What is an ENT doctor?
An ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) is a physician trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose throat, and related structures of the head and neck. They have special expertise in managing diseases of the ears, nose and nasal passage sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. ENT is the oldest medical specialty in the United States.
Diseases of the Ear
Otitis Externa (Swimmer's Ear)
- Using q-tips or any other object that may damage the lining of your ear canal allowing bacteria to reside inside
- Excess moisture stagnant inside of the ear
Causes: Most often is a result of another illness that causes swelling of the nasal passages.
Perforation of the Ear
The most common causes include an ear infection and poking the eardrum with a foreigh object, mainly a q-tip.
Symptoms include: dizziness, changes in your hearing, fluid draining from the ear or tinnitus.
In most cases, treatment is not necessary, as a ruptured eardrum typically heals within a three month period. Although, if an ear infection is present, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics to treat the existing condition.
Treatment options include hearing aids and/or surgery that allows the bones of the ear freely vibrate.
Symptoms include an aching pain behind the ear, hearing loss, and vertigo. In most cases, surgery is the recommended treatment.
Treatment options differ, but may include prescriptions, injections, dietary changes and surgery.
Persistent Ear Noise (Tinnitus)
Treatments will differ depending on the severity. These may include hearing aids, medications, counseling and cochlear implants.
Symptoms may include stuffy or runny nose, cough, congestion, loss of smell, fever, bad breath, fatigue, or pus in nasal cavity.
Acute & Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic –Usually a malfunction, caused by fungal antigens, of the immune system.
Symptoms may include asthma, loss of smell, postnasal drip, pain in your ears, sinus headaches, sore throat, exhaustion, and halitosis.
- Nasal Steroid Sprays
- Oral and Nasal Decongestants
- Oral and Injectable Steroids
- Balloon Sinuplasty (outpatient and in office)
Some of the most common symptoms include: nasal congestion, headaches, nosebleeds, facial pain, postnasal drip, and loud breathing during sleep. Some cases may also cause sleep apnea and/or chronic sinus infections.
Treatments may include rhinoplasty (nose job), sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty.
Tonsillitis and Adenoiditis
Symptoms may include bacterial infections, viral infections, most commonly Streptococcus. Other symptoms include pain or tenderness in the throat, red tonsils, headache, ear pain, difficulty swallowing, swollen glands and bad breath.
If caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. In the event of a viral infection, treatment may include getting enough rest, using a vaporizer, gargle with warm salt water and lozenges.
If tonsillitis is recurrent, surgery may be required to remove the tonsils.
Pharyngitis (sore throat)
Symptoms: fever, sore throat, pain when swallowing, lymph node swelling
More serious symptoms: loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, and nausea
Treatment: A bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. For viral infections, rest, drinking warm fluids, throat lozenges, and gargling warm salt water can help.
Types: Acute laryngitis is a temporary condition that may be caused by viral or bacterial infections, overuse, straining the vocal cords, or drinking too much alcohol.
Chronic laryngitis is usually more severe and has long-lasting effects. It may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), frequent sinus infections, smoking, etc.
Prevention: wash hands to avoid catching a cold, avoid smoking, distance yourself from those who do smoke, avoid excessive clearing your throat, avoid foods that may cause heartburn, and limit your alcohol intake.
Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
Symptoms: Difficulty chewing, food residue in mouth after swallowing, regularly coughing or clearing throat, loss of fluids out of the mouth, holding food in mouth and initiating a swallow
Vocal Cord Paralysis
Symptoms: vocal fatigue, pain while speaking, hoarseness, reduction in vocal volume, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and shortness of breath
Causes: Dietary factors (high fat diet, smoking, dinner before bed, obesity), stress, consistent alcohol consumption, family history
Symptoms: heartburn, regurgitation, bloating, nausea, stomach pain, gas, asthma, trouble swallowing, sore throat, excessive cough (dry cough), sudden increase in saliva/bad breath, ear aches
While most of the common forms of oral lesions do not require you to seek medical attention, they can be painful and sometimes embarassing. Available treatments include prescription medication, ointments and even some home remedies.
Symptoms include: changes in your voice, swallowing becomes difficult (dysphagia), cough or shortness of breath, weightloss, a feeling as if there is a lump in your throat and halitosis.
Treatments include: radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, chemoprevention.
Symptoms include: difficulty moving tongue side to side or difficulty in sticking out the tongue past the teeth.
The condition often resolves itself but more severe cases may be treated with surgery.
Smell and Taste Disorders
- Anosmia is an inability to smell.
- Hyposmia is a reduced ability to smell and to detect odors.
- Hyperosmia is an increased ability to smell.
- Dysosmia is difficulty identifying smells. There are three types:
- Parosmia is an distorted recognition of smell in the presence of an odor.
- Phantosmia is the awareness of smell without an odor present
- Agnosia is the inability to identify odors, although able to detect odors.
- Ageusia is the inability to taste.
- Hypogeusia is a reduced ability to taste.
- Dysgeusia is a distorted ability to taste.
Salivary Gland Disorders
Disorders include: sialadenitis, sialothisiasis, sialectasis, and sialadenosis.
Causes may be due to infection, inflammation, obstruction or tumors.