Have you ever wondered about the difference between an audiologist and an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT)? The two are often confused with one another, but there are key differences. It is important to understand the differences so that you visit the correct specialist when you are having an issue that requires treatment.
An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specifically focuses on the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear. They identify, diagnose, and treat conditions like hearing loss and tinnitus. They are trained to help manage these conditions and counsel patients and families when facing hearing loss at all stages of life. Audiologists can also provide effective coping methods for those facing hearing loss in older adulthood. Audiologists can provide hearing aids to patients and discuss options for cochlear implants.
Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists
An ENT is a doctor that may also be referred to as an otolaryngologist. ENTs specialize in the treatment of conditions that fall under these areas of the body. If a patient is facing some sort of disease in their ear, nose, throat, or the base of their skull, they would need to go see an ENT. This also includes patients who may need surgery to remove benign and cancerous tumors on the head or neck.
Who Do I See?
After learning more about audiologists and ENTs, you may still be wondering who you should see first. While an ENT will see you for almost any condition related to the ear, nose, and throat, they do not deal with hearing loss. You would see an audiologist for that. Audiologists strictly treat hearing loss and hearing-related problems, like balance issues and tinnitus. For instance, if you are struggling to understand the conversations around you and you always find yourself turning up the television or radio, you would go see an audiologist first. If the audiologist suspects there is any sort of medical problem happening rather than hearing loss, they would refer you to an ENT. Therefore, if you suspect you’re having hearing issues, make an appointment with your audiologist. If you suspect something more serious is going on with your ears (maybe you’re experiencing swelling or pain), make an appointment with your general doctor or an ENT.
Do you have any remaining questions about the differences between audiologists and ENTs? Get in touch with us to learn more.