You might have wondered what the difference is between seeing a person with the title of Hearing Aid Dispenser and someone with the letters Au.D., CCC-A after their name.

What Do They Have in Common?

In a nutshell, you’ll often see hearing aid dispensers at places like a Costco hearing center — ready to do a hearing test and sell and fit listening devices.

You’ll likely see an audiologist at a hearing clinic — who can also do a hearing assessment, help you buy hearing devices and fit them for you, but who is mainly ready to look after every facet of your hearing health.

What Do They Do, Exactly?

A Hearing Aid Dispenser

A hearing aid dispenser is someone who is licensed to fit and dispense hearing aids. Depending on each state’s rules, they might also perform basic hearing tests, adjust hearing aids, and counsel and educate patients with concerns about their hearing and hearing aid usage.

A hearing aid dispenser can study for about twelve weeks, pass the hearing aid specialist exam, and start working as a licensed hearing aid dispenser in 3 to 6 months.

  • Hearing aid dispensers can only recommend and fit hearing aids on adults.
  • They cannot bill most insurance companies for hearing devices.
  • Once you’ve seen a hearing aid dispenser, you might never see them again once they’ve sold you your hearing aids.
An Audiologist

An audiologist is a doctor of audiology who is licensed to diagnose and treat any and all aspects of a person’s hearing. He or she will have studied humans’ perception of sounds, hearing in the middle ear and the brain, hearing loss, balance disorders, and the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system.

It takes about eight years to become a doctor of audiology. An audiologist has to have a bachelor’s — preferably in in the natural and social sciences, mathematics, and humanities — and then study for a further three years and do a year of externship. Most audiologists working in a hearing clinic will have earned a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree.

  • Once you’ve seen an audiologist, we hope you will continue seeing them for the rest of your life, for the sake of your hearing health.

What Is an Audiologist Skilled At?

In addition to fitting hearing devices, an audiologist is qualified to:

  • Diagnose and treat any cause of hearing loss
  • Assess and treat any type of tinnitus and its cause
  • Assess and treat vestibular disorders
  • Bill insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid
  • Assess and treat auditory processing disorders
  • Test for candidacy for cochlear implants
  • Educate on, prevent, and monitor for any effects of a patient’s ototoxic treatments on hearing – chemotherapy, radiation, and more
  • Educate, prevent, and monitor for any effects of a patient’s substance abuse
  • Evaluate, educate on, and provide aural and vestibular rehabilitation therapy
  • Consult on amplification systems for classrooms, event centers, conference rooms
  • Counsel patients and their family members
  • Develop hearing conservation programs

As you can see, an audiologist is an auditory superstar who is qualified to find and treat anything going on in a person’s auditory and vestibular systems, no matter the age.

As we say on our Why Us page, our focus is on “providing overall hearing care that improves relationships, allows for greater independence, and helps achieve a better quality of life.” We mean every word of it. This is why we’ve spent eight years each getting our audiology degrees. This is why we’ve been in Pensacola for 45 years. Because you matter to us. Your hearing matters to us.

Come see us. Contact us for an appointment or with any questions. We can’t wait to help you begin your hearing journey with us.

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Jennifer LaBorde Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Jennifer LaBorde is an audiologist who has been in practice since 1999. She has a Masters in Communication Disorders from University of South Alabama, Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Mississippi, a Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology.
    I enjoy my life much more with my hearing back intact


    The first time I noticed signs of a hearing loss was back when I was with the Memphis Police Force on the first anti-sniper unit (SWAT) team. Shooting many rounds of guns a week led to ringing in my ears, which it seemed was the start of my hearing loss.
    The Hearing Center is the very best in the business. They were the most helpful in the profession that I had seen.
    Since getting my hearing aids, I have no regrets. I enjoy my life much more with my hearing back intact.
    If you are considering using The Hearing Center, expect to be impressed by the best in the hearing aid business. It’s wonderful to hear well again and I can’t thank them enough.
    Bobby Bridges


    I was very impressed. The people were friendly and knowledgable.


    I first noticed my hearing loss when I was having to ask people to repeat themselves a lot. I decided to get my first hearing test and I was very impressed with the service from The Hearing Center. The people were friendly and knowledgeable.
    Now, I would not be able to cope without my hearing aids. I can now carry a conversation.
    I can highly recommend seeking help from The Hearing Center if you are struggling with a hearing loss.
    Edward Cohen


    I can hear my kids playing, I feel less tired, and I have more energy!

    My hearing loss started when I was just 10 years old as a result of multiple ear infections. I was really struggling to hear, and as a result, I had to have a lot of ear construction to save my hearing. I was told that I would never be able to hear certain tones again.
    For many years, I was living in a world of isolation and I believed that there was no way that I would get all of my hearing back. I had an opinion that hearing aids were for older people.
    When I first approached The Hearing Center, everyone was very warm and welcoming, and it did not matter how many questions I had. They answered them and were very patient with me.
    They fitted me with hearing aids and the results have been life-changing. I can hear my children. They can no longer come up behind me and scare me! I feel less tired, I have more energy, and as a result, I am losing weight.
    Getting help with my hearing from The Hearing Center was the best thing I ever did!
    Natasha Hastings

    The Hearing Center truly cares about helping me.



    I have visited many different hearing care providers over the years but none compare to the level of care I have received from Dr. LaBorde and the staff at The Hearing Center.
    I can honestly say they have changed my life by helping me to regain hearing clarity. I highly recommend them.
    Robert Sullivan