Different Types of Hearing Professionals Explained

If you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, you may be unsure what hearing care professional you’d be best suited to speak to. You may find yourself asking: “What’s an Audiologist? How is that different to a hearing instrument specialist?” We’re here to lift the veil today as we explain the different types of hearing professionals.

What’s an Audiologist?

An audiologist is a licensed hearing health-care professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing and treating hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders in children and adults. It may help if you think of an audiologist as a “hearing doctor.” Most audiologists earn a doctor of audiology (AuD) degree, but there are other doctoral degrees they can obtain from accredited universities. These may include a Ph.D., an Sc.D. with specialized training in identification, prevention, assessment and treatment of hearing disorders. Services that audiologists typically offer include:

  • Comprehensive hearing assessments
  • Fitting, adjusting or maintaining hearing aids
  • Provide treatment options for balance disorders or tinnitus
  • Hearing and speech rehabilitation programs

Hearing Instrument Specialists

Hearing instrument specialists, or licensed hearing aid dispensers as they are known in some states, are health-care professionals that specialize in fitting or recommending hearing aid devices. They must be licensed by the state or board-certified.

Hearing instrument specialists are generally experts in their field, and up to date on the latest technology available in the hearing aid market. They are able to perform and evaluate basic hearing assessments.


Otolaryngologists are physicians (M.D.s or doctors of medicine) that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the ears, nose, mouth and throat. Otolaryngologists are trained in both surgery and medicine, and typically treat hearing loss that requires surgical or pharmaceutical treatment, such as cochlear implants.

After a patient has completed the prescribed medical course of treatment, an otolaryngologist will frequently refer patients on to an audiologist. This is so that the audiologist can assist in fitting hearing aids when needed, or offer hearing and speech rehabilitation programs when necessary.

Trust the Experts at Audionics NYC

If you suspect that your hearing may have changed recently, we recommend booking in a hearing assessment with the hearing care professionals at Audionics. If you would like to book in a complimentary assessment, contact us today and schedule an appointment at our Manhattan hearing clinic location in the historic DuMont Building right on 53rd Street & Madison Avenue.