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Difference Between Audiologist & ENT

Audiologists and ear, nose, and throat doctors, known as ENTs, both work with patients experiencing ear-related difficulties; however, ENTs specialize in more than just ear issues. This article will cover key information like educational requirements and the job outlook for each career.

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Comparing Audiologists to ENTs

While audiologists and ENTs both treat patients with hearing or ear conditions, an ENT focuses on issues affecting the ears, nose, and throat. The main similarities and differences between these two professions are outlined below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Audiologist Doctoral Degree $75,980 (2016)* 29%
ENT Doctoral Degree $353,293 (2017)** 15% (physicians & surgeons, all other)

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,**Salary.com

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  • Audiology and Hearing Sciences
  • Speech-Language Pathology

Responsibilities of Audiologists vs. ENTs

Both of these professions involve assisting patients with hearing loss, balance disorders, and other associated ear disorders. Careers as either an audiologist or ENT require strong communication and critical-thinking skills. An audiologist specializes in treating ear issues. In contrast, an ENT's additional education and experience allows them to provide more comprehensive medical care to patients.

Audiologist

As an audiologist, you will focus on treating patients suffering from auditory conditions. Audiologists usually work in hospitals, doctors' offices, or for school districts. Your job duties will include utilizing equipment like audiometers and computers to better diagnose patients' hearing loss or balance issues, outfitting patients with hearing aids or cochlear implants, and monitoring patients to ensure treatment plans are effective. Audiologists will need a doctoral degree in audiology and must obtain state licensure. You will have the option to pursue certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the American Board of Audiology.

Job responsibilities of an audiologist include:

  • Advising patients and their support system on alternative methods of communication, such as the use of technology or lip reading
  • Removing wax from ear canals
  • Informing patients on ways to prevent hearing loss
  • Treating conditions like tinnitus or vertigo by recommending exercises with head movement or positioning to better manage these conditions
  • Designing products to prevent work-related hearing loss
  • Conducting research on the causes of auditory disorders and the best methods of treatment

ENT

An ENT is trained to both medically and surgically treat patients experiencing issues with their ears, nose, throat, some of which may involve the neck and head. An ENT can also treat issues affecting the voice box or sinuses. Some issues that ENTs treat include hearing loss, tinnitus, chronic sinusitis, voice disorders, and facial deformities. You will do so by discussing a patient's medical history, utilizing diagnostic testing and interpreting the results, and developing unique treatment plans. An ENT can work in private practice or for a hospital or clinic. You will need to complete a doctoral degree and five years of specialty training, with the option to pursue a fellowship that will allow you to specialize in one of eight areas.

Job responsibilities of an ENT include:

  • Diagnosing allergic conditions like hay fever or rhinitis and prescribing medication or allergy shots
  • Performing facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery to correct issues such as a deviated septum or a cleft palate
  • Treating disorders related to swallowing
  • Advising patients experiencing issues like allergies or hearing loss on ways to better manage their conditions
  • Treating infections and tumors of the head and neck
  • Maintaining accurate patient records

Related Careers

If you would like to become an audiologist, consider a job as a speech-language pathologist, as both careers involve assisting patients with speech or hearing issues. Those interested in a position as an ENT might be interested in a job as a chiropractor, as both jobs involve treating patients with a variety of health ailments, often involving the head and neck structure.

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