All Ears: Who should I see if I have hearing loss?

Got a question about hearing loss or hearing aids? One of our on-staff Starkey audiologists is all ears.   

Deciding who to see to help treat your hearing loss is an important decision. It can also be somewhat confusing with all the different choices and titles. Our recommendation is to see a “hearing professional.” Hearing professionals can be either an audiologist, otolaryngologist or hearing aid specialist. Let’s take a look at why it’s important to trust your hearing healthcare to a hearing professional.

Hearing professionals are experts who have the training, experience and equipment necessary to inspect your ear, determine your degree and type of hearing loss, assess your unique listening needs, and prescribe a hearing treatment protocol that’s right for you.

What is the difference between an audiologist, otolaryngologist and hearing aid specialist?

Audiologists are professionals with master's degrees, doctorates of audiology (Au.D.) or doctorates of philosophy (Ph.D.) in audiology, which is the study of hearing. They specialize in testing, evaluating and treating hearing loss. An audiologist may also fit hearing aids.

Otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat, head and neck disorders. They are also known as ENT doctors.

Hearing aid specialists are trained in fitting and dispensing hearing aids. They are often state-licensed and board-certified to test for hearing loss and to fit people with hearing aids.

Seeing a hearing professional will ensure your hearing care needs are met

Otolaryngologists, audiologists and hearing aid specialists can work together in the same medical practice, or independently, with each specialty operating separately in their own practices. Whether they work together or separately, they often refer back and forth to each other. 

For example, if your hearing evaluation indicates your hearing loss may be caused by an underlying medical condition, your audiologist or hearing aid specialist would refer you to an ENT (otolaryngologist). Similarly, an ear, nose, and throat physician may recommend seeing an audiologist or hearing aid specialist to be fit with hearing aids if fitting hearing aids is not part of the doctor’s primary practice.

Seeing a hearing professional ensures your hearing healthcare will be managed by an expert with the training and equipment necessary to treat your hearing loss effectively.

If you are looking for a hearing professional, we would be happy to help you find one in your area. You can contact us directly by calling 1-888-908-1845 or enter your ZIP code in our find-a-professional link.

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By Beth McCormick, Au.D.

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