Hi Roger....I've been reading your posts and wanted to chime in a bit. I am a Florida Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist and have been for 5 years. With all due respect, Audiologists definitely have much more education than a Hearing Aid Specialist, but becoming a licensed Hearing Aid Specialist is not that easy. I am also a former EMT, and honestly the state boards were more difficult to become a Specialist than it was to be an EMT. I do have a Bachelor's Degree in Communication as well. I have worked on various hearing aid manufacturers in the past 5 years, from the really cheap aids (approx. $500 each) to the really expensive aids (approx. $4,000 each). I currently work at a Sam's Club (for the past 3 years) as their Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist, where I have a nice salary, benefits and paid time off. I have helped so many people hear better, which is why I love my job! I keep extremely busy where sometimes I don't even get a lunch break and stay late, even during the summer months, which is usually a slower time in the hearing aid industry. I have never had so many happy patients and I've converted so many people from the traditional (WDRC = Wide Dynamic Range Compression) hearing aids to Liberty Hearing Aids which uses (ADRO= Adaptive Dynamic Range Optimization) this is the same technology that is used in a cochlear implant which they have a patent on it!! The Liberty Hearing Aids also have 32, 64, and 96 channels which means the hearing loss will be better fine tuned for a more natural sound and better clarity. Also, I have tested so many people and they always tell me that it was the most thorough, comprehensive hearing test they've ever had....even better than their Audiologist hearing test!! I'll have patients come in with their tests from other hearing aid places and also from Audiologists. I notice they usually leave out UCL's (uncomfortable level) as well as Binaural speech discrimination (how well you hear words in both ears with amplification), plus some frequencies that I always test, but don't have to. I'm sorry I'm rambling on, but just wanted to give some info and educate others. People ask me all the time if I'm an Audiologist and I say no, but I make sure they know that I am an educated, caring, professional licensed hearing aid specialist who has a passion for helping people hear better! I think about going back to school to become an Audiologist, but honestly it would be just for the title and not really worth my time and money to go back to school. Also, Sam's Club does have some Audiologists working in their Hearing Aid Centers. Bottom line, Sam's/Liberty has great products with the latest technology with so many features (now with Bluetooth, wireless and 96 channels), 90 day 100% money back guarantee (you can't beat that), great service, and now for the holidays...24 months interest free on Sam's Master Card. I fit my patients by what kind of hearing loss they have, what kind of lifestyle they lead, what features they may want, and of course their budget. It's all about helping them hear better....that's our company slogan HPHB...Helping People Hear Better!!!
Roger, I hope this helps you, as well as others. Take care & good luck!!