Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians
Hearing Aid Specialists Regulations [18 VAC 80 ‑ 20]
Action Amendments to Board for Hearing Aid Specialists Regulations 2012
Comment Period Ended on 3/14/2012
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3/9/12  1:33 pm
Commenter: Donna Marie Mallory, Au.D, CCC-A Culpeper Hearing Center

Licensed Virginia Audiologists should be exempt from taking the HA Dispenser Examination

An audiologist is a specialist in the auditory system, and is trained to diagnose hearing pathology, and treat non-medically caused hearing loss, among other things.  The use of hearing aids and assistive listening devices is the best course of management to treat hearing loss.  At James Madison University, the only Virginia university that offers the Au.D. degree, the curriculum covers two semester courses specifically in hearing aids and provides many hours of practical training in hearing aid selection, fitting, and follow up for students enrolled in the program.  All graduate programs in the US are accredited by the same agency, so standards for obtaining an Au.D. degree are consistent in this country.  Audiologists literally have hundreds of hands on experience and direct supervised training in fitting hearing devices.

Currently in Virginia, an Audiologist must take the examination to obtain a license to dispense hearing aids, and this is redundant based on our educational level, training, and testing required to obtain a Virginia Audiology license.  As audiologists, we are also required to obtain 30 hours of continuing education every two years, something that Hearing Aids Specialists are not required to do, so our profession is clearly qualified to fit hearing devices and stay current with the rapidly changing technology.  Audiologists should clearly be exempt from taking another examination to obtain a HAS license.

More than half the states in the US now allow audiologists to either practice under one state license, or allow exemption from taking an examination for a HA Specialty license.  Taking the examination for newly licensed audiologists in Virginia can present a hardship due to resources to get to Richmond; the limited availability of examination offering,  financial loss of revenue for the employer and audiologists,cost of travel and/or hotel stay,  and loss of time out of the office for patient care.

The proposed exemption in the Virginia HA Specialists code is reflective of the growth and change in the profession of Audiology. 

Thank you.

CommentID: 23463