If you are having issues with your ears or your hearing, there are several different types of doctors and specialists your general practitioner may refer you to see. In the field of care for hearing, there are a number of different professionals who play different roles in serving patients. Knowing the difference between all the different roles will help you ensure you get the best care for your condition. Take a look at some of the common questions regarding audiologists, doctors, and specialists in the hearing treatment field.
What's the difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist?
Audiologists are specialists who have extensive education in hearing, hearing problems, and the anatomy of the ear. On the other hand, hearing instrument specialists do not contain the same levels of education and are not qualified to diagnose hearing problems. The primary role of these specialists is to help patients find the type of hearing instrument that will best suit their hearing deficit. You would likely see an audiologist to find out what is wrong if you can't hear, and the audiologist may send you to a hearing instrument specialist after you have received a proper diagnosis.
What is the difference between an audiologist and an ENT specialist?
An ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist is a doctor who has been educated on the anatomy and health of the ears, nose, and throat. These doctors do have a fair amount of experience with audiology, and it is not uncommon for audiologists to further their education to become an ENT specialist by earning a full-on doctorate degree. In some cases when hearing problems are being affected by other bodily systems, it is best to see an ENT specialist over a regular audiologist because their diagnosis will be more in-depth.
What's the difference between an audiologist and a doctor of audiology?
Audiologists are not required in most places to obtain a doctorate degree to practice audiology. Therefore, if you see a doctor who presents him or herself as a doctor of audiology, this means they have taken their education a step beyond their master's degree and obtained a PhD. This degree is not the same thing as a medical degree. Therefore, the audiologist is not actually capable of certain things like prescribing medications. Even though the doctor of audiology is preferred among a regular audiologist, a regular audiologist can sometimes offer similar levels of care.
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