Who do I call when I’m having a hearing or ear-related problem? Should I call my Audiologist or ENT? This can be a confusing question. Let’s help you figure out who you should call when you’re experiencing hearing or ear-related issues.
What an Audiologist Does vs What an ENT Does:
An audiologist is a degreed and credentialed specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, balance related disorders and tinnitus including hearing tests, hearing aid fittings, maintenance, and hearing loss prevention. Audiologists typically hold a doctorate in Audiology. An Otolaryngologist (or Ear, Nose, and Throat; ENT) is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat diseases. Audiologists frequently work in close communication with ENT’s to make sure you’re receiving comprehensive care.
When to Call Your Audiologist
Since there is some overlap, it can be a little confusing on when you should see one or the other for hearing-related issues. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide:
- Has my hearing changed suddenly for the worse?
- Do I notice a slow decline in my hearing?
- Do I have any medical conditions that may be impacting my hearing, such as diabetes, or do I take any medications that may be interfering with my hearing?
- Am I having a hard time understanding what people are saying, even though I think I’m hearing them ok?
- Has my balance been “off” lately?
If you answer yes to these questions, it’s time to see your Audiologist. At Hearing Resources Audiology Center, Dr. Serpa can provide assessments for hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hyperacusis (acute sensitivity to sound) and auditory processing problems (making sense of what is being said) and provide hearing loss prevention education and assistance for those that work in noisy jobs and musicians.
The Audiology-ENT Partnership
Audiologists also know when to refer you to your ENT for help. Your audiologist has been trained to detect when you should see your ENT with issues such as ear infections, eardrum injuries, balance related problems (vertigo, dizziness), or other health problems related to ears that your audiologist does not treat. Audiology and ENT specialties are close partners in diagnosing and treating your hearing and hearing-related health.
How Soon Can My Audiologist See Me? Do I Need a Referral?
Recently, lawmakers introduced The Audiology Patient Choice Act. The purpose of this legislation is to improve access to audiology services under Medicare. What the act would allow qualifying patients to do is choose their audiology provider and Medicare-covered audiology serves without the current web of supervisory and referral requirements. This empowers you, the patient, to seek care for covered services without the red tape currently slowing down and limiting your care. With this new law, access and choice with audiology care are expanded. No more waiting months on end for approvals and referrals – you can go to your local audiologist and be treated quickly. Under private insurance plans, you can refer yourself to an audiologist for care.
Be Seen Soon
At Hearing Resources Audiology Center, we can schedule you to be seen within weeks instead of months, and you’ll always be treated to a friendly office and relaxed environment. Why wait to hear better? Contact us today.