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Should You See an ENT Doctor or Audiologist?

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Should You See an ENT Doctor or Audiologist?

Are you experiencing a medical condition such as hearing loss? If so, then it’s going to be important to make sure that you choose the right medical professional to go and see. There are numerous options including an ENT or an Audiologist. But which one will be right for your needs? On this article, we’re going to explore these two options and help you make the right choice. 

One of the first things to be aware of is that hearing loss can be complex. What this means is that it might be caused by other illnesses present in your body. Alternatively, you might find that it presents with other symptoms including migraines and potentially vertigo. This can mean that you feel dizzy while also struggling to hear. 

Different services

To know which specialist will be right for you, you need to make sure that you know what services the two provide. An audiologist specifically deals with hearing loss. They are knowledgeable of everything to do with the auditory system and can provide treatments as well as a diagnosis for hearing loss. They can also ensure that you are fitted with the right hearing devices that will significantly improve your quality of life. 

Usually, this will be your first point of call when you are experiencing hearing loss, but depending on the symptoms, type and cause of hearing loss, you may better benefit from the comprehensive knowledge of an ENT. They will provide a hearing test to potentially determine the type of loss and possibly the cause. They will then fit you with hearing aids. 

Usually, if your audiologist is unable to help and cannot identify a cause you will then be referred to an ENT doctor. They specialize in treating everything from neck and head disorders. Specifically, they look at conditions that can impact the nose, ear and throat. They have expertise here and can also provide medical treatment that may include surgery. 

There are a variety of different conditions that an ENT can help with. This includes sinus infections, headaches and sleep apnea. So, if you think you have symptoms relating to any of these issues that connect to your hearing loss, an ENT will usually be the right point of call. You should probably also visit them before even bothering with an audiologist. 

Both an ENT doctor and an audiologist will be able to assist you if you are experiencing issues with hearing loss. They can test your hearing and recommend the best devices for your specific needs. ENT doctors can also provide additional treatments like surgery or medication if your hearing loss is caused by trauma, tumors or a current drug you are on.

Why were you referred to an ENT?

As explained, you might find that you are referred from an audiologist to an ENT. This will be the case if your audiologist has determined that there is an underlying cause to your hearing loss. Or, they suspect that there might be an underlying cause that is related to conditions impacting the ear, nose or throat. They will also refer you if they think you might need surgery. 

This is perhaps the crucial difference between the two professionals. An audiologist is unable to provide medical treatment, and this includes surgery. The only exception would be an ear cleaning which will be necessary if you have a significant buildup of earwax. 

Example of referral

You might have gone to your audiologist because you noticed you were hearing noises that aren't there. The noise could have been anything from a whistling to a whirring. After visiting an audiologist, you could have been diagnosed with tinnitus. This condition is usually caused by damage due to exposure to loud noises. However, that’s not always the case. It’s also possible that the condition is due to a growth in your ear. In this type of situation, the growth will need to be removed by surgery. An audiologist won’t be able to provide this solution but an ENT will, so you’ll be referred. They’ll complete ear tube surgery and carefully correct your issue. 

We hope this helps you understand which medical professional will provide the right support for your needs. If you are interested in learning more or need advice from an ENT, contact Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates on Sylva at 828-586-7474, Franklin at 828-524-5599, Murphy at 828-835-1014 or New Asheville at 828-458-8100. By doing this you can gain all the information you require.