When it comes to specialists, it can be confusing which type of doctor you should visit for certain problems.
When you have hearing loss or another ear problem, how do you decide whether to see an ENT doctor (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) or an Audiologist?
The basic distinction between these two specialists is:
- An ENT specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases in the mouth, throat, nose and ears.
- An audiologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats hearing loss.
Instead of thinking of audiologists as “ear doctors,” perhaps its easier if you think of them as “hearing doctors” to help you remember when you should see them. You should visit an audiologist when there is a problem with your hearing. Otherwise, an ENT may be appropriate.
If you notice a slight or gradual change in your hearing, or if you seem to have more trouble understanding and communicating with people on an every day basis, you may want to visit your audiologist for a hearing evaluation.
It is recommended you do yearly hearing screenings past the age of 60 or if you have experienced any trouble hearing in the past.
It is important to recognize that hearing issues can manifest in more than one way: perhaps you have trouble hearing in crowded public places, or you begin to have difficulty understanding higher pitched voices like women and children.
It’s possible that your audiologist will refer you to an ENT if your hearing loss could be related to a medical condition such an autoimmune disorder or if you are experiencing pain or balance issues.
Likewise, if you see an ENT for a medical condition related to the ears, they may in turn refer you to an audiologist if you are also experiencing hearing loss as a result. They may want you to have a hearing screening and look at hearing aids if your hearing loss is permanent.
For some issues, an ENT will work in conjunction with an audiologist to give you the best, well-rounded approach to your diagnosis and treatment.
Whatever the issue with your ears and your hearing, an ENT or audiologist should be able to provide the information and treatment options you need. If you have any questions about whether or not you should come in, please don’t hesitate to give us a call today.
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The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to audiology, feel free to contact Los Gatos Audiology, with a convenient hearing center located in Los Gatos, CA, by clicking here or by calling 408.703.0772.