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Ask Anna: What is the difference between an audiologist and ENT doctor?

what is the difference between an audiologist and ENT
Ask Anna is an advice column for the hearing loss community. 

Dear Anna,

I think my husband may have a hearing loss. I am not sure if we should go to an audiologist or ENT physician to get his hearing tested.

What is the difference between an audiologist and ENT doctor?

Thank you!

– Michelle

Hi Michelle,

Audiologists and ENT Physicians often work very closely together and will often refer patients to one another, however, their professions are different. The difference between an Audiologist and an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) Doctor is the type of education and training required.

ENT

To practice as an ENT Physician/ Consultant a medical degree is required. This means they can then practice as medical doctors. An ENT physician role is very different from that of an Audiologist they specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose, mouth, and throat. They perform surgery when required.

Audiologist

To practice as an audiologist the qualification required differs from country to country. However, typically this is a degree such as a bachelor of science or a master’s degree in audiology. Some audiologists will continue their studies to gain a doctor of audiology degree referred to as an AuD which is the equivalent of a PhD but this is not a medical degree. An AuD qualification is not available in every country and is not necessarily required to practice as an audiologist.

An audiologist is a healthcare professional who uses their skills to identify and treat hearing, balance, tinnitus and other auditory disorders.

There are many different roles for an audiologist and some may specialize in specific fields such as pediatric audiology or tinnitus management. Counseling and the ability to sensitively involve the patient’s main communication partners in defining the best intervention and support required is a major part of the role. Another important skill is being able to determine the best type of technology (normally a hearing aid) required to meet a patient’s needs based on what they have discussed. As with all professions, the role of an Audiologist is always changing and with healthcare and hearing aid technology advances come new sets of skills that keep us on our toes.

I hope this helps to better explain the difference between the role of an Audiologist and ENT physician.

Read more: Why is the audiologist-patient relationship so important?

Do you have a question for Anna? Ask her here!

The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Hearing Like Me website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.
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Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.
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Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.