What is an ENT?
Otolaryngologists are more commonly called ENTs, which stands for ear, nose, and throat. ENTs are medical professionals that are trained to diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses that affect the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They can treat serious diseases, such as cancer, or simple health problems, such as strep throat.
How does a doctor become an ENT?
To become an ENT, a person must first complete an accredited undergraduate program. Then, they must attend medical school for at least four years. After medical school, they at least five years of specialty training. During specialty training, they must also complete a residency program. Once all the education is complete, the doctor must complete the American Board of Otolaryngology examination. It can take some people up to 15 years to become an ENT.
What types of illnesses do ENTs treat?
ENTs treat a variety of diseases and illnesses that affect the ears, nose, and throat. Some of the most common include:
- Hearing loss
- Ear infections
- Balance disorders
- Cranial nerve disorders
- Smell disorders
- Nasal obstructions
- Benign and malignant tumors
- Facial trauma
- Deformities of the face
What diagnostic tests and procedures do ENTs use?
Before ENTs can treat illnesses and diseases, they have to diagnose them. They use a variety of different diagnostic tests to do that. They may conduct the test themselves or order the test from other health professionals. Some of the most common tests include:
- Rotary chair test
- Vestibular nerve test
- Neuro-diagnostic testing
- Balance testing
What are the different types of ENTs?
ENTs all treat illnesses in the ears, nose, and throat, but some of the also specialize in other areas. When attending medical school, ENTs have the option to learn about different sub-specialties. Some of these include:
- Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Head and neck
- Pediatric otolaryngology
- Sleep disorders
How do ENTs treat illnesses and diseases?
Because ENTs treat so many different illnesses and diseases, they have to make sure that each type of treatment is focused on the right disease or illness. Some of the most common treatments used to treat ENT illnesses include:
- Cochlear implants
- Endocrine surgery to treat adrenal and thyroid glands
- Myringotomy to drain fluid in the eardrum
- Balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery for sinusitis
- Somnoplasty for snoring
- Voice treatments
- Botox injections
When to see an ENT?
Knowing when to see an ENT can be difficult. Sometimes, serious illnesses and diseases can have the same symptoms as common illnesses, such as an ear infection or strep throat. An ENT can tell the difference between something serious and something common, but many people wait too long to see an ENT. You should see an ENT if you have any of the following:
- Sinus problems
- Growths in your ears, nose, or throat
- Deviated septum
- Undesired appearance in the nose or face
- Cleft palate
- Drooping of the eyelids
- Hair loss
- Nasal congestion
- Problems with smell
- Voice or swallowing problems
- Sore throat
- Ear, nose, or throat birth defects
- Breathing problems
- Down syndrome
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.