Hearing Instrument Specialist

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Fitting a Patient Grinding an ear mold Testing a Patient

What Hearing Instrument Specialists Do

Hearing instrument specialists (HIS) perform hearing testing, patient counseling, ear impressions and hearing instrument fitting and adjustment, frequently using a computer and specialized software. Hearing instrument specialists typically work regular office hours. Job satisfaction among hearing instrument specialists is high, partly because of the diverse activities HIS specialists perform. Most specialists say their profession is personally rewarding because they help people with their critical need to hear.

What are hearing instruments?

Hearing instruments refer to what are traditionally known as hearing aids. Hearing instruments are professionally-tuned listening devices used by individuals with hearing loss.

Test Results

Nationally, job placement opportunities for this program's graduates are excellent. This field lacks a source of formally educated and trained professionals in the field of "hearing instrument specialist technologies." Currently, only two programs offer a college degree in hearing instrument sciences in the State of Washington. These programs have been developed with the guidance of a cooperative government and industry published skills standards study.

This field's need for our students is considered to be statistically high both in the state of Washington and throughout the nation. The continued growth in an ever-increasing aging population suggests an increasing need for hearing health care professionals well into the future. Graduates of this program can expect that employment opportunities will be readily available to them, though relocation will be necessary. National multi-cultural employment/population trends also speak well of all students'' employment opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.

While Washington State's licensing requirements are among the nation's most rigorous, additional education requirements may be required outside of Washington. For this reason, students are encouraged to contact the state certification/licensure boards in the state where they are seeking employment for additional requirements.

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What is Worker Retraining?

Worker Retraining is a Washington state cooperative initiative between the Community Colleges of Spokane and the Washington State Employment Security Department. This initiative is designed to help unemployed workers retrain and re-enter the workforce. Priority is given to dislocated workers. Services provided through this initiative are:

  • Financial assistance, which may be used only for tuition, books, childcare and transportation
  • Employment and training assistance
  • Counseling
  • School-to-work and job transition
  • Career planning
  • Customized retraining
  • Entrepreneurial training
  • On-campus access to a qualified Employment Security counselor

For more information, visit the Worker Retraining website

Fitting a Patient

"My degree from the hearing instrument specialist program has allowed me to switch careers into a challenging new field filled with rewards, both personal and financial. Becoming a hearing instrument specialist has allowed me to flourish personally while enriching the lives of others through better hearing."

(Mitch Yarbrough, A.A.S., BC-HIS; Columbia Hearing Centers - Spokane ENT Clinic, P.S., SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist Program Graduate)

"The SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist program has given me a profession. With this two year degree program I am now earning more than I expected when I left college. The potential for earning a living, while at the same time helping people get back part of their life, is all within your grasp. It is a thrill to help someone hear when he or she thought there was no hope. I am now the manager of a hearing center and licensed in two states. There is a freedom in knowing that the service you perform is a real need in people's lives. There are opportunities within the hearing industry for self-employment, dispensing for private practice, or with major manufacturers that have their own stand alone offices. Spokane Falls is a wonderful place to learn and grow into the professional you want to become."

(Carolyn Lovelace, A.A.S., BC-HIS; Manager, Costco Hearing Aid Center (Nevada), SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist Program Graduate)

"The Hearing Instrument Specialist program at Spokane Falls is a state-of-the-art facility. The education and experience is second to none, even for a practicing professional as I was when entering the program."

(Todd Betts, A.A.S., BC-HIS; Columbia Hearing Centers - Spokane Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic, P.S., SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist Program Graduate)

"Education is the key to success, and receiving my SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist degree has enabled my professional success. My V.A. benefits provided the financial assistance I needed during this critical transition back to school. The SFCC Veterans office introduced me to the Hearing Instrument Specialist program. It appealed to me immediately. The exceptional preparation I received resulted in employment even before I graduated. I'm greatly thankful and fortunate for the support I received."

(Lori Kunicki, A.A.S., BC-HIS; Sears Hearing Centers, SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist Program Graduate)

"I highly recommend the Hearing Instrument Specialist program at SFCC. This program has not only prepared and started me in a great career with high demand, but has taught me valuable skills that have been very useful in my life."

(Daniel Malmberg, A.A.S.; A-Plus Hearing Aids, SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist Program Graduate)

"Receiving my degree from the Hearing Instrument Specialist program at SFCC has prepared me for and provided me a great job with opportunities in various office settings within the hearing instrument field. When someone's quality of life improves with hearing instruments, it makes my decision to go into this career very worthwhile."

(Julia Bytnar, A.A.S., BC-HIS; Costco Hearing Aid Center (Washington), SFCC Hearing Instrument Specialist Program Graduate)

International Testimonials

"As a student of the Hearing Instrument Specialist program at SFCC since fall 2004, I am impressed with their excellent teaching methods and professional guidance. I am eagerly looking forward to putting all I have learned academically into practice. After graduation I hope to go back to my own country to set up my own practice to help the large number of hearing impaired people in Malaysia."

(Lee Chin Chong, 2nd Year International Student - Scheduled to Graduate June 2006, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

"The Hearing Instrument Specialist program is a wonderful program. I really like the instructors; they are amazing. The program has taught me a lot about the ear's anatomy, diseases of the ear, hearing aid amplification and patient care. As an international student, the program has been very challenging because English is my third language, but my instructors are always there helping all the students."

(Abraham Garcia, International Student - Scheduled to Graduate June 2007, Paraguay, South America)

"Being here in America as an international student at SFCC for almost a year now, the Hearing Instrument Specialist program has really taught me about the human ear and the difficulty those with hearing loss must deal with. Our classes are complete with lab tools and materials which significantly aid our learning much more about hearing aids. The instructors are really helpful when I am facing a problem. Since English is my second language learning something new in this professional field is really a challenge for me. However I am very grateful for the help I receive from my instructors and classmates; it makes a big difference."

(Lee Li Chong, 1st year International Student - Scheduled to Graduate June 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)