Would You Know the Difference between Ear and Hearing Doctors?

People who want to undergo treatment from hearing loss could face a lot of challenges. These include understanding of and getting familiar with medical terms which can be confusing at times. One of the first challenges a patient may encounter is in knowing whether to go to an ear or hearing doctor for help. To make things a bit easier for you as a patient, you should know the different types of ear and hearing specialists and their respective areas of specialization.


Ear Doctors or Otolaryngologists


Ear doctors or otolaryngologists are doctors of medicine. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the ears, nose, throat and mouth. Ear doctors are trained to treat hearing loss either by way of surgery, medication or cochlear implant.


When an ear doctor completes a medical course of treatment, he or she usually refers patients to an audiologist or hearing doctor who prescribes and fits digital hearing aids and perform counseling to help patients adopt to their condition and learn to communicate.


Hearings Doctor or Audiologists


Hearing doctors or audiologists are licensed health care professionals. They specialize in diagnosing and treating hearing loss, tinnitus or ringing of the ears, and balance disorders. Audiologists are graduates of Doctor of Audiology or other doctoral degrees within the field. They deliver the following services to their patients:


  • Comprehensive hearing tests
  • Fit, adjust and maintain hearing aids
  • Treat tinnitus and balance disorders
  • Speech and hearing rehabilitation
  • Recommend / program implantable hearing devices
  • Newborn hearing screening
  • Hearing rehabilitation


Hearing Instrument Specialists


Hearing aid or hearing instrument specialists are not ear or hearing doctors, but they are technologists who are part of hearing loss treatment cycle. Hearing aid specialists do not possess any degree in medicine. In order to qualify for the job, they are required to attend a hearing specialist training program that usually takes two years to complete. Once they have completed training, they are required to pass a licensing exam to be allowed to practice.


The main job of a hearing instrument specialist is to evaluate people with hearing impairment problems and choose appropriate hearing aid that can improve their condition. As technologists, hearing instrument specialists are typically aware of the latest hearing technologies.


If you or someone you know is suffering from hearing loss or ear disorders, your best approach in solving your dilemma would be to identify the problem in the first place. The best professional who can do this would be a hearing doctor or an otolaryngologist. Once your problem is identified, your otolaryngologist will usually refer you to a trusted audiologist like the Oklahoma Hearing Center to undergo a series of hearing tests and avail of the best possible solution to your problem.

image credit: cco creative commons (pixabay.com)

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