What’s Best for the Ringing in My Ears and Slight Earaches?
ENTs and Audiologists both deal with some aspects of the ears; therefore, it may be confusing to figure out which type of doctor to see when you have an ear-related medical issue.
Generally speaking, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose, mouth, and throat.
An audiologist, on the other hand, is a healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. Audiologists are specially trained to fit and adjust hearing aids accurately.
Think of audiologists as “hearing doctors” and ENTs as ear, nose and throat doctors.
Based on these definitions, you would want to first seek out an audiologist if you have noticed a change in your hearing or experience tinnitus (a ringing in the ears).
In some cases, an audiologist might refer you to an ENT doctor based on your ear exam, or if you have a medical condition that could be associated with hearing loss, such as an autoimmune disorder.
In turn, many ENT doctors work with audiologists to provide comprehensive hearing health care to their patients. If the doctor determines that you need a hearing aid, he or she may refer you to an audiologist after your initial exam.
See an ENT for Slight Earaches
You should speak to an ENT physician if you are experiencing ear pain or slight earaches.
Ear pain is one of the most common reasons for an ear nose and throat consultation.
Common causes of earaches include:
- Earwax (Cerumen Impaction)
- Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
- Foreign Bodies in the Ear
- Mastoiditis and Cholesteatoma
- Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media)
- Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)
- Throat Cancer
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Pain)
- Zoster (Shingles) & Viral Ulcers
An ENT doctor is usually able to diagnose the cause of your ear pain and provide a practical solution. However, if a hearing-related cause is suspected, the ENT doctor may have you see an audiologist.
See an Audiologist for Ringing in the Ears
While audiologists are most known for prescribing and fitting hearing aids, they also help those that hear sounds not present in the environment, such as with Tinnitus.
Audiologists treat Tinnitus daily.
Millions of people experience tinnitus and many report feeling debilitated by the symptom.
The condition can sound like hissing, roaring, or ringing and can range from high pitch to low pitch, have multiple tones, or no tone at all.
It most often is constant, but can also be perceived as pulsed, or intermittent, and may begin suddenly, or may come on gradually. It can be sensed in one ear, both ears, or in the head.
Tinnitus can cause or be associated with a wide range of issues including insomnia, fatigue, stress, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, depression, and irritability. As a result, it can affect your quality of life including social and work interactions.
Audiologists are qualified to evaluate, diagnose, develop management strategies, and provide treatment and rehabilitation for patients suffering from ringing in the ears.
How Audiologists Treat Ringing in the Ears
Most people with tinnitus have hearing loss; therefore, the use of hearing aids is a highly effective treatment for ringing in the ears. The increased auditory signals provided by hearing aids help to stimulate the brain and in turn, decrease the perception of tinnitus.
An Audiologist may also prescribe the use of a masking device to create white noise to drown out the sound of the ringing in your ear. White noise devices can be worn around the neck or may sit on a tabletop. Even a simple tool like a fan can be used to generate white noise and bring about relief from tinnitus.
A compassionate and experienced Audiologists will also provide cognitive-behavioral therapy in the form of counseling to decrease the impact of a person’s tinnitus on the quality of their life.
Make an Appointment to See a New York City Doctor of Audiology
New York Hearing Center’s D. Kathy Feng is currently accepting new patients at both the Manhattan and Brooklyn centers. You can make an initial consultation by calling +(212) 966-38861 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.