You may have wondered about the difference between an audiologist and an ear nose & throat doctor, also called an otolaryngologist. The titles and abbreviations listed after doctors’ names can often be confusing, but the understanding the difference between the two specialties is easy. Although both professionals are qualified to help patients who have problems with their hearing, there are significant differences in their scope of practice and educational backgrounds.
What Is The Difference Between an Audiologist & an ENT Doctor?
An ear nose & throat doctor is a physician, meaning that he or she has completed medical school and holds an MD degree. In addition, ENT doctors must complete a five-year residency program in order to be eligible to hold board certification in their specialty. As medical doctors licensed by their respective state medical boards, they treat a much broader array of conditions and can provide far more complex treatments than audiologists.
Audiologists, in contrast, go to graduate school in audiology and receive a Doctor of Audiology degree at the end of their program. Before beginning their studies they normally take a course of study similar to pre-med in college in order to prepare them for admission to audiology school. The major difference is that while they can practice independently of doctors in their own offices, they are not physicians and do not hold the Doctor of Medicine degree. Audiologists are separately licensed in their home state by audiology boards rather than state medical boards. In addition to holding an audiology doctorate, audiologists must complete a one-year practicum and pass a national licensing examination in order to be licensed.
ENT’s, such as the physicians at the Hearing Doctors ENT Associates of South Florida, treat problems of the ear, nose, larynx, throat, and even of the head and neck. Because they are qualified medical doctors, ENT specialists with surgical training can perform surgery to treat serious medical conditions. For example, ENTs who are trained in plastic surgery can perform facial reconstruction. Other ENTs specialize in allergies, the nose and sinus, or cancers of the head and neck, to name just a few career tracks.
On the other hand, audiologists have a much more focused scope of practice than ENT doctors. Audiologists specialize in hearing issues and identifying the causes of hearing deficits. As such, the types of treatments they provide are more specific. For example, you might go to an audiologist to get your hearing tested for a hearing aid, or if you have a severe wax build-up that is affecting your hearing. Audiologists can also help patients facing tinnitus, a physical condition associated with ringing or buzzing in the ears, as well as many other less serious medical problems.
Call The Hearing Doctors Today!
It’s common for audiologists to refer cases to ENT doctors when problems come up that are beyond their expertise, so ear nose & throat doctors often work side by side with audiologists to help patients improve their hearing. At the Hearing Doctors ENT Associates of South Florida, doctors and audiologists work as a team with the patient’s well-being as the number one priority.
To contact our audiologist call us today at 786-420-6660 or visit our website hearingaidsfortlauderdale.com