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Difference Between Audiologist & Otologist

Audiologists and otologists both treat patients suffering from ear-related issues; however, otologists treat patients suffering from other health issues. This article will cover key information like job duties and the educational requirements for these two patient-centered careers.

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Comparing Audiologists to Otologists

While audiologists and otologists both work with people experiencing ear or hearing disorders, an otologist can treat ear, nose, and throat issues. The key similarities and differences between these positions are outlined below.

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

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

Responsibilities of Audiologists vs. Otologists

Both of these medical professionals help people suffering from balance disorders, hearing loss, and other ear-related conditions. Careers as either an audiologist or otologist require strong problem-solving and interpersonal skills. An audiologist focuses solely on treating issues. In contrast, an otologist has additional education that allows them to administer more complete medical services to people.

Audiologist

Audiologists focus on treating patients experiencing auditory issues. Job duties will include providing patients with cochlear implants or hearing aids, regularly meeting with patients to monitor the success of treatment plans, and utilizing devices such as computers and audiometers to properly diagnose patients' balance and hearing conditions. Audiologists typically work in doctors' offices or hospitals, but can also work for school districts. This career requires a doctoral degree in audiology, as well as state licensure. You can pursue voluntary certification from the American Board of Audiology or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Job responsibilities of an audiologist include:

  • Conducting examinations on patients and discussing their current issues
  • Instructing patients and their families on communication methods like lip reading or the use of electronic methods like hearing aids or cochlear implants
  • Advising patients on preventive methods to maintain hearing
  • Determining the level at which patients can hear sounds and if they can recognize the difference between sounds and comprehend speech
  • Researching the reasons for balance disorders and hearing loss

Otologist

An otologist specializes in providing medical and surgical care for ear, nose, and throat conditions, which can also involve the head and neck. An otologist is also known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor. You may work for a hospital or clinic or go into private practice. Common conditions that otologists can treat are allergies, swallowing conditions, tumors, and facial abnormalities. Job responsibilities include conducting patient examinations, creating individualized treatment plans, and monitoring patients to assess their progress. Otologists must complete a doctoral degree, along with five years of specialized training. You can choose to pursue a fellowship, which requires candidates to choose one of eight specialties.

Job responsibilities of an otologist include:

  • Treating issues like drooping eyelids or ear abnormalities through cosmetic and reconstructive surgery
  • Diagnosing conditions such as thyroid or neck cancer and recommending appropriate treatment
  • Helping patients better manage conditions like allergies or chronic sinusitis through the use of appropriate medication
  • Maintaining accurate patient records
  • Utilizing diagnostic testing to better diagnose conditions

Related Careers

If you would like to become an audiologist, consider a job as a physical therapist, as both careers involve assisting patients with health issues. Those interested in a position as an otologist might be interested in a job as a speech-language pathologist, since both options involve working with patients experiencing hearing issues.

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