Individuals looking for hearing loss treatment face a number of challenges, including medical terms that may be unfamiliar and categories of healthcare professionals that may seem confusing.
Otolaryngologist and Audiologists — What’s the Difference?
Audiologists are Hearing Doctors
An audiologist is a state-licensed hearing healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. Our audiologists have all completed a doctoral-level program: Au.D., Doctor of Audiology or Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology. Audiologists work closely with ENTs, primary care physicians and neurologists to diagnose all hearing disorders. Because of their extensive education and training, audiologists are uniquely qualified to provide you with the most comprehensive treatment for your hearing disorders. Audiologists typically offer the following services:
- Complete hearing exams
- Fitting, adjustment, and maintenance of hearing aids
- Treatment for tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Hearing and speech rehabilitation programs
Audiologists possess comprehensive knowledge of the human auditory and vestibular systems, and they have extensive training in sound reproduction, which is critical to the accurate fitting and adjustment of hearing aids.
Otolaryngologist or ENTs are Ear Doctors
Otolaryngologists are physicians (M.D.’s or Doctors of Medicine) who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ears, nose, mouth, and throat. Trained in both medicine and surgery, otolaryngologists typically treat the types of hearing loss that require pharmaceutical or surgical treatment. These types of hearing loss include sudden hearing loss, those caused by trauma, infection, middle ear growths or abnormalities, or benign tumors in the ear.
Otolaryngologists work closely with audiologists in diagnosing and in determining the most comprehensive course of treatment for patients experiencing hearing disorders.
No matter what type of specialist you decide to see for your hearing needs, the most important factor is the overall experience they provide, which should include a comprehensive approach to diagnosing, treating, and re-evaluating your hearing. Partnering with a professional who listens to your needs is critical to the success of your treatment plan.