Otolaryngologists, or ENT specialists, are responsible for treating any condition that has to do with the ear, nose, and throat, including the region of the head and neck. A nose doctor or throat doctor is often requested from those who suffer from frequent bouts of sinusitis, swimmer’s ear, or tonsillitis.
What Does the Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor Do?
Like all other physicians, these specialists go to medical school and get certified from the ENT board after five years of specialty training. The ear, nose, and throat doctor is well-versed in both medical and surgical treatments of the following conditions:
- Ear conditions: Issues such as hearing impairment, swimmer’s ear, frequent ear infections, balance problems, tinnitus, or ear pain would require an ear doctor.
- Nose conditions: The nose doctor often treats issues such as sinusitis, chronic stuffy nose, and frequent infections, problems with breathing or swelling, and even physical appearance (deviated septum).
- Throat conditions: Issues in the throat can interfere with speech, swallowing, singing, and digestion, so a throat doctor would be best suited to treat these conditions.
- ENT conditions of the head and neck: The ENT physician is able to treat conditions in this region such as tumors, traumas, diseases, and deformities of the head, neck, and face. They can go as far as performing cosmetic surgery in these areas as well. In addition to that, they are well-trained to treat nerve problems in the neck and head that affect vision, hearing, facial movements, and smelling.
Some ear, nose, and throat doctors have further experience and specialty in the field (with an additional two years of training). These sub-specialties include:
- Pediatric otolyarngology
- Otology, audiology, neurotology (an ear doctor)
- Head and neck surgery (usually in reference to tumors)
- Laryngology, (a throat doctor)
- Rhinology (a nose doctor)
- Plastic surgery
When an ENT Specialist Should be Sought
Among the most common conditions in the ear, nose, and throat, the following should be evaluated by this specialist:
- Balance problems
- Down’s Syndrome
- Ear, nose, or throat injury
- Chronic sore throat
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Frequent nasal congestion
- Drooping of the eyelids
- Breathing problems
- Ear, nose, or throat nerve conditions
- Birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate
If any of the above are a continuing problem, then seeking the help of an ENT specialist would be beneficial. If the problems are related to the nose and nasal cavity, then it would be prudent to see a nose doctor, while if there are issues in the throat, then a throat doctor would be more appropriate. Sometimes, it is easier to see a general specialist, who could then direct you to the appropriate subspecialist that can directly deal with your condition.