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How do I Become a Hearing Aid Specialist?

By Jill Gonzalez
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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In order to become a hearing aid specialist in the United States, you will need to be a high school graduate or have a GED. Depending on the state where you will be looking for a job, some of the requirements may vary a bit. The majority of states require candidates to pass a state licensing exam. In addition, you will need to successfully complete the national exam for hearing aid specialists. Some employers will ask applicants to complete an apprenticeship before being hired on as a regular employee.

For many positions, you will need to have at least one or two years of practical work experience. There are usually some employers, however, who are willing to train qualified individuals. One of the most common ways for people to initially find this type of job is through an internship while still in school. Some medical offices or hearing aid specialty companies routinely hire interns to work for them on a part-time basis. Keep in mind that not all of these positions are paid.

You need to be prepared to have direct interaction with physicians and patients on a daily basis if you want to become a hearing aid specialist,. The ability to actively talk and listen to others is of critical importance in this job. People who work in this industry should be able to communicate in writing and orally, so having a solid grasp of the English language is recommended. It might also be advisable to take a few courses in English, writing, and communications before you actively begin your job search.

Anyone who wants to become a hearing aid specialist should feel comfortable working in close physical contact with patients. One of the largest aspects of this job is administering hearing tests, and this generally requires a certain degree of directness and familiarity, in order to put people at ease. Good candidates for this job usually have outgoing personalities and enjoy friendly conversation with customers, patients, and physicians. Employees who have a friendly, approachable demeanor are typically the most successful in this particular industry.

Individuals who want to become a hearing aid specialist may also be responsible for fitting patients with new hearing aids. Additionally, they should be knowledgeable enough to recommend certain products to anyone who asks for assistance. In smaller offices, professionals might be in charge of office operations, including accepting and processing payments, and creating work schedules for other employees.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1005750 — On Nov 11, 2021

I don't know who thinks $60,000 is fairly wealthy. You must not have any children and not living in the city or suburbs.

By anon327987 — On Apr 01, 2013

You have to have two years college and pass a licensing exam. An exam, I might add, that is in no way easy to pass. Hearing aids are anything but basic these days.

By anon277336 — On Jun 29, 2012

I don't know how old this post is, but I just wanted to make a few comments seeing as how nobody is answering questions but asking more.

The H.I.S. does not need a degree, but a license. You do have to have a HS diploma and you do have to pass a state test. Actually, you have to pass two tests, a written and a practical. The practical is fairly easy because its based on the actions that you would be preforming on a day to day basis. The written is the hardest since you have to know so much information about the ear, the aids and the laws. They determined that this is a position best learned on the job, which is why you do not need a college degree. That does not mean that it is an easy profession to learn. You have to know all a lot of things. The books are huge, and you have to learn about the ears and diseases and law and hearing aids. Don't discredit a H.I.S. because they don't have to get a degree. They still have to learn a lot to be able to take care of the patient's hearing health beyond the aids.

The pay varies. A lot of them are strictly commission-based (This does not mean they don't care about your health) Some give you a base plus commission. The average salary is $45-55k and up. (I know some who make 45k and some that make over 100k.) This is not a field where you are selling someone a TV or the like. You are selling them hearing aids, which helps to provide them with a better quality of life in many ways. The price of a hearing aid can be costly but It's your health. It's worth the price.

Ever wonder how many elders have never heard their grandchild's voice? They get depressed after a long time of not being able to hear, They lose their speech recognition after a while, which basically can contribute to dementia and the like -- and so much more.

titans62 is right: the hearing specialist does not prescribe anything other than hearing aids so it is unnecessary for them to have anything more than a license. Where you are incorrect is that hearing aids cannot be made the same. There are different styles of aids and with those different styles comes how much power can be put into them. Hearing aids run on a computerized chip. Some do have a volume control button but it can only adjust so much on its own before you have to hook them up to software that can make better adjustments. Also, nobody's ears are the same as anyone else's and so sometimes you have to have them custom made.

@cardsfan 27: A lot of hearing aid dispensers are part of a franchise. Some doctor's offices have their own audiological departments and then you have ANTs, which can do a lot more than HIS as well as dispense hearing aids. I'm sure you will also come across individuals, but that's not as common as the other.

@Jcraig: It's not a matter of being dishonest, (although I cannot speak for every dispenser out there.) It's a matter of what the patient wants (Visible aids or aids that sit completely in your canal (those completely in the canal are one of the most expensive because they don't have as much room to work with in putting in the technology.) And we also consider what is best for the patient. Maybe they want a completely in the canal aid, but their loss is so great that they actually wouldn't do well with that type of aids and we would recommend something else.

By jcraig — On Sep 14, 2011

I know of a hearing aid specialist where I live, and he seems to be fairly wealthy. Obviously he's not making as much as a doctor, but my guess is that he makes in the $60,000 range.

I got to thinking about it, and I wonder if they get any payment based on commission from the hearing aids they sell. I know in a lot of other medical based settings that is the case, so I don't see any reason it would be different here.

If you have to buy a hearing aid, I would definitely check into it and make sure the hearing aid specialist is being honest in the products he or she recommends.

By cardsfan27 — On Sep 13, 2011

Given the prior comments, how much does a hearing aid specialist usually make? I know hearing aid cost can be pretty high, but I'm sure most of that goes to the manufacturer, not the specialist.

Any of the hearing aid stores that I have ever seen are on the smaller size with just one or two hearing aid specialists. Are the stores usually just self-employed individuals or do some hospitals and clinics have hearing wings that do this kind of work?

Could you also have a real doctor that can do auditory surgery combined with hearing aid specialists to make a type of full service hearing business?

By titans62 — On Sep 12, 2011

@kentuckycat - I thought that was really interesting, too. I figured there was more than passing a licensing exam. In reality, though, I'm sure most things that a hearing aid specialist does are pretty basic.

The actual hearing exam would be the same procedure every time, and you would be able to write down the necessary information for creating a hearing aid. After that you would just have to get the ear shape.

I don't know anyone who uses a hearing aid, but my guess is that the actual hearing aid company adjusts the device based on the specialist's numbers. As far as I know all hearing aids could be created the same, and you could adjust the sound to different levels on your own. I know you can turn them down at least.

The hearing aid specialist would never be performing surgery or need to prescribe medication, so I can see why an advanced degree wouldn't be needed.

By kentuckycat — On Sep 11, 2011

Do people who give hearing exams and prescribe hearing aids really not need a college degree? I'm not sure what the degree would be, but it seems like any sort of medical related field has to have at least an associate's degree. Think about nurse's aids and dental assistants.

What is the exam like to get the certification? Where do you learn the information that is presented on the exam? Are there just books you can buy or something? I'm not downplaying the importance of the job, but it must not be as difficult as I assumed it was if you just need a high school degree and to pass a test.

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