In the audiology field there are a number of different professionals with a wide range of training, expertise and specialties. Understanding who to see for what issue will ensure you are scheduling an appointment with the right professional to address your unique needs.
What Is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a professional with an advanced degree in audiology, usually a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.). They are trained to perform diagnostic testing in order to identify, evaluate and measure your type and degree of hearing loss. Audiologists work with patients to determine the best hearing aid based on their type and degree of loss, budget, aesthetic preference and listening lifestyle. They will then program and fit the device to ensure it is providing the correct level of amplification.
In addition to hearing loss, audiologists also work with patients experiencing tinnitus and balance disorders.
What Is a Hearing Instrument Specialist?
Hearing instrument specialists are responsible for selecting the best hearing aid to treat your type and degree of hearing loss. They primarily focus on adult patients with age-related or noise-induced hearing loss, as more complicated cases require the expertise of an audiologist.
These specialists are required to be licensed by the state.
What Is an Otolaryngologist?
Otolaryngologists are medical doctors who specialize in disorders of the ear, nose and throat. They are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and must complete four years of college, four years of medical school and a five-year residency in otolaryngology before they can be licensed.
Commonly referred to as ENTs, these doctors are responsible for diagnosing and treating a range of ear disorders including:
- Hearing loss
- Ear infections
- Middle ear problems
- Swimmer’s ear
- Balance disorders
- Cranial nerve disorders
- Congenital disorders of the inner and outer ear
What Is a Neurotologist?
Neurotologists are ear, nose and throat doctors who have chosen to specialize further. After completing their five-year residency program, they will complete additional training in order to offer medical and surgical care for diseases that affect the ears, balance system, temporal bone, skull base and structures of the head and neck. In order to determine which professional you should see for your hearing needs, contact San Diego ENT today.