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Think you need your hearing checked? Time to book an appointment. But where to go? A hearing aid dispenser or an Audiologist? Both are licensed to check your hearing and sell hearing aids. So, what’s the difference? Is there a difference?

There sure is! And it’s pretty big. To help you get your head around the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser, we’ve put together a few comparisons.

Training & experience

Choosing an Audiologist is choosing an expert with weighty training. Our team at The Hearing Center of Dublin ENT are Audiologists and we’re both highly committed and highly trained. The training requirements of an Audiologist far outweigh those of a hearing aid dispenser. By years. 8 years of post-secondary education and thousands of hours of supervised training. What’s more, to keep practicing as an Audiologist you have to continue training every year or you’ll lose your license.

On the flip side, a hearing aid dispenser simply needs to be over 18, of good moral character and have passed an exam. They receive only 3 months of supervised training. That’s a stark difference. It can mean that you won’t get the diagnosis, treatment or expert care that you need if you visit a hearing aid dispenser.


Due to their extensive training, Audiologists are experts at diagnosing your hearing issues. They can diagnose hearing sensitivity, speech understanding, middle and inner ear function, auditory nerve function (the nerve that takes sound information to your brain), balance problems and tinnitus. They can even figure out problems with your ear wax. They have your ears covered. Period.

Visiting a hearing aid dispenser to diagnose your hearing problems doesn’t work. Why? Because they’re not qualified to evaluate or diagnose hearing problems. They can do a hearing test for hearing aids, i.e. they can tell how much you can or can’t hear, but they can’t diagnose why you’re not hearing properly.


An Audiologist can treat all of the hearing problems they diagnose. If they figure out your hearing problem is linked to another problem in your body, they will refer you to another specialist. This way you know you’re getting the correct treatment.

Can hearing aid dispensers treat your hearing concerns properly? No. Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily mean getting hearing aids. You need to find the cause to treat it properly and rule out other health issues. Dispensers just can’t do that.


An Audiologist makes your hearing health a priority. When you visit an Audiologist you get the best hearing healthcare.

A hearing aid dispenser’s purpose is simply to sell hearing aids to adults. The actual healthcare aspect is lacking. The sale of hearing aids is more important to them than your healthcare. They’re only able to offer you hearing aids, not hearing healthcare.


Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life. It can also affect your relationships. Audiologists don’t just offer diagnosis and treatment for hearing loss, they also provide support for you and your loved ones when you need it.

Hearing aid dispensers don’t offer this kind of support.

Need more information?

We want to make sure you and your ears get the best care available. Want to get to the bottom of your hearing problems?

Give us a call to see how we can help you.

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Melissa Gay

Melissa Gay has been in the business of creating hearing solutions for 25 years now. She understands the trials and tribulations related to hearing loss. Having a deaf sister, as a result of meningitis at the age of two, Melissa has grown up dealing with the challenges created by deafness.