There are some differences and similarities between an audiologist and an ENT, or an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Just in case you were wondering, we are here to clear it up and answer the question, “what’s the difference between an audiologist vs. an ENT”? When should you visit one over the other?
What is an Audiologist?
Wikipedia’s definition of an audiologist is a health-care professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing, tinnitus, or balance problems. They dispense, manage, and rehabilitate hearing aids and assess candidacy for and map cochlear implants. They counsel families through a new diagnosis of hearing loss in infants, and help teach coping and compensation skills to late-deafened adults.
What is an ENT?
ENT stands for ear, nose, and throat, and an ENT is a doctor who specializes is conditions involving these three areas. The technical name is an otolaryngologist. Wikipedia explains that patients seek treatment from an otorhinolaryngologist for diseases of the ear, nose, throat, base of the skull, and for the surgical management of cancers and benign tumors of the head and neck.
When Should You See an Audiologist or an ENT Doctor?
While an audiologist only deals with the ears, an ENT doctor treats patients for diseases or conditions of not only the ears, but also the nose or throat. An audiologist focuses on hearing loss and related problems like tinnitus or balance issues. ENT doctors generally do not treat hearing loss. If you have been experiencing difficulty hearing or understanding conversations, you would first visit an audiologist. He or she will conduct an exam and a hearing assessment to determine if you are dealing with hearing loss. If the audiologist detects the presence of a medical condition with your ears, then you would likely be referred to an ENT. If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your ears, then you would want to see your medical doctor or go directly to an ENT, who is a specialist in this area. If the ENT doctor determines that you don’t have a disease or medical condition, but suspects that hearing loss could be the issue, then he or she would refer you to an audiologist.
We hope this answers the question, “what’s the difference between an audiologist vs. and ENT?”; but if you still have any questions, feel free to give us a call to discuss your specific issue or schedule an appointment.
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Have more questions about your hearing? Please contact us at Hearing, Balance, & Speech Center to speak with one of our hearing professionals or schedule an appointment at any one of our 6 convenient locations in Connecticut: Hamden, Waterbury, Norwalk, Wallingford, Branford, or Bristol. We are here to help you and take care of all your listening needs.