The Ent Doctor’s Role
The otolaryngologist, often shortened in ENT , is a doctor specialized in ears, throat and nose. The ENT doctor is able to diagnose a hearing loss in a medical way. He is the only authorised professional in hearing aids and medical or surgical treatment prescription.
When should you consult an ENT doctor for your hearing? We suggest to book an appointment if you feel a pain in the ears that lasts for more than 24 hours, hearing loss or persistent tinnitus. In case of ear pain however, it is recommended to see your doctor first, to determine their origin, which may be external to the ear.
This specialist is responsible for disorders diagnosis and pathologies identification. The ENT Doctor leads a two-phase test: otoscopy, a complete visual clinical examination of the eardrum and duct, and audiometry, to measure your hearing. If a hearing aid is necessary, the ENT doctor will then prescribe a hearing test with a hearing care professional.
Scopes Of Practice Of The Two Professions
The Audiologist definitely has the larger, more comprehensive scope of practice. In addition to the mainstream adult population, the Audiologist is trained to test hearing in all populations, including infants, the mentally disabled, and those who cannot respond to the typical hearing test.
The HIS has a smaller scope of practice, largely limited to the mainstream adult population. The HIS, however, is a college-trained professional who is well equipped to test hearing, recommend, and dispense hearing aids with no ensuing harm to the public.
This huge adult population accounts for the vast majority of the hearing-impaired population, and this population can aptly be served by either the HIS or Audiologist. It is this population in particular that is served within the area of private practice.
The simple fact, however, is that the HIS and Audiologist are both professionals whose scopes of practice overlap considerably.
Types Of Hearing Doctor And Ear Care Specialist
- Otolaryngologist or ENT doctor: A physician who has received advanced training in medical conditions involving the ear, nose, and throat. ENT specialists diagnose and treat diseases of the ear, and carry out medical and surgical treatments for certain types of hearing loss . Most of them do not fit or dispense hearing aids, but many have an audiologist or hearing aid specialist on staff for those patients who can benefit from hearing aids.
- Otologist or neurotologist: A specialized type of ENT physician, one who has had further training focusing on conditions of the ear.
- Audiologist: A non-physician hearing care professional specializing in the testing, identification, and treatment of hearing loss. Licensed or certified audiologists hold graduate degrees in the science of hearing, and are experts in measuring hearing loss and fitting hearing aids.
- Hearing aid specialist: A specialist in the selection, fitting, and adjustment of hearing aids. Some of them have attained independent board certification as Hearing Instrument Specialists by the International Hearing Society.
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When To See An Ent
Usually, either your doctor or your audiologist will refer you to an ENT professional. They will be able to carry out further testing if your audiologist is unable to determine the cause of your hearing loss, or if the cause is beyond their capability to treat.
Most cases of hearing loss are slow and incremental which makes them difficult to notice. Therefore, if you experience a sudden and profound loss of hearing, you will need to make an appointment with an ENT doctor to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
An ENT doctor will be able to carry out more comprehensive tests than an audiologist and will also be able to prescribe pharmaceutical treatments or perform surgery if your hearing loss is caused by calcified bones or benign tumors.
A helpful way to remember the distinction between an audiologist and an ENT is to think of an audiologist as a hearing specialist. If it pertains to hearing trouble they should be your first port of call. If your troubles pertain more to a loss of balance or feeling of pressure in the inner ear, you may be better served by a visit to your local ENT clinic.
Let Us Take The Guesswork Out Of The Equation For You
At ENT Physicians Inc. well take the guesswork out of the equation for you by listening attentively to your symptoms and prescribing the correct course of treatment for you. With both ENT doctors and audiologists on staff, we can provide you the comprehensive care you deserve. If you are plagued by hearing loss or any inner ear issues call us today at .
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What Is The Difference Between An Audiologist And A Hearing Instrument Specialist
Audiologists are regulated health care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage hearing loss and other hearing-related disorders, whereas a Hearing Instrument Specialist is a college-trained professional who is specifically equipped to test hearing and dispense prescribed hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Specialist Explained
Also known as a hearing instrument specialist or dispenser, a hearing aid specialist must have at least a high school diploma regardless of what state they are operating in. In some states, they may also be required to have a two-year degree from a college.
Hearing aid specialists will also be required to pass a practical and written exam. This ensures they become licensed by the state where they practice. A national exam may also be required and they may need to become board-certified hearing instrument specialists.
Hearing aid specialists are trained in the hearing assessment instrumentation. They may be able to complete hearing tests, but only with the intention of fitting hearing aids. Similarly, they also have training in device electronics as well as programming and specifications.
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The Difference Between A Hearing Instrument Specialist And An Audiologist
Given the recent expansion of hearing health into major retailers and big box stores, there are more options for purchasing hearing aids than ever before. However, when it comes to treating your hearing health, the expertise of your provider is a significant factor. There are different tiers of hearing care professionals and understanding these key differences will allow you to make educated decisions regarding your hearing health.
Difference Between An Audiologist And An Ent
Hearing loss is an extremely difficult condition to live with. It can alienate us from friends, relatives and even our significant others. Even those who love us very much can start to lose patience when they keep having to repeat themselves around us. Likewise, we can find ourselves slowly drifting out of our social circle when were no longer able to follow the thread of conversation in busy bars or restaurants. Even our neighbors can become adversarial towards us when we find ourselves cranking up the radio or TV beyond what they would consider an appropriate level. Whats more, because hearing loss tends to affect us slowly and incrementally, we can find ourselves unaware that we are even afflicted by hearing loss until we have already been suffering with it for some time.
The great news is that whatever the extent, cause or nature of your hearing loss, there is a lot of help and support out there. But do you see an audiologist to evaluate your hearing loss or an ear, nose and throat doctor? Here well look at the difference between the two and what each can do for you.
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We Can Help You Find The Right Hearing Professional
When looking for a hearing doctor, the practitioners title isnt nearly as important as their knowledge of hearing and hearing instruments, their professionalism, and your level of confidence in them.
If you dont already have a hearing doctor you are confident in, we can help you find one. Simply type your zip code in here and it will generate a list of hearing professionals in your area who you can call and who can help you hear and live your best.
What About Free Hearing Tests By Hearing Aid Retailers
If you choose to have your hearing tested at a hearing aid retail store, here are some recommended guidelines:
- Choose an independent provider that offers more than one brand of hearing aid.
- Choose an office with an audiologist on staff who performs and evaluates the hearing tests.
- Find out in advance whether you will be given a copy of your hearing test results without any purchase or further obligation .
- Check with the Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office for any complaint history.
- Check with your state or provincial licensing board to verify that the staff’s credentials are current.
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What Is A Hearing Aid Specialist
A hearing aid specialist, also known as a hearing instrument specialist, is a professional who evaluates people with hearing problems and chooses the best hearing aid to improve their condition. Hearing loss is frequently encountered among the elderly, but also in younger people. Although age is the primary cause of hearing loss, there are other causes such as loud noise, infections, tumours, a ruptured eardrum or an accumulation of excessive earwax in the ear canal.
It is estimated that more than 30 percent of people aged between 65 and 75 suffer from hearing loss to some extent. Moreover, more than half of people who are older than 75 have hearing loss. These people are the main focus of hearing aid specialists because people with other hearing disorders who need a thorough medical examination or specialized treatment are usually referred to audiologists or ear-nose-throat doctors.
Because such a significant portion of the elderly population suffers from age-caused hearing loss, the demand for hearing aid specialists is high. A person who has poor hearing due to degeneration caused by age may be effectively tested by a hearing aid specialist, who will also select the appropriate hearing instrument to satisfy the patient’s hearing needs.
Audiologists And Ents: The Similarities And Differences
There are some similarities between the services offered by audiologists and ENTs and this can muddy the waters and lead to confusion as to which is best suited to meet your needs. Both audiologists and ENTs deal with issues of the ear canal and inner ear. Both are able to make diagnoses and administer a range of treatments. However, an audiologist will have a more specific knowledge towards how these parts of your body pertain specifically to your hearing rather than to your overall health.
That said, the waters are further muddied when your hearing loss is accompanied by other symptoms such as tinnitus, loss of balance and nausea which are common symptoms of inner ear conditions. So, when is it pertinent to see an audiologist and when is your time better spent deferring to the expertise of an ENT doctor?
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Education Of The Two Professions
Audiologists spend 6-7 years studying for their profession, but not all these years are spent studying Audiology! In Canada, the Audiologist must have a Masters Degree. A Bachelors degree takes 4 years and a Masters degree takes another 2-3 years.
There is generally no such thing as a Bachelors Degree in Audiology. While earning the Bachelors Degree, a student may hear about the field of Audiology and realize this wonderful occupation can be had with continued Master Degree studies.
In reality, most Audiologists did not come out of Grade 12 thinking, I want to become an Audiologist, and so I am going to school for 6-7 years to do this.
The HIS is engaged in the same arena of hearing health care as the Audiologist, but has 2-3 years of college training, not university training. Colleges train for vocations and applied skills, not for doing research. The HIS is trained specifically to test adult hearing and recommend and fit hearing aids.
Therefore, it is not true that the Audiologist has adequate training and the HIS does not. There is simply more than one venue from which the public can choose for mainstream adult hearing health care concerns.
Audiologist Or Hearing Aid Specialist Whats The Difference
Your journey to better hearing begins by choosing a hearing professional you can trust. But where do you turn? Your friend who wears hearing devices recommends his audiologist. However, a local Hearing Aid Specialist is advertising hearing devices at a very good price. Who do you choose? How do you make that decision? And what is the difference between an audiologist and a Hearing Aid Specialist?
Thats a question our patients often ask and the answer is directly related to the level of education each profession requires and the area of specialization that results.
An audiologist is a certified and licensed professional who has earned a Masters Degree or Doctoral Degree in the field of audiology. Typically, this level of advanced education requires six to eight years of study to complete.
Certified both nationally and by the state, audiologists are licensed to practice by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Board and are trained to diagnose and treat disorders of hearing and balance. They can perform comprehensive hearing evaluations, fit hearing devices, recommend assistive listening devices and counsel patients and their families in communication and listening strategies.
Hearing Aid Specialists Requirements
Step 1: Take Courses in High School to Prepare for This Career
When you are in high school, you can take courses such as chemistry, anatomy, community health, medical ethics, nutrition, and research methods. These courses will help you prepare for this career. If your school has a program of study in this career area, this can get you ahead of the game.
Step 2: Enter a Hearing Instrument Specialist Training Program
You are not required to earn a college degree, but some employers will prefer if you do. There are a few colleges that offer a Hearing Instrument Specialist Training Program. It usually takes two years, and you will earn an Associates Degree. You can also find a distance learning program that takes a little longer than two years.
You will take classes, such as anatomy of the ear, acoustics, assessment and testing of hearing, hearing aid selection and fitting, hearing aid technology, counseling, and more. This program gives you everything you need so you are ready to start work once you graduate. This is one of two possible routes you can take. Your alternative is to take an apprenticeship where you can gain skills and learn what you need to know to pass the licensing exam.
Step 3: Get an Apprenticeship
Step 4: Take the Licensing Exam
Step 5: Apply for a Hearing Aid Specialist Job
Step 6: Get Continuing Education Credits to Retain Your License
Evolution Of Hearing Aid Applications
There are audio players designed specifically for the hard-of-hearing. These applications amplify the volume of the reproduced audio signal in accordance with user’s hearing characteristics and acts as music volume amplifier and assistive hearing aid. The amplification algorithm works on the frequencies that the user hears worse, thus restoring natural hearing perception of the sound of music.
There are also applications that do not only adapt the sound of music to the user’s hearing but also include some hearing aid functions. Such types of applications include sound amplification mode in accordance with the user’s hearing characteristics as well as noise suppression mode and the mode allowing to hear the surrounding sounds without pausing the music.
Also, some applications allow the hard-of-hearing watching the video and listening to the radio with comfort. Operational principles of these applications are similar to hearing aid application operational principles: the audio signal is amplified on the frequencies that the user hears worse.
How To Become A Hearing Aid Specialist
A hearing aid specialist, also called a hearing instrument specialist, assists audiologists in all aspects of care for the hearing impaired. They often are the first person seen by a patient visiting a hearing doctor. The hearing aid specialist is a health care professional whose skills are vital in the diagnosis, fitting and use of hearing aids. Licensure is required in some states.
Hearing Loss Care At Geisinger
Our ENT specialists provide comprehensive treatment of all hearing loss issues, including leading-edge diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your hearing loss. When you choose our ENT team to help care for you, youll get:
- Experience you can count on Our hearing loss specialists treat hundreds of patients each year with varying levels of hearing loss, from mild to profound. We offer a team approach that includes ENT doctors, audiologists, speech and language pathologists and social workers.
- Helping you adjust Well work closely with you and your loved ones to determine the best path forward to address your hearing loss, as well as help you adjust after your treatment, if needed.
- Pediatric hearing loss careOur pediatric otolaryngology team works with families to detect and rehabilitate hearing loss in infants and children. We work to treat hearing loss in children as soon as possible, before it can impact learning and development.
- World-class care, close to home With locations throughout central, northeast and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced ENT team provides consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally recognized health system.
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What Are Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are sound-amplifying devices designed to aid people who have a hearing impairment.
Most hearing aids share several similar electronic components, including a microphone that picks up sound amplifier circuitry that makes the sound louder a miniature loudspeaker that delivers the amplified sound into the ear canal and batteries that power the electronic parts.
Hearing aids differ by:
- technology used to achieve amplification
- special features
Some hearing aids also have earmolds or earpieces to direct the flow of sound into the ear and enhance sound quality. The selection of hearing aids is based on the type and severity of hearing loss, listening needs, and lifestyle.