Busy Otolaryngologists or ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctors see patients with a wide range of ailments, and are involved in many different kinds of clinical work. Here are five of the most common types of problems that ENT specialists deal with in a practice.
An ENT Can Help with Throat and Neck Issues
ENTs are often charged with diagnosing a sore throat or other problems with the throat and/or neck. A sore throat can be the result of impact, a localized infection, strep bacteria, certain types of cancers or other causes. ENTs have to help patients through a care plan that provides the right examination for diagnosis.
For example, often times an over-the-counter medication can clear up a sore throat pretty well. ENTs have to make complex decisions on how to move forward to diagnose and treat fairly broad symptoms, or deal with complex medical situations that seem to defy diagnosis.
The sinus area is one of the most mysterious and hard to reach areas of the body. ENTs often spend a lot of time trying to diagnose sinus issues, from the mildest sniffle to long-term and even life-threatening sinus-related problems — such as meningitis. Every patient is different. For instance, around 10% of patients have an extra sinus, which changes the makeup of the sinus cavity and can be a factor in diagnosis.
Audiology and Inner Ear Health
Another major role that ENTs play involves the ear. In a sense, ENTs follow patients through their entire life cycle, evaluating and diagnosing different types of ear issues. In pediatrics, the focus will often be on managing inner ear infections. It’s fairly routine for ENT doctors to prescribe medications or to refer patients for surgery for chronic infections such as otitis media, a common condition that, if left untreated, can end up perforating the eardrum. On the other hand, elderly patients, or those with particular health problems, tend to need help with audiology and hearing issues.
ENTs will often be involved in either collective or emergency surgeries related to the ear, nose, or throat area. Some will conduct tracheotomy for the purposes of maintaining airways. Others will pursue plastic surgeries such as rhinoplasty, or a surgery like septoplasty to correct a deviated septum.
Quality-of-life Diagnosis — Allergies and Sleep Issues
ENTs are often involved in the management of chronic conditions related to allergies. For example, a resource from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that any given year, over 10 million patients may visit doctors’ offices for allergic rhinitis, a condition where pollen or other allergens irritate the nasal lining. Many other patients will have sleep issues related to obstruction of air passing through the nose or throat. ENTs will generally help to provide both short-term and long-term advice on what to do about these types of breathing issues.
These are some of the more common things that ENT specialists can do for patients. If you have any questions about an ear, nose or throat condition, schedule a visit with Dr. Joshua P. Light. Get professional, attentive help from a qualified ENT doctor and get a treatment plan in place to handle any health issues that you may be dealing with.