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An otolaryngologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. They’re also known as an ENT doctor. Otolaryngologists are also surgeons, which means they perform operations to help people treat conditions such as hearing loss, tinnitus, obstructive sleep apnea, and more.
What conditions do otolaryngologists treat?
ENT doctors treat several different medical conditions, including:
What procedures do otolaryngologists perform?
The types of procedures an otolaryngologist performs can depend on their specialty. Typically, these specialists spend several years training in a subspecialty, including:
Some of the procedures performed within these subspecialties include:
When should I go to an otolaryngologist?
There are many reasons you might want to visit an ENT specialist, including:
You can ask your primary care physician to refer you to an ENT specialist if you’re experiencing persistent or severe pain or discomfort of the ear, nose, and throat.
What can I expect from my first otolaryngologist appointment?
Usually, your first visit to an ENT specialist starts with a referral made by your primary care physician. Once at your ENT appointment, you can expect the doctor to ask you questions about your medical history and any symptoms you’re experiencing.
Typically, your ENT doctor will conduct a physical exam that includes palpating the neck, or examining the neck by touch. They’ll also take a quick look at your ears, mouth, and nose with special instruments. In addition, your ENT doctor may recommend a nasal endoscope, which is a noninvasive procedure that takes a closer look at your sinuses.
What questions should I ask my otolaryngologist?
It’s important that you prepare for your appointment with an ENT doctor. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of good questions to ask your doctor:
You can use these questions as a starting point, but feel free to add your own. A good practice is to also ask for additional information and take notes during your appointment.