What Is an Otolaryngologist? What They Do, the Situations They Deal with, and When to See One


An otolaryngologist is a health care provider who makes a speciality of issues of the pinnacle and neck. Otolaryngology is a shortened type of the time period otorhinolaryngology, which comes from Greek phrases for ear (oto), nostril (rhino), and throat (laryn).

Otolaryngologists used to focus solely on issues of the ear, nostril, and throat. You should still hear them referred to as an ENT (ear, nostril, and throat) or ENT medical doctors. During the last 50 years, the specialty has expanded to incorporate all constructions of the pinnacle and neck aside from the eyes and mind.

What Does an Otolaryngologist Do?

An otolaryngologist performs examinations, usually utilizing specialised gear, to diagnose issues and illnesses of the pinnacle and neck. Relying in your signs, they might order further testing akin to bloodwork, a sleep research, or a swallow research. They’ll additionally do complete listening to, steadiness, or allergy testing at their workplace.

They’re each medical doctors and surgeons, to allow them to present remedy by prescribing medication or performing a process or surgical procedure.

Training and Coaching

Otolaryngologists are extremely specialised. Their training takes a minimum of 13 years and contains: 

  • Bachelor’s diploma (4 years)
  • Medical college (4 years)
  • Specialty coaching (a minimum of 5 years)
  • Each written and oral examinations to change into board licensed

What Situations Does an Otolaryngologist Deal with?

Otolaryngologists present remedy for benign tumors and cancers of the pinnacle and neck, aside from eye and mind cancers. They deal with tonsil and adenoid issues, continual reflux (abdomen acid flowing into your esophagus), and issues associated to thyroid, nerve, voice, swallowing, and sleep. They carry out reconstructive cosmetic surgery after facial harm or surgical procedure and beauty plastic surgical procedures of the face and neck. A few of the extra widespread issues they deal with are:

Listening to loss

Otolaryngologists diagnose listening to loss and supply remedy or symptom administration. In-office procedures embody eradicating ear wax blockages and prescribing and sustaining listening to aids. Otolaryngologists carry out surgical procedures akin to stapedectomy, the elimination of a small bone within the ear if it isn’t working correctly, and the location of cochlear implants, digital gadgets that assist you to hear.

Stability issues
Some steadiness points consequence from issues inside your ear. An otolaryngologist does checks to seek out the reason for the issue and gives remedy. They’ll additionally refer you to a vestibular therapist, who can assist enhance your signs.

Ear infections

Many ear infections get higher on their very own inside 72 hours. An otolaryngologist can prescribe antibiotics for infections that don’t clear rapidly. If fluid in your center ear is inflicting frequent ear infections or listening to loss, they might carry out a painless surgical procedure to put tiny ear tubes in your eardrums. This permits fluid to empty out of your ears, lowering the variety of ear infections and restoring listening to.


This symptom is a response out of your mind to adjustments like ear or sinus infections. Tinnitus is normally described as ringing within the ears however may also sound like buzzing, roaring, or clicking. An otolaryngologist works to uncover the reason for the tinnitus and deal with it or present administration methods and gadgets.

Nostril and Sinus Issues

Lack of scent may end up from numerous issues akin to sinusitis, polyps (irregular tissue development), and allergy symptoms. Sinusitis is a continual illness that causes hassle respiration by means of your nostril, drainage, and frequent sinus infections. An otolaryngologist will prescribe medicines that may assist. If the issue persists, they will do endoscopic sinus surgical procedure to take away blockages. 

Polyps are small, noncancerous growths contained in the nostril or sinuses that may block airways and maintain your sinuses from draining. An otolaryngologist could surgically take away polyps and maintain watch to assist forestall their return. Allergic reactions can play an enormous position in issues along with your nostril and sinuses. Otolaryngologists present allergy testing and prescribe oral medicines or allergy pictures if wanted.

Causes to See an Otolaryngologist

You’ll typically see your major care physician first and be referred to an otolaryngologist. Test along with your insurance coverage supplier about going on to an otolaryngologist should you or your little one have any of the next signs:

  • Frequent ear or tonsil infections
  • Sudden listening to loss
  • Hoarseness that lasts longer than two weeks
  • Power sore throat or cough
  • A lump on the neck

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