If you’re new to hearing loss, you might not know who to turn to find a help. Your general physician will have some knowledge about hearing loss, but so does an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. And what about an audiologist, or those “ear doctors,” you’ve heard of?
While it may seem complicated, finding the best doctor to address your hearing loss is simple.
Here we answer some common questions about who “Ear Doctors” are, and what doctor you should see for your hearing loss.
What is an ear doctor specialist called?
While the term “ear doctor” isn’t a medical professional, the doctor envisioned may be either thought of as an audiologist, or an otolaryngologist, which is also known as an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.
An otolaryngologist, (an Ear, Nose and Throat physician, or ENT) is a doctor with medical training to treat conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat for people of all ages, including newborn babies and elderly people.
What is otology?
“Otology is the branch of medicine that focuses on disease and disorders of the ear, including hearing and balance disorders and injuries or diseases of the skull base,” according to Columbia University, Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery.
Otolaryngologists, or Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors, are physicians who practice Otology.
Why do they call them ENT?
An ENT is referred to as an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor specifically because they address issues of the Ear, Nose, and Throat.
Your ears, nose, and throat all connected by a canal, which links the middle ear with the back of your nose, which creates individual, yet related bodily functions.
For example, the ear allows for the sense of hearing, and the nose allows for the sense of smell, but together they regulate the ability to smell, hear and maintain balance.
Similarly, the throat allows for us to pass oxygen, food, and fluid into out body, but it also regulates the transfer of phlegm, mucus, and toxins from the ears and nose.
Because the ear, nose, and throat are so interconnected with the function of our bodies, physicians are trained to cover health problems together.
What does an ear nose and throat specialist do?
In general, Ear, Nose and Throat physicians provide more specialized care for serious hearing issues, than any other doctor, including an audiologist.
ENT doctors can perform surgery to manage balance disorders, manage head and neck surgery, treat disorders of the ears, conduct reconstructive surgery and treat tumors of the ear.
According to AOC Head & Neck Surgeons, some of the issues an ENT specialist may address are:
- Ear: ear infections, cochlear implant surgery, balance disorders, tinnitus, swimmer’s ear, injury to the ear, etc.
- Nose: chronic nosebleeds, nasal congestion, deviated septum, breathing problems, allergies, sinus problems, issues with smell, etc.
- Throat: injury to the throat, tonsil infection, adenoid infection, asthma, sore throat, voice or swallowing problems, hoarseness, GERD, etc.
ENT doctors also work with people with severe-to-profound hearing loss who need surgery for cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are hearing devices that are medically inserted into the inner ear and used to restore the ability to hear for people with no natural hearing.
Additionally, ENTs also deal with complicated medical issues, such as identifying the underlying mechanisms of Ménière’s disease, finding the causes of tinnitus and developing treatment methods, and defining the development and progression of otitis media.
What doctor should I see for hearing loss?
Unless you have a history of severe-to-profound hearing loss and are considering getting a cochlear implant, it is likely that you do NOT need to see an Ear, Nose or Throat doctor.
Rather, you would visit an audiologist to find the best solution for your hearing loss.
What is the difference between an Audiologist and ENT?
Audiologists, or doctors of audiology, do not perform surgery but are medical professionals who receive professional degrees to diagnose, provide rehabilitation and fit hearing technology for people with hearing loss.
Audiologists, or “hearing aid doctors,” are skilled in providing diagnostic, rehabilitative, and other services associated with hearing, balance, tinnitus management, and related audiological fields. While they are different from a medical doctor or physician with a doctorate degree (M.D.), audiologists receive specialized training with clinical experience, similar to a dentist or pharmacist.
If your audiologist recommends a hearing aid, they will present you with a variety of modern hearing aid options and adjust the levels of amplification to fit your needs.
Doctors of Audiology, including those at Kirsch Audiology, are highly trained to provide comprehensive diagnoses of varying types and degrees of hearing loss and for the best recommendations of treatment to help you on your way to a better hearing.
Rediscover the joys of life through better hearing!
If you think you have hearing loss and would like to talk to a doctor, consider visiting the Doctors of Audiology at Kirsch Audiology.
The audiologists at Kirsch Audiology are highly trained and skilled hearing care professionals with audiology degrees and extensive clinical experience to provide accurate hearing loss diagnoses and solutions.
Connect with the Doctors of Audiology at Kirsch Audiology by phone, email or online to make an appointment today!