The branch of science that deals with hearing is called audiology. So, technically, a “hearing doctor” is a Doctor of Audiology. They are also sometimes called “audiologists.” But, not every audiologist is a Doctor of Audiology. Let me explain.
An audiologist is a licensed healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating hearing, balance and tinnitus disorders and who has, at minimum, a master’s degree. Many, however, also go on to get a doctorate degree (Au.D.), and only then become a Doctor of Audiology.
Audiologists are often found in medical practices as specialists, just as you’d find specialists in other areas, like cardiologists, dermatologists or internists. But more and more, hearing aid clinics are hiring audiologists.
There is more than one option
When researching who to visit for hearing help, you might also encounter a Hearing Instrument Specialist, who is neither a master’s-level audiologist nor a Doctor of Audiology. A Hearing Instrument Specialist is anyone who has completed the clinical requirements set forth by the state — and has passed a state examination — certifying them to fit and dispense hearing aids.
People may also see an otolaryngologist or “ear, nose and throat” doctor (ENT), depending on the cause and severity of their hearing loss. Otolaryngologists are physicians who typically treat profound hearing loss where surgery or cochlear implants are required. They’ll usually refer patients to an audiologist if hearing aids or counseling are recommended.
We can help you find the right hearing professional
As in any industry, you can find both good and not-so-good “hearing doctors.” The practitioner’s title isn’t nearly as important as their knowledge of hearing and hearing instruments, their professionalism, and your level of confidence in them.
With so many options, finding the right “hearing doctor” can be tricky. Let Starkey help you. Call 1-888-908-1845 or click here and we can help you find an experienced and certified hearing professional near you.
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