What's Up, Doc?
Education and Advocacy For most people experiencing hearing loss, amplification with hearing aids, assistive listening devices (ALDs) and counseling on how to manage hearing loss with and without technical assistance are the only solution.
Otolaryngologist (ENT doctor)
An Otolaryngologist is a surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis, management and treatment of diseases and conditions of the ear, nose, throat (ENT) and structures of the head and neck. An ENT doctor can manage conditions such as abnormalities in the outer ear canals or the middle ear bones, ear infections, rare tumours on the hearing and balance nerves and would be the doctor to perform cochlear implant surgery.
"Audiology training includes specialty areas such as assessing for cochlear implant candidacy and post surgical device management."
Audiologists or Hearing Instrument Practitioners will recommend a visit to your family doctor to make a referral to an Otolaryngologist if there is a potential ear-related medical condition.
Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Practitioners (HIPs)
For most people experiencing hearing loss, amplification with hearing aids, assistive listening devices (ALDs) and counseling on how to manage hearing loss with and without technical assistance are the only solution and available from Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Practitioners (HIPs).
Some variability exists in regulations governing the dispensing of hearing aids across Canada, therefore specific information for each province or territory should be sought.
HIPs include Hearing Instrument Specialist H.I.S and Hearing Instrument Dispensers H.I.D and generally hold a two-to -three-year diploma from a college or university. They must complete a 1000-hour internship and successfully complete the International Licensing Exam. They learn assessment of, care for, and the dispensing of hearing aids and ALDs to adults. HIPs provide communication strategies and counsel on how to manage hearing loss.
A Hearing Instrument Dispenser H.I.D. performs all the functions noted with the exception of hearing testing and assessment. Audiologists in Canada have a bachelor’s degree and a masters and/or doctoral degree(s) in communication sciences and disorders. Aside from assessing and managing hearing loss in adults, Audiology training includes specialty areas such as assessing for cochlear implant candidacy and post surgical device management.
Audiologists use specialized equipment for detecting hearing loss in those who are di‑ cult to test, such as new- born babies. They also use special techniques to assess young children and fi t hearing devices on infants and children through to adult- hood. Helping people of all ages to manage ringing/buzzing in the ear (tinnitus) and also assessing and managing balance disorders related to the inner ear are other specialties in Audiology.
Audiologists can also help when sounds are not being processed correctly by the nerves and brain (auditory processing disorder). Audiologists provide counseling for the en- tire family, throughout the lifespan, on living well with hearing related conditions.