Have you been experiencing intermittent ringing in your ears, or are you finding it harder to hear the TV every now and then? You might be concerned enough about your hearing to visit a hearing specialist, which is a shrewd move to make especially when hearing loss is such a prevalent issue in the US.
Issues with your ears are often easy to diagnose and manage, but ear and hearing issues can present in an incredibly wide variety of ways – and their root causes can range from local trauma to neurological issues. As such, hearing specialists come in all manner of different shapes and sizes, specializing in different forms of ear and hearing care. So, what are the different kinds of hearing specialist?
Audiologists are the most common kind of hearing care specialist to book an appointment with. They will invariably possess a doctorate in audiology, as well as a comprehensive understanding of hearing loss and its diagnosis. Audiologists can test you for your hearing sensitivity and establish whether or not you have suffered any hearing damage.
Otolaryngologists are perhaps better known as ENT doctors, ENT of course standing for Ear, Nose and Throat. Otolaryngologists specialize in understanding these areas and their interconnectivity, making them well-poised for diagnosis of infections and balance issues caused by blockage of sinuses or inflammation of the cochlea. They are most likely the kind of doctor you will see in the event of a long-lasting head cold, or if you are worried about your child’s ear pain.
Hearing Instrument Specialists
Hearing instrument specialists are the engineers of audiology. They concern themselves primarily with the pairing of hearing aids and implants to a given condition or disorder. Hearing instrument specialists administer hearing aids according to your specific needs, testing you in order to find the right fit for your lifestyle. You will commonly see a hearing instrument specialist if you have already been diagnosed, require replacements, or if you have been prescribed hearing aids.
Neurotologists are the kind of specialist you are least likely to meet. They specialize in the neural pathways regarding hearing and balance, often using surgical intervention to solve problems with a neurological cause. Tinnitus is commonly a neurological issue, being more so a form of stress disorder on neural pathways than a result of physical ear damage. Neurotologists can also diagnose and rectify physical deformations in the middle and inner ear, with otosclerosis a common malady cured through surgical intervention.