Audiologist, ENT, or hearing care professional? Who do you go to with a hearing problem?
Some sounds suddenly become inaudible, and when you talk to other people, you feel that you are behind a thick glass pane. Theoretically, you can see the movement of lips and hear the speaking sound, but it is challenging to distinguish individual words? It could be a hearing problem. Who should you visit if you are experiencing these kinds of issues?
Many ”Ear Specialists”
Many specialists deal with issues broadly related to hearing problems – including the inability to hear all sorts of sounds. You can choose between an audiologist, ENT specialist, and hearing care professional. Remember, however, that each of them deals with slightly different issues, and thus – it is worth choosing a specialist before making an appointment. Here’s a brief overview of who can perform a hearing test and who can help with a general hearing loss.
Audiologist – what does he do?
An audiologist, or rather an ENT doctor specializing in audiology, deals primarily with diagnosing and treating hearing problems. We can be sent to an audiologist by a general practitioner or an ENT specialist without specialization in audiology after finding no visible inflammation of the ears despite impaired audibility.
The audiologist most often examines, among others, causes of tinnitus, impaired hearing or, on the contrary – auditory hypersensitivity, as well as the feeling of clogged ears.
When to choose an ENT doctor?
The ENT doctor, in turn, is a specialist in the widely understood hearing aid and more. At an ENT specialist, various diseases of the ear, nose, throat, larynx, paranasal sinuses, mouth, trachea, bronchi, salivary glands, and lower respiratory tract can be examined.
Among ENT specialists, doctors of many specializations can be identified – including the aforementioned audiologist, but also a phoniatrist, neurootologist, rhinologist, or a specialist in childhood diseases covering the areas mentioned above. Therefore, you can assume that if you are not sure which specialist to go to for a hearing test or with various ailments in this area – an ENT specialist is a great choice to start with. If necessary, they may refer you to a doctor with another specialization to help further diagnose problems with your hearing.
Or maybe a hearing care professional?
A hearing care professional can carry out a hearing test for both a child and an adult, and after the tests – design and manufacture hearing aids. After manufacturing necessary devices, the hearing care professional also provides audioprosthetic care for the sick person
As you can see, although an audiologist, ENT specialist and hearing care professional are specialists in the treatment of hearing problems, each one does something slightly different. As a rule, first (before diagnosis) it is worth visiting an ENT specialist who will help to exclude some causes of hearing problems and, if necessary, refer you to an audiologist, or – in the case of advanced hearing problems – to a hearing care professional.
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