing Aid Dispenser, one has to:
1. Be at least 18 years old
2. Be of good moral character,
3. Have passed a written and practical exam.


Learn more regarding the requirements for hearing aid dispensers

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