Audiologists and other hearing professionals can diagnose and treat hearing loss to help you or a loved one hear better. In some cases, hearing professionals with higher credentials or alternate training can offer services others cannot. Finding the best provider for your specific needs is key to hearing well.
In Canada, a hearing professional can be:
Read on to learn more about these credentials and who to go to for your hearing health needs.
What is an audiologist?
An audiologist is a hearing professional with a master’s degree in audiology. They are able to treat patients of all ages, children included.
Can an audiologist help with:
In Canada, you do not need a referral to see an audiologist. However, not every hearing clinic has an audiologist or needs one to operate.
If you would like to see an audiologist specifically, browse our directory to find a clinic with an audiologist near you.
What is an ENT?
ENTs are ear, nose and throat physicians. They are also known as otolaryngologists. These doctors are trained to diagnose and treat diseases of the ears, nose, sinuses, larynx, mouth and throat.
Some types of hearing loss are linked to severe issues that are best treated by a doctor. You may need surgery for hearing loss caused by trauma or an infection, for example. You will also need surgery if you require cochlear implants. In these cases, ENTs are licensed to perform your surgery.
Can an ENT help with:
Unlike other hearing professionals, you will need a referral to see an ENT. Some hearing clinics have an in-house ENT should you need one, but you do not need to have a hearing issue to get an ENT referral. You can also get an ENT referral from your doctor.
Hearing instrument specialists and hearing aid practitioners
Hearing instrument specialists or hearing aid specialists (HIS) and hearing aid practitioners (HAP) have the same credentials and perform the same services. They are “hearing instrument specialists” if they’ve received their credentials in Ontario.
These hearing professionals offer limited hearing health services compared to audiologists. They are trained in a two-year college program to conduct hearing tests, remove, select and fit hearing aids, and offer counselling to those with hearing loss. They can also recommend assistive listening devices.
Can an HIS/HAP help with:
Age-related hearing loss or noise-induced hearing loss are common issues that a hearing instrument specialist/hearing aid practitioner can treat. You are likely to meet one of these hearing professionals when you visit a hearing clinic.
For basic hearing care services, a hearing clinic near you will likely have the hearing professional you need. If not, your healthcare provider can refer you to the right professional.
Whether you visit an audiologist, ENT or hearing specialist, seeking a hearing professional is the first step to hearing better. Get started today.
-Canadian Academy of Audiology. Audiology and hearing FAQs. https://canadianaudiology.ca/audiology-faqs/
-Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners of Ontario. AHIP Hearing Instrument Dispenser (H.I.D.)