Types of Hearing Specialists
Ready to get help with hearing loss? Depending on your specific needs, there are many different health care professionals who can support you on your journey back to better hearing. The following is an overview of the different hearing specialists and their specific areas of training and expertise.
Audiologists are hearing healthcare professionals who assess and treat hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. They offer specialized tests for hearing loss and can prescribe and fit hearing aids, work with cochlear implant programs and monitor ear or hearing-related treatments. Audiologists provide services related to hearing loss prevention and hearing rehabilitation services such as auditory and speech training. They have extensive training in speech and hearing science, either through a Doctorate (Au.D., Ph.D.) or Masters degree (M.S. or M.A.) in Clinical Audiology.
Audiometrists are non-medical hearing specialists who help audiologists or other medical practitioners measure hearing loss and fit hearing aids. They also work with patients to help them get the most benefit from their prescribed hearing aids. Audiometrists hold a qualification from a registered training organization, which generally involves two years of formal study followed by a further two years on-the-job training.
Otolaryngologists (ENT specialists)
Ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, also known as otolaryngologists, are doctors and surgeons who treat ear, nose, sinus and throat diseases and disorders. They treat balance and hearing problems in the ears, address allergies that cause sinus congestion, remove tumors from the throat and neck, perform plastic and reconstructive surgery, and help patients who have difficulty swallowing. ENT specialists typically hold a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degree (MBBS) and have undergone extensive medical training.
Otologists and neurotologists
Otologists and neurotologists are board certified ENTs who spend an extra two years training in ears and their related systems. They treat hearing loss and tinnitus, dizziness, infectious and inflammatory diseases of the ear, facial nerve disorders, and tumors of the ear, hearing nerve, and skull base. Otologists can surgically correct congenital malformations, such as fused ear bones, and other physical conditions that cause hearing loss, such as perforated eardrums. Neurotologists are also certified in neurotology, the treatment of nerve pathway disorders which can cause hearing loss, dizziness and nausea.
Speech pathologists, speech-language pathologists, speech therapists and speech and language therapists assess and treat people of all ages with communication disabilities. They work across all aspects of the communication process, from cognitive communication issues, to problems with speech, hearing, writing and reading, to swallowing disorders. Speech pathologists usually work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes audiologists and other medical professionals, as well as teachers and parents. Speech pathology requires a minimum of a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology (e.g. M.A., M.S., or M.Ed).
Hearing instrument specialists
Hearing instrument specialists test hearing and fit hearing aids to suitable candidates. In the United States, a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (BCHIS) has successfully passed a National Competency Examination after completing an apprenticeship and training under the supervision of a licenced hearing aid dispenser for at least two years. Hearing instrument specialists must be licenced in most states in the USA.
The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe treatment, or replace medical advice. Please consult a hearing healthcare professional to diagnose or treat a hearing or health problem.