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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3/13/12  8:13 pm
Commenter: Richard Navarro, Ph.D, CCC-A, Board Certified Audiologist

Audiologists should be exempt from taking the hearing aid dispenser's examination

In Texas, audiologists have been exempted from taking the hearing aid dispenser's licensing exam since 2003. In all this time, there has not been any significant problem. The amount of information on the national hearing aid examination is approximately equivalent to the introductory course in audiology and less than half of an introductory audiology hearing aid course. In addition to these courses, audiologists take many other courses which far exceed the minimal requirements of the national hearing aid examination. In spite of 40 years of experience as an audiologist, I was required to take the national hearing aid examination two years ago in another state. The training materials I received had many factual errors which the neophyte hearing aid dispenser would not recognize particularly since those materials were provided by hearing aid dispensers who were supposed to know the material.  I had a near perfect score on every part of the exam. It was a total waste of taxpayer money.

In addition to the knowledge based courses, audiologist have extensive supervised practicum working under experienced audiologists. New graduates in audiology must have a minimum  2000 clinical clock hours in supervised practicum, a one year post graduate internship, and over 70 university graduate credit hours. They also take a much more rigorous national examination covering many more information areas than simple diagnostics and hearing aid information.  Audiologists are also bound by a stringent Code of Ethics which is designed to protect the consumer at all times.

The people of the Commonwealth of Virginia would be more than adequately protected by exempting audiologists from this basic examination. In fact, the best protection your Commonwealth could provide would be to require that all future hearing aid dispensers have a doctoral degree in audiology.

CommentID: 23522