Are you interested in boosting your career by…

  • Developing new professional skills?
  • Honing your knowledge of hearing aid dispensing?
  • Learning from peers and building camaraderie with other professionals?
  • Enhancing your resume with a unique professional experience and skillset?

Then, volunteering to be an NBC-HIS Item Writer is for you!

NBC-HIS has a wonderful opportunity for highly-motivated professionals to share their hearing healthcare knowledge and expertise on the Item Writer Committee for the National Competency Exam (NCE).

NBC-HIS Item Writers play a critical role in development of the board certification exam, creating well-constructed test questions that qualify an applicant’s advanced knowledge of hearing aid dispensing in pursuit of board certification.

Make a difference for the profession with this rewarding experience!

Learn More and Apply Today!



National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences and the International Hearing Society Announce Affiliation Agreement

The National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences (NBC-HIS) and the International Hearing Society (IHS) announced today, February 13, 2019, the signing of an affiliation agreement that brings together each organization’s complementary expertise under one roof. While each organization maintains itself as a separate entity with individual governance and budgetary structures, affiliation and co-location allows for greater collaboration and exploring synergies that help support hearing aid specialists in their professional journey, and ultimately positively affect those with hearing challenges.

Read more about the affiliation agreement here.


The following Editorial was published in the August 2016 edition of the
Hearing Journal.

A Solution to Audiologist Shortage

I recently retired after thirty-seven years as an audiologist. It has been interesting to me to see the evolution in the hearing aid field. When I was in my thirties the old school hearing aid dispensers were urging their children to get their degrees in audiology and continue in the family business. Now there are audiologists, me being one of them, urging their children to become a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (BC-HIS) and come into the family business. Why the change?

I learned very early in my career that there were many caring, intelligent, and ethical hearing instrument specialists that I learned a tremendous amount from. It always bothered me that so many audiologists were working for the destruction of hearing aid dispensers. I never thought I would see the day where they would work together and am so encouraged to see that happening now.

Numerous articles over the last decade have pointed to the pending crisis in audiology. The crisis is here. There are more audiologists retiring or leaving the field than are graduating from our Au.D.. programs. This, at a time when the US hearing loss population has doubled since 1984 and is projected to reach 53 million by 2050 (Kochkin, 2005).

When the income potential is equal between audiologists and BC-HIS in dispensing practices many will question if the additional years of expensive schooling will be worth it in the long run. Especially when you consider the other market pressures we are seeing such as decreasing average sales prices, big box stores, the lessening number of truly independent practices, and the constant introduction of more Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAs) into the marketplace. These are all reasons that I recommended to my son, who already had a master’s degree in education, to become a HIS and then BC-HIS rather than going back to school to become an audiologist.

For many BC-HIS dispensers, this is their second career. So they come in with more real-life experience, work experience, and a different perspective than some who start out in the field straight out of an Au.D. program. This can be particularly helpful if they have had previous sales experience. Many audiologists come out of school with a very clinical point of view and assume that if they explain the loss to their patient and recommend hearing aids that the patient will buy because they will do what the doctor says. Anybody who has been in this field for any length of time knows that that scenario is not the norm. Our field has been waiting for years for the explosion of growth from the Baby Boomers. I am smack dab in the middle of that generation and I can tell you that we are different from the Greatest Generation. Baby Boomers tend to be skeptical, not as trusting, and want to research everything before making a decision. Growth is very possible but it is quite likely that you will need to reach out to that prospective client several times after you have your original evaluation to create the relationship necessary for them to choose to buy from you.

I have not been able to understand the push by some audiologists to have audiology techs. who can be helpful but whose scope of practice is much more limited than a dispenser who is BC-HIS. Why would you want an employee that can only help you extend yourself rather than one who can make money for you whether you are in the office or not? Please do not take what I say in this article as being disrespectful of audiologists. There are many audiologists that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. But there are also many BC-HIS dispensers that I have tremendous respect for and with the significant shortage of audiologists it makes sense to me to hire BC-HIS dispensers and just get on with helping people hear better and increase the capacity of your business. If you are finding the hunt for the right audiologist to be like searching for the abominable snowman then I urge you to check out BC-HIS professionals. You’ll be glad you did.

Laura Dennison, AuD, BC-HIS
Director, National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences


The Silent Auction winners at the 2016 Michigan Alliance of Hearing Care Professionals (MAHCP) 2016 Spring Conference, held in Mt Pleasant, MI. at the Soaring Eagle Resort & Casino, April 1 – 2, 2016.

They won certificates entitles them to waive the application fee and exam fee for the Board Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. (Value $225.00)

Prior to the convention Kyle was in the group that sat for the BC-HIS  certification exam (paper base) April 1, 2016.


The Silent Auction winners at the 2016 Minnesota Hearing Healthcare Providers, Inc. Annual Convention, held in Minnetonka, MN. March 4 & 5, 2016. They won certificates entitles them to waive the application fee and exam fee for the Board Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. (Value $225.00)

Following the convention Jerry and Courtney were in the group that sat for the BC-HIS  certification exam (paper base) March 5th.

From left to right:
Jerry L. Meinders, New Ulm, MN
Courtney Mitulichek, Richfield, MN
Scott Lau, BC-HIS, NBC-HIS Executive Council Member, Eau Claire, WI.


The Silent Auction winners at the 2016 Wisconsin Alliance of Hearing Professionals Annual Meeting, January 8 -9, 2016, Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells. They won certificates entitles them to waive the application fee and exam fee for the Board Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. (Value $225.00)

From left to right:
Samantha Sikorski, Rice Lake, WI..
Joli Robinson, BC-HIS, NBC-HIS Executive Council Member, Rockford, IL.
Ross Gwynn, Eau Claire, WI.


The Silent Auction winners at the 2015 New England Hearing Healthcare Conference, November 19-20, 2015, at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT. They won certificates which entitles them to waive the application fee and exam fee for the Board Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. (Value $225.00)

From left to right.
Judi Bergeron, Beauport Hearing Care, Gloucester, MA.
Laura B. Dennison, AUD, BC-HIS, NBC-HIS Executive Council Member, Shelbyville, KY.
Suzanne Rakov, Brookline Hearing Services, Brookline, MA.


NBC-HIS sponsored two items for the raffle at the Hearing Health Care Alliance of New York (HHCANY). A certificate to take the Board certification at no cost (Hearing Health Care Alliance of New York (HHCANY). (Value $225.00)

Winner Carl Case Jr.  and NBC-HIS Executive Council Member Penny Peacock


NBC-HIS sponsored two items for the Ontario Association of Hearing Practitioners raffle at their annual event in Niagara Falls, Canada in May 2015. A certificate to take the Board certification at no cost and  $250 Visa gift cards. The raffle added a little bit of fun and excitement to the event.

Mimi Davakos of London Ontario won the certificate for the exam worth $225
Eric Kwan won the Visa gift cards


NBC-HIS presents at the Ontario Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners annual conference in Niagara Falls, Canada May 2015.

Patient Brochure

I always like to keep my NBC-HIS patient handout brochures easily visible and accessible for my patients.  I like to also make sure that every new patient that comes in receives one.   These little things have been a tremendous help to not only myself, but for my patients to know they are working with a credential professional.   Over the years I have experienced hearing from new clients different things “competition” has said about me to try and play down the education and professionalism of the dispenser, so I have been proud to display my certifications and education.  Taking the opportunity to educate our patients on our credentials is an important step that a lot of hearing professionals miss.

Order Patient Brochures by emailing or call 734.522.2900.

Submitted by:
Joli Robinson, BC-HIS, ACA

Why Would an Audiologist Want to be Board Certified?

I have been board certified for many years.  On occasion colleagues have asked me why I would bother.  I bother because it is one more thing that sets me apart from competition. To me, board certification is a symbol of the passion I have for helping people hear better.  That passion is not exclusive to either audiologists or hearing aid specialists.  The field of audiology is a broad one.  Board certification is the way to show that my professional focus is on hearing aids and how they improve people’s lives.

So if you are an audiologist looking for another way to separate yourself from the pack and you have a passion for helping people hear better I encourage you to get your BC-HIS. It’s affordable, attainable and accessible.

Submitted by:
Laura Dennison, Au.D., BC-HIS

Could a Hearing Screening Really Save Lives?

Recently an interesting article crossed my path. The article in question was about children, ear health and hearing, and links to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Since many of my friends and family are parents to young children, or are becoming new parents any day now, this article was in such high circulation on social media it was hard to miss.

As it turns out, a Seattle-based Anesthesiologist, Dr. Reubens from Seattle Children’s Hospital recently uncovered an interesting link; evidence suggested that in young infants, there was a statistically significant correlation between having damage to the cochlea or the inner ear and suffering death from SIDS. The original research looked at hearing screening results that were obtained during 13 years of previous audiology-based research and records conducted on infants. Of the subjects, 31 infants had died from SIDS and each of these infants’ hearing records indicated they had hearing loss. It appears as though there is a strong link between inner ear damage and risk factors for SIDS.

Dr. Reubens is still working on the hypothesis that could help us better understand the mechanism underlying this effect. His theory suggests the inner ear holds specialized nerve tissues that are somehow responsible for detecting high CO2 volumes in the brain to help regulate breathing and Oxygen intake levels. If this is true, this CO2 monitoring fails when the inner ear is damaged, essentially preventing infants from regulating their own breathing while asleep. Of course, much research is needed before researchers and scientists will know exactly why the link between hearing loss and SIDS is so prominent in these cases.

Until then, these preliminary findings give us yet another reason to continue to practice and advocate for Universal Early Infant Hearing Screening programs across Canada and the United States.

The original article was posted through the Seattle Children’s Hospital website

Tania Gora MSc, R.Au.D, Au.D(C)
Registered Audiologist

Missing Sounds That Signal That It’s Time To Get Your Hearing Checked

When fitting hearing aids, I often come across a person who is surprised that certain sounds exist. Everyday noises can be exciting and sometimes irritating and reactions to these sounds differ from person to person. Some clients find comfort when they hear their fridge running for the first time while others get frustrated by the constant noise of their running fridge. Sound impacts clients differently but giving clients the option of hearing these sounds is what is important.

Now consider the signal light in your car. We have all driven behind people that appear to be turning and never do and for the most part this sound could be meaningless; however, this is a sound that we are so used to hearing that it can easily be lost over time. Many first-time hearing aid users claim they are amazed that they can hear their signal light again. They pick up their new hearing aids and the first sound they hear when they drive away is their signal light. This demonstrates the importance this sound has to first-time hearing aid users. We rely on our signal light sound so we can be sure to let drivers around us know our intentions on the road. For the most part, other drivers and pedestrians are just annoyed by the continuous signaler. However, there are times when this little unintentional mistake can cause frustration, or worse, a full-blown accident.

The next time you go for a drive, have a listen and see if you can hear your signal light. If you can no longer hear the tick tick tick, it may be time to check your hearing.

Amanda McLeod, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences

The Golden Rules for Hearing Aids (and I’ve broken them all)

I have been wearing hearing aids for a long time—27 years in fact. I’ve also been fitting people with hearing aids for about 11 years or so. There are things that I say over and over to each new client and each new fitting of hearing aids, even if my client has been wearing hearing aids longer than I have. The rules really haven’t changed much over the years, but the hearing aids themselves sure have.

I remember when I was 6 years old, driving into the city, to be fitted with my first set of hearing aids. I can remember the dim office building, the smell of my new hearing aids and the sound of hearing with them for the first time. I was not a fan, to put it lightly. I did listen carefully to the instructions and I can still remember hearing them, and I myself, now echo those words to my clients.

1) Wear them every day

2) Take them out when you go to bed

3) Open up the battery door when you take them out

4) Clean them every day

5) Never get them wet

I tell my clients these things all the time, and yet I have to admit, I don’t follow my own rules and I certainly did not follow these rules when I was six.

I would often slip them out of my ears on the way to school and put them in my pocket. I would tell my teacher that I had forgotten them at home. Inevitably, I would forget about them and leave them in my pockets only to have my mom find them in the washing machine or dryer the next day. So I guess I had been breaking the rules early on. I would strongly suggest not washing your hearing aids in the washing machine. That is not how we want you to clean them.

Wearing your hearing aids every day helps you get used to them. The odd sounds that you hear the first few days quickly become normal. The background sounds that seems to be a cross for hearing aid wearers to bear, become part of the everyday sounds that we automatically block out. If you only wear your hearing aids every once in a while, it’s very difficult to get used to them.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of putting your hearing aids in the same, safe place every time you take them out. I know one of my dad’s hearing aids was eaten by his sister’s dog while visiting her in Toronto and another one of his hearing aids is currently rusting on the bottom of the Okanagan Lake— courtesy of my sister grabbing his towel and not knowing the hearing aid was wrapped in it.

While on vacation in Aruba a few years ago, I left my Receiver in the Canal (RIC) hearing aids in my ears while in the pool and in the ocean. I wanted to be able to hear my friends while enjoying the water. I was very careful and I had a set of my old hearing aids with me as a backup. It’s not something I would recommend advising my clients to do, because there is always going to be that person who cannon balls into the pool or that rouge wave that catches you unaware.

Two years ago, I had my twin boys. I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and I kept my hearing aids in the whole time. With being a new mom, anxious to hear every sound and cry of her newborns and having doctors and nurses come into the room at all hours, I didn’t want to miss or hear anything incorrectly. I also know that a number of hearing aids go missing while in the hospital, so I wasn’t going to take any chances. Once we got home, I still slept with one hearing aid in, just to make sure I could hear a cry at night.

The fact that I wore my hearing aids with no problems or discomfort, speaks loudly to how far hearing aids have come since I was 6 years old. The cry (or screaming) of two newborns did not make me cringe at all because they were so comfortable and I even forgot they were there. To be able to hear the soft words of a nurse not wanting to wake the babies was not an issue for me.

So I guess I am a rule breaker when it comes to my hearing aids. But I depend on my hearing aids daily— they are my lifelines. Without them, I would be so isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, that I do push the limits with them. The fact that I can do that though, that I can be hard on my hearing aids, that my two year olds can yank my hearing aids out of my ears and have them fall on the floor, and to go a week without cleaning them, and expose them to moisture, dust, sticky fingers, and they still work is a wonderful testament on how hardy these things really are and how far they have come since the 1980s and even since 2000.

 Hearing aids are constantly evolving, trying to become part of our lives and not a hindrance. While I do not recommend doing what I do to my hearing aids, I do suggest that you take a second look at what hearing aids can do now days. These are not your grandparents’ hearing aids; these are your future lifeline to better hearing and a better quality of life.

Jackie Brosius BC-HIS, RHAP
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

Can Hearing Aids Cause Hearing Loss or Damage Your Hearing?

While it is possible that a hearing aid may cause hearing damage if it is not fit according to the client’s prescription. Properly fitted hearing aids do not cause hearing loss or damage. Think about it this way: if you were to blast someone with loud music over a set of headphones, it could result in some hearing damage, but it wouldn’t mean that headphones in general are harmful.

During a visit to one of our professionals, the first thing they will do is a hearing test to make sure the hearing aid is correct and suitable for the client’s hearing loss and lifestyle. During a separate visit, the hearing aids are programmed to match the hearing loss. There are also some protocols that professionals have to follow. For example, we can verify if the hearing aids are “too loud” and make sure loud sounds are not uncomfortable by checking the hearing aids in real time while they are in the client’s ear. This is completed with a verification system during the hearing aid fitting. There is also a limit set on the hearing aids so they do not amplify past a certain point in order to ensure that a loud sound in the environment will not harm the hearing aid user. During the hearing aid fitting, we spend time with clients to make sure their new hearing aids are sounding comfortable before they even leave our office.

Further, it is important to keep in mind that hearing aids are not used for hearing protection. If a client works in an environment where there is very loud equipment such as a jackhammer, they should use proper hearing protection.

Clients CAN expect the world around them to be sharper and sound louder after being fitted with hearing aids, but this is completely normal. It takes time for the brain to adjust to a new “normal”. Usually, over the next couple of weeks, things start to sound more natural. To compare, think about how your eyes adjust to light after being in a dark room for a while. If you suddenly turn on the lights, it might seem too bright because your eyes need to adjust. Once they do adjust, however, the world around you is clear and full of life. Now, think about how this also applies to hearing aids. Once you adjust to your new normal with wearing hearing aids, you may actually find the world around you sounds muffled and very quiet when you take them off!

On average, it can take some people over 10 years to come in and do something about their hearing loss. Sometimes you don’t realize what you are truly missing. The first step is going to a professional for a hearing test. Let us help you to hear the world around you and fill in the blanks.

Danielle De Roose, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

Empathy: Hear What I Hear

By definition, empathy has two meanings. One is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to fully understand or “feel” what they are experiencing so that they can really feel understood. The other is to be able to relate to someone else’s situation because you’ve personally experienced the same thing.

It might not always be possible to use personal experience, but as caring humans we are capable of investing deep thought and feeling to imagining what it would feel like if we were to have the same experience as someone else. This takes more thought and effort than offering sympathy, which by definition is recognition of another’s suffering and is expressed by kind words meant to soothe the person who is suffering.

Sympathy is not out of place here; it is usually very honest and coming from the heart, but what we find our clients really need is empathy. Due to our initial and ongoing education and many years working with people who have hearing loss, we know that living with this is difficult. Our Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialists (BC-HIS) care about these difficulties. We want to get to know you and find out how hearing loss affects you so that we can better empathize with your specific wants and wishes. This enables us to put “ourselves into your shoes”, allows us to determine the best course of action, and gives us the tools we need to recommend the best quality hearing solutions to meet your needs and expectations. We want you to hear your loved ones in the car, and we want you to be able to chat about the weather with the cashier at the grocery store with ease. We also definitely want you to hear your grandchildren describe what they did in school on a particular day. Human interaction is important to a healthy life!

We all suffer at some point in our lives, but if we can empathize with each other we are opening a door to more personal connection and better communication, which leads to more understanding and hopefully more happiness..

Kim Ryll, BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner

Will Wearing Hearing Aids Help with Your Balance?

We use our vision to help us balance. If we walk outside and the path is uneven, we adjust our steps and our balance based on this visual information. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense that our hearing also may affect our balance?

According to a study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine, people who have hearing loss and who wear hearing aids appeared to have better balance than those with a hearing loss and no hearing aids. Participants seemed to be using the sound information from their hearing aids as auditory reference points or markers to help maintain their balance.

Another study that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, conducted with clients aged 40 to 69 by Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, confirmed that hearing does contribute to balance. Even with a mild loss (25 decibels), people are nearly three times more likely to have a history of falls than people without a hearing loss. They were also able to determine that as the hearing decreased, the risk of falls increased.

Valerie Stroeder, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences


Denial of Hearing Loss

How do you interact to people with an untreated hearing loss? The majority of us become frustrated with the constant repeating of conversations. We are less likely to interact with people who constantly ask us to repeat ourselves. Yet, if we are the person with an untreated hearing loss, we overwhelmingly deny the possibility that others could react to us with that same frustration.

Why do so many seniors deny their hearing loss? The answer is complicated. To effectively treat hearing loss we must first overcome a mix of psychological, physical, and financial issues. Studies have found that a significant factor in the denial of hearing loss and treatment is a perception that hearing aids will somehow make the user look old or weak. Although most seniors say they do not judge others who use hearing aids, they still hold on to the idea that hearing aids are a sign that they are aging and starting to look frail. The thought of getting hearing aids that fit and function properly, not to mention paying for them, are other factors that can cause seniors to give up before they even start.

The average senior waits about 7 years to seek treatment for their hearing loss. This delay comes at a tremendous cost. A recent study by the National Council on Aging of 2,304 people with hearing loss found that those who didn’t use hearing aids were 50% more likely to experience depression than people who did wear hearing aids. The study also found that people with hearing loss often avoided participating in social activities.

Seeking treatment for hearing loss is more than just hearing conversations. When people with hearing loss wear the latest in hearing technology, they regain control of their lives. They are more emotionally stable, and they are more likely to participate in social activities. Often cognitive function is increased with the use of hearing aids. Ask yourself if you’ve ever had the following thoughts:

  • My hearing is not bad enough to need hearing aids
  • If others would speak clearly and not mumble I would hear fine
  • Hearing loss is ok; it is part of the aging process and no big deal
  • Hearing loss is not life-threatening, therefore it isn’t important
  • Hearing loss is a weakness
  • I have become dependent on coping strategies like turning up the TV, having others speak directly to you or lip read
  • I do not understand the benefits of hearing aids
  • Hearing aids cost too much

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, I would challenge you to book an appointment as soon as possible with a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (BC-HIS) so they can do a hearing evaluation and expand your confidence in using hearing aids. Help them help you take control of your life so that you can continue to age gracefully.

Cathy Robinson BC-HIS
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner