ENT Doctors, Audiologists, Hearing Aid Specialists — What We Do
The types of hearing care professionals you might encounter in seeking help with your hearing loss differ in both their education and their skills.
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. Audiologists have either a master’s degree or a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree, though there are other doctoral degrees within the field (Ph.D., Sc.D., and others). In order to be licensed, audiologists must complete a clinical internship or externship to receive a certificate of clinical competence.
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.
Hearing Instrument Specialists
Hearing instrument specialists (or, in some states, licensed hearing aid dispensers) are health care professionals who specialize in recommending and fitting appropriate hearing aid technology. Hearing instrument specialists are typically up to date on the latest technology available in the field — including assistive listening devices (amplified telephones, alarm systems, etc.) — and are experienced in performing and evaluating basic hearing tests.
Hearing instrument specialists must be either board certified or licensed by the state. Most states also require an apprenticeship or a specified period of practical experience before they are licensed.
Otolaryngologist (ENT Doctor)
Otolaryngologists are physicians (M.D. or Doctor of Medicine) who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ears, nose, mouth, and throat. Trained in both medicine and surgery, otolaryngologists typically treat the types of profound hearing loss that require pharmaceutical or surgical treatment, like a cochlear implant. These types of hearing loss include loss caused by trauma, infection, or benign tumors in the ear.
After completing a medical course of treatment, otolaryngologists often refer patients to an audiologist for the prescription and fitting of digital hearing aids or counseling to help redevelop communication and language recognition skills.
At Central Oregon ENT, we believe that partnering with a group of experienced professionals — who will listen to you and understand your communication needs — is critical to the success of your treatment plan.