What Is An Otolaryngologist?
Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management of patients with disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They are more commonly referred to as ENT physicians. Other names for the specialty include otorhinolaryngology and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.
To qualify for certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must first complete college, medical school, and at least five years of specialty training in an accredited residency program. Next, the physician must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology examination.
What Do Otolaryngologists Treat?
Otolaryngologists diagnose and manage a wide variety of ear, nose and throat problems in both children and adults. There are seven main areas of expertise:
- Otology/Neurotology: diseases of the ear, including trauma (injury), cancer, hearing and balance problems. Examples: ear infection; swimmer's ear; hearing loss; ear, face, or neck pain; dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Pediatric Otolaryngology: diseases in children with special ENT problems including birth defects in the head and neck and developmental delays. Examples: ear infection (otitis media), tonsil and adenoid infection, airway problems, allergy/sinus disease.
- Head and Neck: cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the head and neck, including the thyroid, parathyroid and salivary glands. Examples: lump in the neck or thyroid, cancer of the voice box.
- Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive surgical treatment of abnormalities of the face and neck. Examples: rhinoplasty (nose), face lift, cleft palate, drooping eyelids.
- Rhinology: disorders of the nose and sinuses. Examples: deviated septum, sinusitis, nose bleed, stuffy nose, loss of smell.
- Laryngology: disorders of the throat, including voice and swallowing problems. Examples: sore throat, hoarseness, swallowing disorders, laryngitis including reflux laryngitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Allergy: treatment by medication, immunotherapy (allergy shots) and/or avoidance of pollen, dust, mold, food, and other sensitivities that affect the ear, nose, and throat. Examples: hay fever, seasonal and perennial rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, laryngitis, sore throat, otitis media, dizziness.