Many different things can go terribly wrong between the ears, nose and throat. Depending on the exact problem, you will need a specific specialist to treat the problem.
You see, these organs are all connected, so most specialties focus on the health of all three. Sub-specialty areas include other areas such as the neck and the face.
Hearing loss will take you to an audiologist who is trained to treat diseases and illnesses of the ears.
The otolaryngologist is a medical doctor licensed to diagnose, treat and even surgically operate on any condition that affects the neck, throat, ears, nose and face.
The Otologists, however, is an otolaryngologist who has had additional training in a sub-specialty area relating to the ears. Otologists are essentially ear specialists. If you, therefore, develop a complex problem within your inner ear, the most likely doctor for you to see is an Otologist.
Scope of Practice for an Otologist
After completing their 15 years of study, which includes post-graduate and doctoral training, an additional 2 years is spent pursuing a fellowship.
For the Otologists, this additional two years is spent attaining specialized knowledge on the ear. It includes a working knowledge of disorders of the inner ear that affect balance.
These professionals also treat other types of hearing disorders such as tinnitus. That is the medical term for ringing in the ears.
They might also zero in on tumors in the ears, which might lead to hearing problems or loss of balance. This area is a branch of study called neurotology, or neuro-otology.
Sub-specialty branches of Otology
Neuro-otology is one of the sub-specialties of the Otologists. The neurotologist is able to provide medical and surgical care for ear diseases.
These are very wide in practice and includes conditions such as Bell’s palsy, which is a viral condition triggered by inflammation in the facial nerve that causes a one-sided paralysis in the face.
They also treat Paraganglioma, which is a tumor that originates in the middle ear, among a host of other conditions, relating to the ear.
Making a Living as an Otologist
The average salary of an entry level Otologists is a little over $60,000, which is about $42 an hour. An experienced Otologist who has more than three years’ experience will make up to $107,000 yearly. They usually also make bonuses of over $2,000.
Although Otologists were trained in the general disciplines as otolaryngologists, they earn less because the scope of their practice is limited.
The otolaryngologists diagnose and treat all disorders relating to the neck, ear, nose, throat and face. Otologists focus only on the ears and other complex conditions not specifically done by otolaryngologists. This would account for the gap in their salaries.
How Technology Impacts Treatment of Hearing Diseases
Any form of cancer or tumor will require chemotherapy or radiation. Stem cell treatment can be used, not as a cure, but as a way to relieve neurological and vascular symptoms that occur because of a hearing disorder or disease.
Many conditions can affect the proper functioning of the inner ear. There is also a variety of ways to exercise treatment. Technology offers one very interesting way and that is the autologous stem cell transplant.
The Autologous stem cell transplant as a treatment option involves using a person’s own good cells to create an inner ear that works. It can also be used to repair damaged cells from within the ear.
How this works is that cells can be fused with the cochlea to start functioning normally. This can actually restore hearing loss.
This is possible because the inner ear remains intact despite the disease or condition affecting it.
Only hair or sensory cells are lost and if it can be replaced, this provides a viable option for restoring inner ear functions. If scientists were able to create these hair cells by the millions, then it would be possible to cure deafness over time.
Future Outlook for the Otologist
The neuro-otologists practice many other sub-specialties on a daily basis. As environmental and physiological needs change and increase, so too will more people require specialized treatment from an Otologists.
The inner ear is highly sensitive and prone to many conditions over the lifespan of an individual. Loud noise, birth defects, accidents, trauma and other social or environmental occurrence can lead to damage. With this in mind, it is possible to understand that Otologists will always be in constant demand.
However, it is likely that many people who seek treatment will not be able to afford the cost associated with high-tech solutions.
Pharmaceutical companies stand to benefit from drugs and hearing aids as temporary solutions among those in the lower income bracket.
At the same time, researchers and scientists are engaged in studies to find a more long-lasting solution that can benefit people across the world and eventually eradicate the issue of hearing loss forever.