Can a registered hearing aid practitioners (RHAP) detect ear problems?

Frequently Asked Questions


Can a registered hearing aid practitioners (RHAP) detect ear problems?

A Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner (RHAP) is trained in the selection, fitting, and dispensing of hearing aids. They have knowledge of hearing loss, and hearing aid technology, and are skilled in performing hearing tests to assess an individual’s hearing capabilities. While RHAPs are knowledgeable about ear and hearing aids, their scope is primarily focused on non-medical aspects of hearing loss and the use of hearing aids. However, during the process of hearing assessments, an RHAP might identify signs that suggest an underlying ear problem, such as earwax buildup, abnormalities in hearing patterns, or issues with the ear canal or eardrum. If such signs are detected, an RHAP would typically refer the individual to an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for a more comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis. It’s important to note that RHAPs are not qualified to make medical diagnoses or treat medical conditions of the ear. Therefore, while a Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner can detect potential ear problems through initial assessments, it is the role of an audiologist or an ENT specialist to diagnose and treat medical ear conditions.


There are various types of hearing problems that individuals may experience, and these can be categorized based on the part of the auditory system that is affected. Common types of hearing problems include:

  1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL): This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss and occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Common causes include aging, exposure to loud noise, and certain medications.
  2. Conductive Hearing Loss: This type involves problems with the ear canal, ear drum, or middle ear and its tiny bones (ossicles). This can be caused by earwax build-up, fluid in the middle ear, ear infections, or abnormalities of the ear structures. Conductive hearing loss may sometimes be temporary and treatable.
  3. Mixed Hearing Loss: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, meaning that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear as well as in the inner ear or auditory nerve.
  4. Presbycusis: This is a type of sensorineural hearing loss that occurs as part of the aging process. It’s characterized by a gradual loss of the ability to hear high-pitched sounds.
  5. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL): This type is caused by exposure to excessively loud sounds and can be sudden or develop gradually over time. It’s a form of sensorineural hearing loss.
Can a registered hearing aid practitioners (RHAP) detect ear problems?