The hearing instrument specialist is trained in the assessment of patients who specifically seek rehabilitation for hearing loss. In New Jersey, the State Board of Medical Examiners, Hearing Aid Dispensers Examining Committee, will grant a hearing aid dispenser license to an individual who has met the experiential criteria and has passed both written and practical examinations. The licensing process is strict. In addition, licensees are required to complete professional continuing education throughout each biennial registration period. This process ensures that licensed hearing instrument specialists are competent when they enter the field and continue to practice while improving and updating their knowledge and level of competence. In New Jersey, both hearing instrument specialists and audiologists must meet the requirements and pass the same examinations to be awarded a license to dispense (sell and service) hearing instruments and related products and to rehabilitate persons with hearing loss. All New Jersey hearing aid dispensers have, at minimum, a license to practice. Some dispensers continue to upgrade their credentials through the National Board Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences (NBC-HIS) and/or the American Conference of Audioprosthology (ACA).
The achievement of NBC-HIS indicates that your hearing instrument specialist had the initiative to excel beyond the minimal requirements to practice. Eligibility to apply for Board Certification comes after at least two years of licensed practice. The applicant must then pass a psychometric national competency examination administered by a panel of experts and, by so doing, demonstrate an exemplary level of knowledge, skill, and expertise in the field of hearing aid dispensing. Continuing professional education is also mandatory for continuation of the NBC-HIS credential. The ACA is the premier educational program that offers hearing instrument specialists the opportunity to grow their practices, reach higher educational goals and establish themselves as respected healthcare providers. The Audioprosthology program is sponsored by the International Institute of Hearing Instrument Studies, the educational division of the International Hearing Society, and is recognized by the American Council on Education. The ACA credential signifies that the hearing care practitioners has achieved an even higher level of expertise to better serve persons in need of hearing help. Hearing instrument specialists with the ACA have earned an advanced professional credential that distinguishes them from their peers.