What is the difference between an ear, nose & throat physician and an audiologist?

Individuals looking for ears, nose, throat, and hearing treatment face a number of challenges, including having to understand medical terms that may be unfamiliar, as well as types of health care professionals that may seem confusing. For instance, what is the difference between an ear, nose & throat physician and an audiologist?

Ear, Nose & Throat physician, Ear Doctors, Audiologists — What’s the Difference?

The types of health care professionals you might encounter in seeking help with your ears, nose, throat, and hearing loss differ in both their education and their skills

Otolaryngologist

Otolaryngologists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ears, nose, mouth, and throat. As opposed to an audiologist, who is more like a “hearing doctor,” you can think of an otolaryngologist as an “ear doctor.” Otolaryngologists typically treat the types of profound hearing loss that require medicines or surgery. These types of hearing loss include loss caused by trauma, infection, or benign tumors in the ear.

Audiologists and Doctors of Audiology

An audiologist is a licensed hearing health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. You can think of an audiologist primarily as a “hearing doctor.” Most audiologists have completed a master’s degree, or more recently their Doctor of Audiology degree, to practice.

Audiologists possess comprehensive knowledge of the human auditory and vestibular systems, and they have extensive training in sound reproduction, which is critical to the accurate fitting and adjustment of hearing aids.