Otolaryngologist and Otologist/Neurotologist?: What's the Difference

Occasionally, people think that an Otologist is the same as Otolaryngologist, but there are many differences between the two.

Couple of doctors at the hospital looking at a medical history 



Otolaryngology is a specialty of the ears, nose, and throat. An otolaryngologist is trained in diagnosing, treating, and managing specialty-specific disorders in adults and children. ENT’s as they are often called can treat patients who have issues swallowing, hearing problems, and nasal issues. The Amercian Academy of Otolaryngology states that it is one of the oldest medical specialties in the United States. Some specialists in this field are also able to perform surgical procedures as well.


Before they can begin practicing, physicians are required to complete 4-years of medical school and an additional 5-year residency in Otolaryngology. To become certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, a physician must pass a written and oral exam.


Otolaryngologist typically treats these disorders:


  • Allergy
  • Tonsillitis
  • Deviated Septum
  • Voice and swallowing problems
  • Hearing Loss
  • GERD
  • Dizziness




Otology, a subspecialty of Otolaryngology, is the medical treatment of the ear and hearing-related disorders. Neurotology, which is also a subspecialty of Otolaryngology, refers to the medical and surgical treatment of neurological disorders related to the ear. Together they are the “E” of ENT, providing comprehensive treatment for ear and hearing issues. In conjunction with Neurotology, They are Otolaryngologist, but an Otologist/Neurotologist may complete a fellowship to receive additional training for ear and neurological disorders. Like Otolaryngologists, some also have specialized training in surgical procedures such as cochlear implantation, removal of skull base tumors, and ear disorders.


Conditions that Otologist/Neurotologist treat are:


  • Hearing Loss
  • Perforated Eardrum
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
  • Ear infections
  • Issues with the hearing bones
  • Vestibular Disorders
  • Facial nerve disorders
  • Skull base, ear, and facial nerve tumors
  • Cochlear Implants


While both are able to see patients with ear and hearing issues, Otologist/Neurotologist specialize in the treatment of the ear. Likewise, Otolaryngologists are able to provide similar care, however, they may not be able to provide the same comprehensive treatment as an Otologist/Neurotologist.


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To schedule an appointment for problems hearing or ear-related disorders, call 602.307.9919.



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