How to tell hearing care providers apart

The types of hearing care professionals you might encounter in seeking help with your hearing loss differ in both their education and their skills.

How to tell hearing care providers apart

The types of hearing care professionals you might encounter in seeking help with your hearing loss differ in both their education and their skills.

Hearing Instrument Specialists

Hearing instrument specialists (or, in some states, licensed hearing aid dispensers) are health care professionals who specialize in recommending and fitting appropriate hearing aid technology. Hearing instrument specialists are typically up to date on the latest technology available in the field — including assistive listening devices (amplified telephones, alarm systems, etc.) — and are experienced in performing and evaluating basic hearing tests.

Hearing instrument specialists must be either board-certified or licensed by the state. Most states also require an apprenticeship or a specified period of practical experience before they are licensed.


Our Process: The 5 C’s of Better Hearing

When you come to Professional Hearing for a hearing aid fitting, we utilize the 5 C’s to of Better Hearing to guide us. We strive to find the best hearing solution for each individual and if one of these C’s is not met, the solution is not optimal. If you already have hearing aids but don’t like them, it’s likely one of these C’s was not met. Please come in and we’ll see if we can help.

1. Comfort
The first C is Comfort. Your hearing aid should be physically comfortable in your ear. The “coupler” that fits into your ear (an ear mold, a custom hearing aid shell, or an ear dome) should be comfortable to wear. It should not be too tight and cause discomfort, nor should it be too loose and slip out. We like the hearing aid to be snug and comfortable but not too tight. One must be able to wear the hearing aid for many hours without any discomfort. This is the first test: wearing a hearing aid for 10 to 12 hours a day without feeling discomfort. It will impact how you hear and how successful a hearing aid user you will be.
2. Clarity
Once you’re comfortable with wearing the hearing aid then we can put focus on the clarity of the sounds that you are hearing. Hearing aids should make sounds louder but only loud enough to give you clarity in speech. Often times, new users would come in and request we make the hearing aid as loud as possible. This is usually not productive because when sounds are too loud they often become distorted. It is important to give you clarity in speech without being too loud. Depending on your hearing loss, you may hear more or less background noise. Current technology does not allow us to eliminate background noise. Our objective is to make background noise manageable so that it does not disturb you or your ability to hear and understand in the presence of noise.
3. Convenience
Convenience means the hearing aid should be easy to use. This is especially important for those with issues with their hands. In the beginning you might need to take some extra time to insert or remove the hearing aid. After about 3 weeks, you should be comfortable putting it in and taking it out. You should be comfortable opening and closing the battery door and replacing batteries or putting it in the charging kit. Once using your hearing aid becomes a part of your daily routine it will make your life easier.
4. Cosmetics
Your hearing aid should look good to you. This can mean it is discrete and blends in with your hair or skin color or it can be worn as an accessory. Hearing aids come in all shapes and colors. Some people don’t mind how their hearing aids look while others are more sensitive. Cosmetics are important to make sure you feel confident while wearing your hearing aid.

5. Connectivity
Connectivity is a new addition to the original 4 C’s. The latest hearing aids have begun to connect with cell phones, tablets, TVs, music players, etc. These devices help us stay connected with our friends, family, media, and the world around us. For those who like technology and like to be connected with their devices, this is an important aspect of a successful fitting.



If we are able to meet each of these 5 objectives of Better Hearing, you will be on your way to hearing better, understanding better, being more confident, and feeling more comfortable with your hearing difficulties. We hope these 5 C’s help you understand some of the challenges hearing aid users face, as they begin their journey to better hearing. Better hearing is not a quick fix; rather it is a journey, a destination, and a process.


Audiologists and Doctors of Audiology

Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders. They often hold a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree and provide hearing care services.

Although they are often experts in the auditory and vestibular systems, some may not be able to guarantee you will receive an accurate hearing aid adjustment. It is always worth asking if they adhere to hearing care best practices when it comes to hearing tests and hearing aid fitting.



Otolaryngologists, or “ear doctors,” are physicians (M.D.s) who diagnose and treat ear, nose, mouth, and throat diseases. Unlike audiologists, they are trained in medicine and surgery, handling severe hearing loss requiring drugs or surgery, such as cochlear implants. This includes hearing loss from trauma, infection, or benign tumors.

After treatment, otolaryngologists often refer patients to other local providers for hearing aids or communication skill counseling.

No matter what type of specialist you decide to see for your hearing needs, the most important factor is the overall experience they provide, which should include a comprehensive approach to diagnosing, treating, and reevaluating your hearing. Partnering with a professional who listens to your needs is critical to the success of your treatment plan.

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