When it comes to hearing loss problems, an audiologist and an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) physician are your best sources for help.
It is important to understand, though, just what each medical professional is trained and equipped to do.
An audiologist, for example, may call upon an ENT doctor to consult a hearing issue that appears to be a symptom of an ear, nose, or throat condition.
Both professionals can then reach further analysis to diagnose and treat the problem.
Training and Work Performed by an Audiologist
An audiologist has gone to school to study the outer, middle, and inner ear, which is responsible for sending sound to the brain.
Beyond a basic four-year degree, an audiologist must now obtain a doctorate in audiology, known as an AuD.
That takes an additional four years of school with a specific course of an in-depth study of the ear.
An audiologist must be licensed within the state in which he, or she, works. Through its board certification process, further certification can be earned through the American Speech and Hearing Association by earning a Certificate of Competence or by the American Academy of Audiology.
An audiologist can help by:
- Diagnosing and treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo
- Removing wax build up in the ear canals
- Performing hearing tests
- Dispensing and repairing hearing aids
- Advising on ways to prevent hearing loss, including those in a work-place setting
- Aiding in the monitoring of cochlear implants
The Role of an ENT Physician
An ENT specialist, also known as an otolaryngologist, is a medical doctor. He, or she, has gone through medical school and earned a medical degree.
An ENT doctor can diagnose and treat physical conditions in the ear, nose, throat, and certain head and neck areas.
A licensed otolaryngologist is also specifically licensed within the state where he or she practices medicine and must also earn board certification within that specialty.
An ENT specialist can diagnose and treat:
- Hearing loss conditions
- Allergies including rhinitis and hay fever
- Treat problems related to swallowing.
- Perform medically efficient surgeries such as repair of a deviated septum or cleft palate.
- Perform reconstructive and cosmetic surgery
- Treat and infection of the head and neck.
- Prescribe medication for problems of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck.
Dealing with a Hearing Problem
If you or a loved one have a hearing loss, whether it has eventually been creeping up with age, has had a sudden onset, or has been a problem since birth or early childhood, you will want to see a specialist.
That may start with an audiologist vs. an ENT—that audiologist may refer you to an ENT specialist for further diagnosis and treatment.
While recently there has been approval of over-the-counter hearing aids, these are generic at best and will not determine the source of a hearing deficit, nor the depth of the problem.
It is best to call the specialists’ office and set up an appointment to research the problem.
At Fox Valley Ear, Nose & Throat, we have highly educated and well-trained ENT physicians and audiologists available to diagnose your problem and help find your best solution.
Our support staff will help direct you with whom you should schedule your first appointment.
If you or a loved one suffer from an ear, nose, or throat condition, do not wait. Let us help you find your best path to solutions developed specifically for you. Schedule your appointment today!