Otolaryngology is the medical specialty concerned with disorders and conditions of the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) region of the body. If you have a problem related to these body areas, your regular primary care doctor may refer you to an ENT specialist.
What is an ENT?
An ear, nose, and throat specialist, also known as an ENT or otolaryngologist, is a doctor who possesses a set of specialized skills. Those who work within this field diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions related to the ears, nose, and throat. ENTs may treat acute conditions, or they may work in primary care, providing services to both adults and children.
When a condition is severe, the ENT doctor determines the cause and then finds the right method of treatment for the individual. Otolaryngology specialists also provide checkups, perform surgeries, and test for many diseases associated with the head.
What conditions do ENTs treat?
There are numerous ear-related conditions that are treated by ENT doctors. When working with the ears, these doctors identify, evaluate, and correct many clinical problems. They use different devices or surgery to treat conditions such as hearing loss, ear infections, nerve damage, malformations, balance disorders, and even birth disorders that affect both the inner or outer area of the ear.
Problems involving the nose are also treated by ENTs, such as deviated septum, malformation, nerve disorders, chronic sinusitis, and smell and sensory issues. They can also treat allergies and breathing problems that are the result of a problem with the nasal cavity.
Treatment of the throat area involves cancer, speech problems, and vocal issues, as well as eating disabilities and speaking limitations. ENTs also treat infections of the throat that are acute or chronic, and perform surgery as necessary.
What services do ENTs offer?
ENTs use different tools, devices, and techniques in order to detect problems occurring within the ear, nose, and/or throat. Through diagnostic measures, the doctor can find the root of the problem and determine the best method of treatment. These specialists treat various health conditions through the use of medication, medical devices, and in some cases, they use corrective surgery. ENTs often find it necessary to operate because of an internal issue or to provide reconstructive surgery on congenital birth defects.
What to expect from an ENT appointment?
The ears, nose and throat are important parts of the body. When issues occur within these areas, it affects the senses and lead to a developmental delay for a young child. At the first appointment, you can discuss any issues present with you or your child with the doctor, and the specialist will perform a variety of tests in order diagnose the problem. These tests include visual exams, hearing tests, tympanograms, and laryngoscopes. After testing is complete, the ENT doctor will discuss the results with you and set up a treatment plan.
Common Reasons to Visit an ENT:
- A lump in the neck
- Change in voice
- A growth in the mouth
- Spitting up blood
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in the skin
- Persistent earache
- Recurrent sinusitis
- Persistent allergies
- Deviated septum
- Loss of smell
- Hearing problems