Health Care Providers: Otolaryngologists
What Is Otolaryngology?
Otolaryngology (oh-toh-lar-un-GAHL-uh-jee) is the medical specialty that deals with diseases and problems of the ear, nose, and throat.
What Is an Otolaryngologist?
An otolaryngologist (oh-toh-lar-un-GAHL-uh-jist), often called an ENT, is a doctor who studies, diagnoses, prevents, and treats diseases and conditions of the ear, nose, and throat.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Otolaryngologists care for people with ear, nose, and throat problems such as:
- ear injuries
- eardrum problems
- ear infections
- objects stuck in ears or the nose
- hearing loss
- infected/enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- noisy breathing and stridor
- sinus/nasal problems
- aspiration (inhaling food or objects into the airway or lungs)
- auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD)
- balance and dizziness disorders
- feeding and/or swallowing problems
- sleep apnea
- head and neck growths (masses, tumors, or cysts)
- voice disorders
They do medical tests and procedures such as:
- cochlear implants
- sinus surgery
- snoring/sleep disorder surgery
- tympanoplasty (eardrum repair)
- tympanostomy (ear tube surgery)
What Is Their Training?
An otolaryngologist’s training includes:
- 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
- 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
- 5 years of residency training, including:
- 1 year of training in a general surgery residency
- 4 years of training in an otolaryngology residency
They also might have:
- expertise in a subspecialty area (for example, pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck, or plastic/reconstruction) after 2 years or more in a fellowship program. A “fellow” is a doctor who had more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.
Good to Know
- ENTs often work with allergy specialists to treat problems in the ears, nose, sinuses, and throat caused by allergies.
- Advancements in robotic and laser surgery have made ENT procedures to the head and neck less invasive.