Choosing the Right Ear Doctor
When you are having hearing problems or ear troubles, nobody wants to spend valuable time going from doctor to doctor without any real answers. That's why it's so important to choose the right ear doctor. If you can get a knowledgeable and affirming doctor from the very beginning, you can get answers fast and be on the way to treating your condition in a timely manner.
But what things should you consider when choosing an ear doctor? The answer is a lot of things! There is no magic formula to choosing the right ear doctor. There are, however, several things that you can do to help you narrow down your choices and choose the one that's right for you.
Things to consider when choosing an ear doctor:
- Recommendations from your general physician, friends, and family members.
- Who will your insurance cover?
- What are the ear doctor's qualifications?
- Will the ear doctor be for you, another adult, or a child?
- What are your specific complaints and symptoms, and what does this ear doctor specialize in?
Before moving forward, it is recommended that you see your family doctor or general physician first about your symptoms and concerns. Your regular doctor will probably be the most qualified to do an intake of your symptoms and refer you to the right ear doctor. Depending on your symptoms, you may be referred to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) or an audiologist.
The differences in an ENT and an audiologist may seem subtle. ENTs and audiologists do work together with many patients to treat their entire array of problems, but they have very different jobs.
ENTs specialize in medical conditions and ailments of the ears, nose, and throat. They treat sinus issues, problems with ear wax buildup, and problems of the throat. They also perform surgeries such as tonsillectomy, sinus surgery, and fixing protruding ears. ENTs are ideal if you feel that your ear problems are related to a medical condition.
Audiologists deal specifically with hearing loss, usually congenital or long-term forms of hearing loss. They run tests and evaluations, do consultations for personalized hearing correction and hearing protection, and help manage a person's ability to gain maximum hearing ability through hearing aids and other devices.
Sudden hearing loss is more often to be associated with a medical condition. If you have any dramatic change in your hearing ability, you will probably be referred to an ENT first to rule out anything that can be treated through surgery or other medical treatment.
If you are looking for an ear doctor for a child, consider seeking out a pediatric ENT or pediatric audiologist. These doctors specialize in working with children and will generally be more knowledgeable of symptoms and conditions that happen more often in the pediatric population.
You don't necessarily have to go in for an appointment to get a referral from your general physician. Try calling their office and asking to leave a message for them or speak to them directly. Let your doctor know exactly what is going on and ask if you can be directly referred to a specialist. Remember to check the protocol for your insurance. Some insurance companies will not cover a specialist without a direct referral.