Who Should I See for My Child’s Hearing Concerns?

Educational audiologists like those who work at Heartland AEA are members of school multidisciplinary teams who: 

  • Facilitate listening, learning and communication access via specialized assessments,
  • Recommend, fit and manage hearing assistance technology (HAT),
  • Provide and recommend support services and resources and
  • Advocate on behalf of students.

When educational audiologists identify a hearing concern, medical follow-up is usually recommended. Hearing concerns are often due to an ear infection or other middle ear issues. Once a hearing concern is identified, a family should consult with their child’s physician. It may be necessary to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician for any ongoing or recurrent medical issues related to the ears. Most ENT physicians work with clinical audiologists who can do further testing in the medical setting and assess if/when any medical intervention has been successful. Educational audiologists do not routinely follow up on recurrent infections or other middle ear issues.

Although both educational and clinical audiologists hold a master’s or doctoral degree, maintain appropriate professional licensure and counsel families, the chart below may help you determine who to contact when follow-up testing is needed.

Who Should I Contact?
Educational Audiologist Clinical Audiologist & ENT
Interpret audiology/ENT reports for families, school staff and other IFSP/IEP/504 team members Interpret audiology/ENT reports for families
Conduct functional assessments to determine a learner’s listening needs in the educational setting Conduct clinical assessments for the treatment and monitoring of hearing loss/medical concerns and hearing device management
Make recommendations about accommodations and supports needed for a learner’s access to verbal instruction Make recommendations and monitor treatment of middle ear concerns and permanent hearing loss
Make recommendations for, fit and ensure proper functioning of hearing assistive technology to support a learner’s access to instruction Make recommendations for, fit and ensure the proper functioning of family-owned amplification and cochlear implants
Serve as a member of IEP/IFSP teams for students who have permanent hearing loss Monitor for CMV/chemo/family history of hearing loss
Train school staff on the use of hearing assistive technology and other learner accommodations due to hearing loss Evaluate for balance, dizziness and tinnitus concerns
Partner with districts to conduct school hearing screenings