Medical Attention

The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek professional advice.

Your primary care provider (your family doctor) may be able to diagnose and treat your hearing problem. Or, your doctor may refer you to other experts, like an otolaryngologist or an audiologist.

Primary care provider ('Doctor') is a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant who provides general health care to patients by identifying and treating common medical conditions:

  • Often refer patients to medical specialists when necessary.

  • Types: Family practitioners or general practitioners, pediatricians, geriatricians, and internists.


Otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-GAH-luh-jist) is a physician who provides medical and surgical care, diagnosis, and treatment of the ear, nose, throat, and neck (ENT):

  • Will find out why you’re having trouble hearing and offer specific treatment options.

  • Might also refer you to another hearing professional, such as an audiologist or hearing instrument. specialist, to receive a hearing test and be fitted for a hearing aid. 

Audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist) has specialized training to test your hearing and identify the type and degree of hearing loss:

  • Not physicians, but they have a doctor of audiology graduate degree (Au.D.); must also pass complete clinical fellowship.

  • Licensed to fit and dispense hearing aids and help adapt to hearing loss and hearing aids.


Hearing instrument specialist, also known as a hearing aid specialist, is a state-licensed professional who conducts basic hearing tests, fits and dispenses hearing aids.

Contact your Doctor if you have any of the 8 conditions:

  1. Visible deformities of the ear since birth or from injury.

  2. Fluid, pus, or blood coming  out of the ear within the previous 3 months.

  3. Sudden, quickly worsening, or fluctuating hearing loss within the previous 3 months.

  4. Dizziness.

  5. Hearing loss in only one ear or a large difference in hearing between ears.

  6. Significant ear wax build up or feeling that something is in the ear canal.

  7. Pain or discomfort in the ear.

  8. Tinnitus or ringing in one or both of your ears. 

Preparing for Doctor visit: 

Communicating well with your doctor is an important part of getting good medical care.

  • Make a list and prioritize your concerns.

  • Take relevant information with you.

  • Consider bringing a family member or friend. 

  • Keep your doctor up to date.

  • Request an interpreter if you need one.


To get the most out of your Doctor's visit:

  • Decide what questions are most important to ask. 

  • Stay focused on why you are there.

  • Be honest. 

  • Share your point of view about the visit.

  • Remember, the Doctor may not be able to answer all your question.

Tips to help you remember the Doctor's instructions:

  • Take notes.

  • Get written or recorded materials.

  • Talk to other members of the healthcare team.

  • Call or email the doctor if you are uncertain about the instructions.