Doctors who specialize in ear, nose and throat disorders are called otolaryngologists (or simply ENT doctors for those who have trouble with seven-syllable words). You’ve probably heard of them – but do you know when to see one?
The Field of Otolaryngology
Otolaryngology is a medical specialty that focuses on diseases of the ears, nose and throat. ENT doctors manage and treat disorders that affect the following:
- Ear disorders such as ear infections, hearing impairment, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness or balance disorders.
- Conditions that affect the nose, nasal cavities and sinuses, specifically those that interfere with smell and breathing.
- Throat problems centering on speech, eating, swallowing and digestion.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Many ENT doctors specialize in very narrow areas such as head and neck cancers, thyroid disorders, sleep disorders, and facial plastic surgery, while others take a broader approach.
When Should I Make an Appointment?
Otolaryngologists diagnose, manage and treat pretty much any symptom involving the ears, nose, throat, head or neck. West Chester residents experiencing any of the following should contact an ENT doctor for an appointment:
- Hearing loss
- Dizziness, vertigo, balance problems
- Ear infection
- Tonsil or adenoid infection
- Swimmer’s ear
- Pain in the ears, nose or throat
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Breathing problems
- Sinus infections
- Tumors of the ears, nose, throat, head or neck
- Deviated septum
- Undesirable facial or nose appearance
- Nasal congestion
- Inability to smell or taste
- Voice or swallowing problems
- Sore throat or hoarseness
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Sleep apnea
- Down syndrome
You can always visit your primary care physician initially; they may be able to provide relief from some of these issues. But more likely than not, an ear, nose and throat specialist will be the best person qualified to give you the care you need and offer a long-term solution. Don’t hesitate to contact your West Chester ENT doctor to schedule an appointment!