Audiologists carry a masters and/or doctoral degree and are regulated health professionals governed by the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario. They are primary health care providers who focus on the prevention of hearing loss as well the identification, management and treatment of both hearing and balance problems. They are able to direct their career path in many different directions, including private practice, hospital work, education, research, and administration. They are also able to work with any age of the population to provide hearing solutions, including those with special needs.
Hearing instrument specialists are able to complete their education immediately after secondary school at a college offering the program. The program can be offered online as well. They are limited in scope to the adult population, and focus on hearing tests and dispensing hearing devices. While they are not regulated by any college, they are members of their association in Ontario. It is important to note that associations serve their members interests, while regulatory colleges serve and protect the public. This is why audiologists are not permitted to have testimonials on their website or at their clinic/centre.
When deciding on which clinic to begin your hearing health care journey, it is important to be aware of the differences between the two professionals and make an informed decision. Hopefully, the above information helps you select a clinic that provides a high degree of knowledge, patience, empathy, and service.