An Audiologist is the only hearing care provider with doctoral degree in Audiology, an Au.D. This is a 7-8 year college degree focused on diseases that cause permanent hearing loss and the variety of treatments used for it. These "hearing doctors" are not physicians but usually work closely with ear surgeons who treat other types of ear diseases and problems. Audiologists have two years of training that is focused specifically on using technology (such as hearing aids) to treat hearing loss.
Audiologists work in hospitals, medical clinics, private practices (such as ours), ear surgeon offices, universities, and Veteran Administration hospitals. Audiologists are trained to help you decide whether your hearing loss needs medical, surgical, or hearing aid treatment.
The other kind of hearing service provider you may meet is the Hearing Instrument Specialist. These providers have no specific college or technical training in hearing, ear anatomy, or treatments - they learn on the job and typically are more focused on the sale of hearing aids. They are employed in hearing aid businesses and big box stores that sell hearing aids as a consumer product rather than a hearing loss treatment. They are not approved providers for Medicare programs or for the Veterans Administration.
At Carolina Hearing Doctors we employ two Audiologists but also two hearing aid specialists as technical support people. All of your hearing care and hearing aid decisions are made by our Doctors of Audiology, Dr. Scott Mills and Dr. Anna Nichols.