Both work to ensure people with hearing problems get the right care, understand their diagnoses, and know all the treatment options available to them.

The Difference between Audiology and ENT

by | Dec 11, 2022 | Patient Resources

If you have hearing loss, you may be wondering if you need to see an audiologist or an ENT doctor. Both are medical professionals who can help with your hearing, but there are some key differences between the two.

Audiologists are experts in hearing and balance care. They can perform tests to assess your hearing and recommend treatment options. ENTs, on the other hand, are specialists in problems of the ear, nose, and throat. While they can also treat hearing loss, they may focus on other issues such as auditory disorders or sinus problems as well.

So, who should you see? If you’re not sure, it’s best to start with an audiologist. They can then refer you to an ENT if needed.

What Is an ENT Specialist?

ENT, or otolaryngology, is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat, hence the letters E-N-T.

While both audiologists and ENT specialists focus on improving your hearing and addressing ear-related issues, audiologists play a crucial role in the ongoing maintenance and repair of hearing aids.

Regular check-ups with an audiologist ensure your hearing aids are functioning optimally, addressing any wear and tear or malfunctions early on. This preventative care is essential for maximizing the lifespan and effectiveness of your hearing technology.

ENT diagnoses of diseases and infections

An ENT specialist has the knowledge to diagnose and treat diseases and infections of the ear, nose, and throat – such as sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, hearing loss, dizziness, nasal allergies, and speech problems – in patients of all ages.

ENT treatments

Depending on your symptoms and diagnosis, an ENT specialist can offer a wide range of treatments from simple lifestyle adjustments to complex surgeries.

ENT specialists most often use medical procedures to treat their patients. You will see an ENT specialist if you need a surgically implanted device or other medical treatments.

If you ever experience any discomfort or pain involving your ears, nose, or throat – or any related issue –an ENT specialist can help you understand what is going on in order to determine the best course of action.

What Is Audiology?

Audiology is a specialized branch of science that studies hearing and balance-related disorders, with a focus on detecting and treating these particular issues at the earliest possible stage.

Audiology diagnoses

Audiologists’ understanding of the ear – its anatomy and physiology – has helped diagnose and treat millions of people with hearing loss, deafness, tinnitus, balance issues, and other ear-related conditions.

Audiology treatment

Audiologists most often use non-medical methods such as prescription hearing aids, speech rehabilitation, and hearing counseling and support ensure that their patients best receive the benefits of audiological care.

The advances made in audiology have helped medics gain greater insight into how diseases like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and meningitis can affect a person’s balance system.

Audiologists are not only your go-to experts for diagnosing hearing loss and prescribing hearing aids but also provide essential services such as hearing aid repairs and maintenance. Whether it’s routine cleaning, software updates, or more complex repairs, partnering with an audiologist ensures your hearing aids remain in top condition, helping you to hear your best.

What Do ENT Specialists and Audiologists Have in Common?

  • Both audiologists and ENT specialists diagnose and treat children and adults.

Denton Hearing Health Care audiologists offer newborn screening, pediatric hearing evaluations, and hearing treatment, and we also diagnose and treat auditory processing disorder and custom fit swim molds.

  • Both audiology and ENT professionals diagnose and treat hearing impairments.

Denton Hearing Health Care offers hearing tests and physical ear examinations as the first step to diagnosing and managing hearing impairments. When signs of hearing loss are present, we can help!

Still Trying to Decide on an ENT Specialist or Audiologist?

Although audiologists and ENT professionals play different roles, they both work to ensure people with hearing problems get the right care, understand their diagnoses, and know all the treatment options available to them.

If you want to find out if you have a hearing loss, your insurance plan might be more likely to approve a visit to an audiologist than an ENT specialist as audiologists tend to charge less per visit. However, if you think you have an issue that likely needs surgery or is not hearing or balance related, an ENT specialist is a more apt choice.

If you think you or your child may have a hearing impairment, schedule a hearing assessment with Denton Hearing Health Care to see what’s going on, and if the test results indicate we need to refer you to a trusted ENT specialist, we’ll do that.

We look forward to meeting you.

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Dr. Katie L. Kufeldt, Audiologist

Dr. Kufeldt received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences as well as her Doctorate of Audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology, Texas Academy of Audiology and is certified by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. She is licensed by the State of Texas to practice audiology and fit and dispense hearing aids.

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