When it comes to our ears, nose, and throat, nothing is worse than not being able to use them properly to hear, smell, or taste. If you are suffering from ringing in the ears, pressure or pain in your face, or inflammation in your throat, you may need treatment from an ENT specialist.
Read on to find out what an ENT is, what kind of training they have, and when you should see one.
What Is An ENT & Do They Have Subspecialties?
Also known as an otolaryngologist, an ENT doctor specializes in the treatment of various diseases, conditions, and disorders that afflict your ears, throat, nose, and related structures including your neck and head.
If you have any type of conditions that impact your ears, nasal passageway, voice box/vocal cords, your sinuses, or even your oral cavity, you may be referred to an ENT.
For an individual to become an ENT doctor, they first must graduate from medical school and then complete a minimum of 5 years of specialty surgical training. Once this training is complete, they can take the certification examination to become a member of the American Board of Otolaryngology.
For those who choose to do a subspecialty, a further 1-2 years of training is required.
Common subspecialties include:
- Pediatric ENT
- Facial reconstruction surgery
- Head & neck surgery
- Sleep medicine
While not all ear, nose, and throat problems require an appointment with an ENT doctor, the most common reasons you should see one include any of the following.
1. You suffer from vertigo
If you feel like your body or the environment is constantly spinning, and you are dizzy, you may suffer from an illness that affects the inner ear. This can cause vertigo, or an imbalance in the inner ear that makes you feel dizzy all the time.
An ENT can help diagnose the problem and manage the symptoms.
2. You have swollen lymph nodes
Everyone has small lymph nodes in the neck that produce protein particles that help fight bacteria and viruses. If you have swollen lymph nodes or small lumps in your throat/neck that do not go away, a visit to an ENT is a good idea.
3. You have hearing issues
Things like ringing in the ear, hearing muffled sounds, hearing loss, and injury to the ear can all be addressed by an ENT.
4. Tonsil infections do not respond to medication
The tonsils are two important parts of our lymphatic system residing at the back of your throat on either side are critical in protecting you against infections. When your tonsils become infected you develop tonsillitis which requires medication to resolve. If you get recurrent infections every year or long-term infections, it is important to book an ENT appointment as complications can lead to middle ear infections, sleep apnea, and abscesses.
5. Repeated ear infections
While ear infections are commonly treated with medication, you may need an ENT if you contract a severe ear infection that causes the eardrum to burst. Repeated ear infections need to be looked at by an ENT to figure out the root cause and avoid complications.
6. Repeated inflammation in vocal cords
Inflammation of the vocal cords or laryngitis is often treated by your primary care physician unless it persists for longer than 6 weeks. An ENT is able to assess why the inflammation is going away and what is causing it by examining your vocal cords.
7. Chronic sinus infections
When mucus gets trapped in your sinuses, it can’t effectively drain, causing severe infection, pain, and facial pressure. If you have sinus pain from an infection that lasts longer than a few days, it is best to see an ENT doctor to find out what is causing the infection and get a treatment plan for the pain and congestion.
How to Book an ENT Appointment?
If you have recurring problems with your ears, nose, or throat and have a referral to see an ENT specialist, please give us a call to book an appointment. You can contact us by phone at (407) 677-0099 or fill out our contact form here.