If you experience hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness or another ear-related disorder, it’s important to have a team of specialists helping you achieve the best possible outcomes. While your PCP is usually the best place to start, there are many possible specialists you may be referred to.
Hearing Instrument Specialists
Hearing instrument specialists (HIS) are state-licensed and skilled in selecting and fitting hearing aids. They work with patients to identify the right device that fits their unique hearing loss, lifestyle, budget and aesthetic preferences. Hearing instrument specialists typically focus on adult populations with age-related or noise-induced hearing loss.
Audiologists (AuDs) are medical professionals that hold a master’s degree (MA/MS), clinical doctorate (AuD) or research doctorate (PhD) in audiology. Audiologists undergo extensive education and training in order to be able to accurately identify, evaluate and measure various types and degrees of hearing loss and other disorders. In addition to hearing loss, audiologists may specialize in pediatrics, balance disorders, cochlear implants and hearing aids.
Audiologists who dispense hearing aids or other assistive listening devices are licensed by the state in which they practice. They work in a variety of settings, including audiology and ENT clinics.
Otolaryngologists are also known as ENT (ear, nose & throat) physicians. They are medical doctors (MDs) who are specially-trained in the diagnosis and management of conditions affecting the ears, nose, throat, head and neck. For example, they are experts in conditions like hearing loss, ear infections, swimmer’s ear, balance disorders, tinnitus and various congenital disorders. Otolaryngologists are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, which requires four years of college, four years of medical school and a five-year residency.
Otologists are otolaryngologists who specialize in ear-related structures specifically. They undergo additional training after medical school in order to conduct surgery to correct disorders of the ears and skull base.
Neurotologists are closely related to otologists. They specialize in surgical intervention for hearing disorders caused by problems deep in the temporal bone/skull base and work closely with neurosurgeons to correct diseases of cranial nerves.
For more information about hearing professionals or to schedule an appointment with an expert, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.