Hearing loss has a number of causes beyond aging and exposure to noise. While most are treated with help from an audiologist, some causes require a medical specialist. Understanding the role otolaryngologists and neurotologists play in care of your ears ensures you seek treatment from the right professional when needed.
What Is an Otolaryngologist?
This type of doctor specializes in treating problems in the ear, nose and throat; they are often referred to as an ENT.
ENT doctors are trained to identify, diagnose and treat a wide variety of issues related to:
Otolaryngologists can perform head and neck surgery. Some choose to continue their training and gain a sub-specialty. This can include surgery of the head and neck, pediatrics, vascular surgery and plastic surgery.
You’ll usually visit an otolaryngologist to rule out additional medical causes of your hearing loss or to diagnose your vestibular disorder. ENT doctors work closely with audiologists to determine your type and degree or hearing loss and create a treatment plan, which usually includes the use of a hearing aid.
What Is a Neurotologist?
Neurotologists, also known as otologists, are ear, nose and throat doctors who sub-specialize in disorders of the inner ear, auditory nerve and base of the skull. Otologists must complete a year of general surgery training, four years of otolaryngology training and one to three years of additional training in this subspecialty.
These doctors conduct surgery to insert bone anchored hearing aids and place cochlear implants. They treat:
- Dizziness and balance problems
- Skull base or ear anatomy disorders
- Acoustic neuromas
Your audiologist will be the point person for your hearing care. If they think the cause of your hearing loss is medical in nature, they will refer you to an otolaryngologist or neurotologist for additional testing and treatment. Your hearing aid treatment plan will be created and monitored by your audiologist.
To learn more about the specialists who are responsible to your hearing health or to schedule an appointment, contact the experts at Central Plains ENT today.