Audiologist vs. ENT vs. Speech-Language Pathologist: What’s the Difference?

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Updated: February 29, 2024, Reading time: 7 minutes

Audiologist vs. ENT vs. Speech-Language Pathologist - featured image

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People’s ears, noses, and throats are often body parts that are more taken for granted than the other, more critical ones. The recurring health conditions lead to more serious results like chronic sore throats, sleep deprivation, and hearing loss that affects 280 million people

Instead of managing these issues on your own, it is best to consult medical professionals such as an audiologist, an ENT specialist, and a speech-language pathologist who are experts in these fields.

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Comparing Audiologist vs ENT vs Speech-Language Pathologist

Comparing Audiologist vs ENT vs Speech-Language Pathologist - Image

Audiologists, ENTs, and SLPs share similar characteristics, but they have distinct variations in terms of their training programs, treatment focus, and other aspects of their careers.

In a nutshell:

All three professions require professionals to complete a graduate program as a requirement for professional practice. Graduate programs also open doors to career development opportunities.

Choose graduate programs with scholarships and financial aid options to help you reduce high graduate degree costs!

Let’s dig deeper into these professions and find out how they differ from one another!

Audiologist Overview

Audiologist Overview - Image

The two origins of the word audiology are audio and logy. “Audio” means “to hear,” and “logy” means “the study of.” Essentially, audiology is the study of hearing; as balance also depends on the inner ear, this aspect of the science is also included. It is a field of research that involves specialized knowledge and innovative techniques, focusing on diseases related to hearing, balance, and related senses in the medical sense.

Audiology employs cutting-edge technology together with medical knowledge. Audiologists are those who work in the field of audiology. Audiologists are in charge of treating and rehabilitating balance and hearing impairments.

Audiologists hold doctorates in Audiology from recognized audiology schools and gain training to treat a variety of patients across all age spectrums, including older adults and newborns.

Conditions That Audiologists Treat

Audiologist Education and Training

You need to have a bachelor’s degree and complete preparatory courses in Biology, Statistics, and Psychology.

For the purpose of future professional practice, new audiologists need to have a PhD. If you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, you can apply to the four-year doctorate program in audiology (AudD). Your courses in an Audiologist degree online or on-campus will be tailored-fit based on your chosen specialization.

Audiology Specializations:

Students typically complete a clinical internship or externship in their last year of study. They will work under the guidance of a seasoned audiologist.

ENT Overview

ENT Overview - Image

Otolaryngology, otherwise referred to as “Eyes, Nose, and Throat,” is the US’ oldest medical specialty! 

Otolaryngologists are physicians with sufficient training in the medical and surgical management and treatment of disorders in the ear, nose, and throat both in adults and children. They also diagnose and treat associated diseases in head and neck structures, including the sinuses, neck and face, oral cavity, voice box, and mouth and throat.

They are known as “ENT doctors” or “ENT specialists” most of the time because the acronym is easier to remember than “otolaryngologists.” 

Conditions That ENTs Treat

ENT Education and Training

Like any profession, it all starts with a bachelor’s degree, and it’s the same requirement if you want to practice being an ENT physician. You must have this degree to be accepted to the top medical schools. Some undergraduates opt to study a related subject, such as Biology or Chemistry, while others pursue a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Medicine.

In med school, Otolaryngology students must begin, and eventually complete, their residency.

The MCAT exam, a prerequisite for US medical schools, may be waived if you intend to pursue the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) that is its MD (Doctor of Medicine) equivalent.

Speech-Language Pathologist Overview

Speech-Language Pathologist Overview - Image

A speech-language pathologist assesses swallowing or speaking issues and conducts speech therapy. They offer therapeutic support and monitor your progress over time.

Conditions that SLPs Treat

To treat speech and language disorders in patients, speech pathologists must be aware of the patient’s hearing problems and utilize the latest techniques in therapy that are integral to the specialized treatment.

Speech-Language Pathologist Education and Training

If you want to pursue a speech language pathology career, it’s best to understand the education and training required. The key is to look for the top SLP programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation.

One of the most important prerequisites for becoming an SLP is earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Communication Sciences, English, Education, Linguistics, or Language Development. Make sure the bachelor’s degree you choose correlates to your overall goals. 

The next step is to obtain an on-campus or online master’s in Speech Language Pathology. The language therapy curriculum offers the benefit of frequently fusing academic study with practical clinical experience. 

Graduates of speech pathology masters online and in-person programs must complete their clinical practice to meet the national certification requirements established by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

While earning an SLP degree tends to be expensive, you can find affordable online speech pathology programs with financial aid programs available to qualifying students.

An SLP’s earnings are based on a number of factors, including education, experience, location of practice or type of employer.

Audiologist vs. ENT vs. Speech-Language Pathologist - fact

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