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Hearing Doctor: What is the Role of an Audiologist?

Audiologists are professionals who are trained to diagnose, manage, and treat individuals who have hearing or balance problems such as hearing loss, tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, and vertigo.

They are commonly referred to as hearing doctors because they are primarily in-charge of hearing and balance problems.

Audiology as a Branch of Science 

Audiology is commonly known for dealing with the sense of hearing, which is why audiologists are referred to as “hearing doctors.”

Audiology is a branch of science that involves the study of hearing and balance disorders. It covers the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of hearing and balance problems among patients of all ages. 

Audiologists are trained to perform a wide range of diagnostic techniques including:

  • Pure-tone audiometry
  • Speech audiometry
  • Otoacoustic emissions
  • Auditory brainstem response testing 
  • Vestibular testing

These diagnostic tests are used to evaluate hearing capability, hearing sensitivity, speech perception abilities, and the overall integrity of the auditory system.

Hearing Doctor: A Closer Look at an Audiologist’s Role

The main role of audiologists is to diagnose and manage hearing loss and balance disorders through various interventions that include hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids,  and vestibular rehabilitation. 

Audiologists also collaborate with other healthcare professionals, including speech-language pathologists, otolaryngologists, and neurologists, to deliver comprehensive care.

Audiologists, ENT Doctors, Hearing Aid Specialists — What’s the Difference?

Audiologists, ENT doctors, and hearing aid specialists are all healthcare professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. However, there are key differences in terms of their scope of practice, training, and the services they provide.

As “hearing doctors,” audiologists specialize in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists obtain a doctorate degree in their field. They are trained to conduct a variety of hearing evaluations to assess hearing and balance function.

Audiologists provide a range of treatments and interventions to manage hearing and balance problems, including hearing aids, cochlear implant candidacy, speech therapies, aural rehabilitation, and vestibular rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, ENT doctors ( also known as otolaryngologists), are medical doctors specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. ENTs can prescribe medications, perform surgical procedures, and provide other medical interventions as necessary.

Hearing aid specialists specialize in the fitting and dispensing of hearing aids. Typically, they are not involved in the diagnosis or treatment of hearing and balance disorders. Hearing aid specialists focus more on helping patients with hearing loss find the most appropriate hearing aid to meet their hearing needs. These individuals do not have a doctorate degree and are not trained to deal with more complex ear and hearing situations that may arise in hearing healthcare.  

Which doctor is best for the ear?

The doctor who would be best to see for ear problems depends on the specific condition and severity of the problem. 

Here’s an easier way to help you decide:

  • Audiologists:
    • specialize in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of hearing and balance disorders. 
    • trained to perform diagnostic tests to assess hearing and balance function
    • provide  treatments and interventions to manage hearing and balance problems, including hearing aids, hearing protection, PSAPs, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids, and vestibular rehabilitation
  • Otolaryngologists (ENT Doctors)
    • specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat
    • have extensive training in the medical and surgical management of ear problems 
    • can perform surgeries, prescribe medications, and provide other medical interventions.
  • Primary Care Physicians
    • provide initial evaluation and treatment for common ear problems (i.e ear infections or earwax buildup) 
    • can refer patients to specialists for more complex cases.

For complex or severe problems involving the ears, an audiologist or otolaryngologist may be the best doctor to consult. For minor or routine ear problems, a primary care physician or an audiologist may be most appropriate.

Keep in mind that all of these healthcare professionals can work together to provide comprehensive care for patients with hearing or auditory problems.

Audiologists in Abilene, TX 

Need to get a check-up with a hearing doctor? Abilene Audiology Co. provides comprehensive audiology care and hearing evaluations in Abilene, TX, and nearby locations. 

Our audiologists are trained and licensed to provide the highest level of personalized hearing care for the best possible hearing improvement.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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Our approach to caring for people with communication difficulties is centered on mutual respect for the individual and their specific needs.
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