What is an Otolaryngologist?

An Otolaryngologist is a specialized type of Doctor. Also known as: Ears Nose and Throat Physician, ENT Physician.

Otolaryngologists (commonly referred to as ENT physicians) are specialists trained in the medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. These specialists are different from many physicians in that they are trained in both medicine and surgery.

What does an Otolaryngologist do?

Otolaryngologists are specialists trained in the medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck.

An otolaryngologist will diagnose and treat diseases of the ears, nose, sinuses, larynx (voice box), mouth, and throat, as well as structures of the head and neck. There are various reasons why patients would want to see an otolaryngologist, but the most common are problems with hearing, earache or ear infection, or nasal congestion.

The Ears
Otolaryngologists are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing loss, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), and some cranial nerve disorders, and also manage congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.

The Nose—
Sinusitis is one of the most common health complaints in America - problems in the nasal area include allergies, smell disorders, polyps, and nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum.

The Throat—
Talking, singing, and eating all involve this vital area. Otolaryngologists are experts in dealing with diseases of the throat, larynx (voice box), and the upper aero-digestive tract or esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders.

The Head and Neck—
Sight, smell, and hearing are functions that are included in this area of the body. In the head and neck area, otolaryngologists are trained to treat infections, non-cancerous and cancerous tumours, facial trauma, and deformities, and can perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

The following are the types of conditions that are treated in the field of Otolaryngology:

Allergies - hay fever, seasonal and perennial rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, laryngitis, sore throat, otitis media, and dizziness

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - deviated septum, rhinoplasty (nose), face lift, cleft palate, drooping eyelids, hair loss and other ear deformities

Head and Neck - lump in the neck or thyroid, cancer of the voice box

Laryngology - sore throat, hoarseness, swallowing disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infections and tumors

Otology/Neurotology - ear infection; swimmer’s ear; hearing loss; ear, face, or neck pain; dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Pediatric Otolaryngology - ear infection (otitis media), tonsil and adenoid infection, airway problems, asthma and allergy/sinus disease, neck tumors

Rhinology - sinus disorder, nose bleed, stuffy nose, loss of smell, polyps, tumors

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What is the workplace of an Otolaryngologist like?

Otolaryngologists typically have an office practice either in a private medical office or hospital-based office. They can work in hospitals, medical systems, universities, or government institutions. They may also be self-employed and own their own medical practice.

During a full day in the office, they may see anywhere from 25-40 patients. As well as seeing patients in an office setting, most otolaryngologists also perform surgeries in an outpatient centre or in a hospital. Otolaryngologists can perform up to 250-300 surgeries annually.

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Further Reading

  • What Is the Difference Between an ENT Doctor and an Otolaryngologist? work.chron.com

    When a patient seeks an ENT doctor, she's most likely to start with an otolaryngologist -- the terms ENT and otolaryngologist are typically used interchangeably.

  • What Does an Otolaryngologist Do? www.wisegeek.com

    According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, this specialized area of medicine is the oldest specialty in the United States. Its roots as a medical specialty can be traced back to 1896.

  • The Difference Between an Audiologist and an ENT phb.secondsensehearing.com

    Hearing is a complex sense with lots of different causes and treatments. Sometimes it’s difficult for patients to determine what type of hearing health professional can best handle their hearing problem. This educational blogpost explains the difference between an audiologist and an ENT and provides different examples to help determine when it’s more appropriate to see one or the other.

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