Understanding hearing can be a complex business, so one of the questions I hear most often is: should I see an audiologist or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor? First, let’s explore what each does and then I’ll explain why you don’t have to choose:
What is an audiologist?
I am an audiologist by trade: a hearing healthcare professional who specialises in hearing loss. I can diagnose and treat hearing loss and I have an extensive knowledge of how the human auditory system works. My job is to test your hearing and identify if hearing loss has occurred and why.
It’s also my job to help preserve any remaining hearing and improve your quality of life by restoring hearing ability through the use of appropriate hearing devices. Specifically, I work a lot with hearing aids, ear wax removal and tinnitus treatment, as examples.
When should I see an audiologist instead of an ENT specialist?
If you have noticed (or others have noticed) a change in your hearing, then an audiologist is the right person for you. Signs of hearing loss include asking to have things repeated, an inability to pick out voices in crowds, an inability to hear high-pitched sounds such as female or child voices, and other similar complaints.
However, in some cases your audiologist may choose to refer you to an ENT doctor, for reasons such as a medical condition that could be associated with hearing loss, like an autoimmune disorder.
What is an ENT specialist?
An ear, nose and throat doctor (or ENT) specialises in diagnosing and treating ear, nose and throat problems. They are also known as otolaryngologists, but that can be quite a mouthful!
ENT doctors are also surgeons and regularly perform procedures such as ear tube surgery, otoplasty (correction of protruding ears) and the removal of tonsils.
When should I see an ENT specialist instead of an audiologist?
You should see an ENT doctor if you believe your hearing loss may be connected to medical issues or if you have had other symptoms in addition to your hearing loss such as pain, ringing in the ears, headaches or sinus pressure etc.
Why you don’t have to choose:
ENT physicians and audiologists often work together to provide comprehensive hearing treatment to patients, so you don’t need to worry about seeing one or the other.
Your ENT doctor may refer you to an audiologist to determine what the best hearing aids are to suit your needs. Similarly, your audiologist may send you to the ENT for a medical evaluation before proceeding with hearing treatment, or if your hearing can be surgically corrected.
Who do you recommend as an ENT doctor?
Steven Hale Hearing works with local ENT specialist Attila Dezso as he is highly qualified, friendly, he is conveniently based at the Spire Little Aston Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and offers an incredibly high standard of service. Find out more about Attila Dezso and his services via his website, yourearsurgeon.com.
We also work with Chris Jennings at Sutton Medical Centre. Similarly, Chris is highly qualified and experienced. He also provides an NHS ENT clinic at Sutton Medical Consulting Centre and this includes speech therapy. Find out more about Chris Jennings on the Sutton Medical Consulting Centre website.
Who are the audiologists and ENTs local to my area?
Steven Hale Hearing currently serves the West Midlands area, but don’t hesitate to contact us for a recommendation of the best hearing specialists in your area.