In Alberta and across Canada both audiologists and hearing aid practitioners (also known as hearing instrument practitioners, hearing aid dealers or hearing aid dispensers) conduct hearing tests for the purposes of selecting, fitting and dispensing hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. The academic and clinical training of these two groups differs significantly, as does their scope of practice.
While audiologists and hearing aid practitioners often work independently of one another, there are work environments where audiologists and hearing aid practitioners also work collaboratively.
To ensure you benefit from the training and experience of a qualified audiologist, look for the designation Audiologist, Aud, or R. Aud.
Education: 5-7 years of baccalaureate and graduate degree university education and a minimum of 350 hours of supervised clinical practicum.
Scope of Practice: Assess, identify, and manage individuals of all ages with peripheral or central hearing loss, hyperacusis, tinnitus and balance disorders; select, prescribe, fit and dispense hearing aids and assistive listening devices; provide counseling and rehabilitation as required.
Regulation in Alberta: Protected titles: Audiologist, Aud, or R.Aud www.acslpa.ca
Hearing Aid Practitioners
Education: 2-3 year college or university diploma or certificate OR self- study program of several months in duration. Significant variability in training across the country.
Scope of Practice: Test peripheral hearing for the purpose of selecting, fitting and dispensing hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.Typically not permitted to provide services to children.
Regulation in Alberta: Protected titles: Hearing Aid Practitioner www.chapa.ca