What’s The Difference Between an Audiologist and a Hearing Instrument Specialist | Who is The Right Option For You

by | Sep 7, 2023 | Hearing Test, Patient Resources

Navigating the world of hearing healthcare can be complex and confusing, especially when it comes to understanding the roles of different professionals.

As you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have found yourself researching your options and being confused on the differences between terms such as hearing specialists, hearing professionals, hearing instrument dispensers, Audiologists or even Doctors of Audiology.

Therefore, in this article, I’ll share an explanation of the key differences and help you to make the best possible decision for your hearing health or a loved ones.

What Do Different Names Mean?

The first thing to understand is that there is only three prominent types of qualifications for hearing care professionals.

They are:

Hearing Instrument Specialist

Education: Typically, they have completed a training program specific to fitting and dispensing hearing aids. In many places, this requires a college diploma or equivalent, and completion of a certification or licensing exam. The education is more focused on the technical aspects of hearing aids rather than a broader understanding of auditory health.

Role: Their primary responsibility is to sell, fit, and repair hearing aids for adults. They assess a person’s need for a hearing aid, make ear impressions, provide instructions on, and monitor the use and care of hearing aids.

Scope: Their scope of practice does not include diagnosing hearing problems or prescribing hearing aids. However, they can provide and adjust hearing aids based on a given prescription or assessment.


Education: Audiologists typically hold a Master’s or Doctoral degree in Audiology. This includes extensive coursework in anatomy, physiology, physics of sound, diagnostics, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and auditory disorders and rehabilitation.

Role: They are healthcare professionals who diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in people of all ages. Audiologists also prescribe , fit, and dispense hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.

Scope: Beyond hearing aids, Audiologists conduct a wide range of tests to determine the exact nature of an individual’s hearing or balance problem and can implement rehabilitation strategies for those with hearing or balance impairments.

Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.)

Education: An Au.D. is a professional Doctoral degree in Audiology. The Au.D. is the entry-level degree for Audiology in the US compared to the Master’s degree in Canada. The Au.D. program typically takes 4 years to complete after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, or 2 years after obtaining a Master’s and involves both coursework and clinical training.

Role: Individuals with an Au.D. have advanced level training that encompasses all aspects of Audiology, making them the highest-trained professionals in the field.

Scope: Just like Audiologists with a Master’s degree, Doctor’s of Audiology diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders. However, their advanced training might equip them with deeper knowledge about certain conditions, treatments, or technologies.

Which Option is Right For You?

The biggest challenge with hearing care is that many people believe that the solution to a hearing loss is a set of hearing aids.

Yet, if you ask somebody that has successfully achieved better hearing they’ll tell you that the more important component is partnering with the right hearing care professionals.

This is why we passionately believe that working with the highest qualified hearing care professional is so important. Hearing loss is something that you’ll live with for the rest of your life, and it’s important to get the expertise to help you make the best long-term decisions.

What Makes Port Credit Audiology Special?

Port Credit Audiology and Hearing Aid Clinic philosophy is focused on providing the highest levels of hearing healthcare. We want to ensure each patient that visits isn’t just tested to a basic standard and introduced to a set of hearing aids, but thoroughly tested with a comprehensive assessment and then introduced to a treatment plan based on their circumstances.

I’m Dario Coletta, M.Sc., Au.D., Reg. CASLPO, and as the owner of Port Credit Audiology and a Doctor of Audiology, I take pride in being among the most highly trained hearing professionals in the country.

My dedication to the field has not only enriched my expertise but has also garnered recognition from numerous peers and fellow hearing care professionals.


To give you a clearer picture of my background and qualifications, here’s a brief overview:

cognitive health on track with better hearing

• M.Sc.: This stands for “Master of Science.” It’s a postgraduate degree that indicates the holder has successfully completed advanced study in a specific scientific discipline. In Dario’s case, it was Audiology.

• Au.D.: This stands for “Doctor of Audiology.”

• Reg. CASLPO: This stands for “Registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario.” CASLPO is the regulatory body for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists in the province of Ontario, Canada. Being “registered” with CASLPO means the professional has met specific standards and is licensed to practice in Ontario. This registration also ensures that they are held to strict professional and ethical standards set by the organization.

If you’re looking to achieve better hearing and you want to do it the right way with the right professionals, then we may be able to help.

You can schedule an appointment, request a call-back, or call us at (905) 990-3755

We look forward to helping you!

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Dario Coletta

Dario Coletta M.Sc., Au.D., Reg. CASLPO Doctor of Audiology is the head Audiologist of Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic. Dario obtained his Doctor of Audiology from A.T. Still University and Master of Science in Audiology from the University of British Columbia following his Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. He currently holds lecturer status at the University of Toronto in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Dario continues to work part-time at the Toronto General Hospital and has knowledge in advanced diagnostics, bespoke hearing aid fittings, and cerumen management. Dario also has a special interest in managing and counselling patients with tinnitus. He brings knowledge and efficiency in prescribing and fitting the newest hearing aid technology, and is committed to helping patients find an individualized solution for their hearing healthcare concerns.