When you are looking for the right hearing health care professional to assist you with your hearing needs, there are many different specialists to choose from. Often, you will be recommended to see either an otologist or an audiologist. However, these hearing specialists do not perform the same function, so it is important that you see the right one for yourself.
To help you find the right hearing professional for your needs, Echo Hearing Center is here to define the roles of audiologists and otologists, and which you should be seeing based on your needs.
Role Of An Audiologist
Audiologists focus on helping people overcome hearing and balance issues. They accomplish this by using specialized technology and tools to conduct hearing and balance evaluations. With these evaluations, audiologists are able to provide treatments for hearing loss, balance disorders, tinnitus treatment, and associated hearing rehabilitative strategies.
The education of an audiologist can vary. At this time, most audiologists have at least a Master’s degree in audiology, and all new audiologists are required to pursue a doctorate in audiology (Au.D). This doctorate is not a medical degree, which limits some of what an audiologist can provide beyond evaluations, tools such as hearing aids, and education on hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance problems. However, like a medical doctor, audiologists are required to undergo supervised clinical practice as they apply their education to assisting patients.
Basic job responsibilities of an audiologist:
Function Of An Otologist
Otologists are physicians who have specialized in providing medical care for those with issues related to their ears. An otologist is a further specialization of the otolaryngologist—also called an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT)—where the otologist focuses on the ear and how the structures in the ear are affected by various disorders.
When it comes to the education of an otologist, like other medical doctors, they have a bachelors, go through four years of medical school, and at least undergo three years of residency. Many otologists will also spend an extra year on a surgery residency and four more years of specialized residency training for their chosen profession.
Basic job responsibilities of an otologist:
Deciding If You Should See An Otologist Or An Audiologist
As you can see, while these two types of hearing health care specialists work in the same field, their duties do not overlap very much. So, what specialist you visit will highly depend on what you need to be done.
For instance, say you are concerned that your hearing has diminished. You don’t have any pain or symptoms that there is a medical root to your problem. The best way to address this problem is to visit our audiologist for a hearing evaluation. During this evaluation, our audiologist will perform different tests to determine what is causing your hearing loss.
In many cases, the hearing loss is due to damage to the inner ear, which can be resolved with hearing aids. However, should there be another problem, such as a damaged eardrum or blockage in the middle ear, our audiologist can refer you to an otologist, who has the tools to address the issue. As our audiologist has developed a strong network of reliable health care specialist, you can be sure you will be in good hands throughout the whole process.
If you are ready to take care of your hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance issues, then contact us for an appointment with our audiologist today.