Ear specialists consist of a wide range of hearing healthcare professionals that often times include otolaryngologists, also known as ENTs, and audiologists. Individuals seeking for a hearing loss treatment may face a number of challenges. These patients come across unfamiliar medical terms and categories of healthcare professionals that may be confusing. Continue reading to learn more about who otolaryngologists (ENTs) and audiologists are and what exactly they do.
Who are Otolaryngologists?
Otolaryngologists are medical professionals that concentrate on the ears, nose, and throat. They are often called an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an ENT for short. Often times, these specialists are trained in both medicine and surgery. An otolaryngologist differs from an audiologist because they are qualified to perform various types of surgery on the tissues of the neck and head. ENTs offer many services which are not limited to hearing loss, ear infections, or sinus problems. Other services that ENTs provide include:
- Head and Neck Cancer
- Thyroid Surgery
- Sinus Surgery
- Ear Tube Surgery
- Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Who are Audiologists?
Audiologists are licensed hearing healthcare professionals that are specialized in the diagnosing and treating hearing loss and balance disorders. Many audiologists have earned an audiology (Au.D.) degree; however, many others hold other doctoral degrees (Ph.D., Sc.D., and others). These hearing healthcare professionals hold an extensive knowledge of the human auditory and vestibular systems and have had thorough training in sound reproduction, which is vital to the accurate fitting and adjustment of hearing aids. An audiologist usually offers the following services:
- Complete hearing exams
- Treatment for hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders
- Speech and hearing rehabilitation programs
- Fitting and maintenance of hearing aids
Otolaryngologist and Audiologist – What’s the Difference?
The difference between an ENT and an audiologist is that ENTs focus in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and mouth, while an audiologist specializes specifically in diagnosing and treating the ear. ENTs, trained in medicine and surgery, normally treat hearing loss that require surgical or pharmaceutical treatment, like a cochlear implant. After completing a course of treatment, ENTs often times refer patients to an audiologist to seek counseling to help rebuild communication and language recognition skills or aid in prescribing an accurate and fitted hearing aid.
Thank you for reading about ear specialists and the differences between what ENTs and audiologists treat. We hope that this was informative and helped you better understand which hearing healthcare professional you should seek if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of hearing loss.
As previously mentioned, the signs and symptoms listed here do not replace formal audiometry conducted by your doctor. Be sure to have your hearing tested regularly with a hearing healthcare professional. Together, you can develop an individualized plan to prevent, protect, and better manage your hearing health.
AudioCardio is a technology company focused on hearing health and wellness. Learn how AudioCardio can help maintain and strengthen your hearing with your favorite headphones or hearing aids at www.audiocardio.com.