Ear Specialists

Written by Amy Hall
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Ear specialists include otolaryngologists, who are ear, nose, and throat doctors, otologists, who are strictly ear doctors, or audiologists, who are doctors who perform hearing tests. In most cases, ear specialists are recommended when hearing loss has become noticeable and the causes of the loss are unknown by a primary care physician. Hearing loss can be temporary in nature if an ear infection is present, or it can be permanent if there are underlying medical problems contributing to deterioration of your middle and inner ear.

If there are problems with the ears and the adenoids at the back of the throat, then an otolaryngologist can help determine what the problem is. There are various tests used to check hearing, but in most cases the doctor is looking to find out a patient's response to tones or words. In infants, different approaches are used as they obviously cannot respond to words or directions yet.

In children, a test called tympanometry is performed to determine how the middle ear is functioning. The test detects changes in the pressure in the middle ear and can determine if fluid behind the eardrum is present. A pure tone audiometry test uses an electrical machine to produce sounds at different volumes and pitches in the ears. Earphones are usually worn and the child is asked to respond in some way to the various sounds.

Hearing Loss--Getting Help from Ear Specialists

Hearing loss can be the direct result of a physical condition, or it can be related to genetics, age, noise, or medication. Sometimes hearing loss happens suddenly, and in other cases it develops slowly over time. If you experience hearing loss to any degree, it is important that you contact your doctor for an examination of your ears. Your doctor may recommend an ear specialists if the cause of your hearing loss cannot be determined and further specialty testing is needed.

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