When do you need an ENT specialist?

Archive, March, Month

Otolaryngologists address a wide range of symptoms.

Trouble swallowing, a persistent ringing in the ears and a chronically hoarse voice are all symptoms signaling it’s time to see a specialist.

Referred to as otolaryngologists, these physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat — the area of medicine known as otolaryngology.

With this highly complex, yet also highly delicate, part of the body, ENT specialists are uniquely trained in diagnosing the many conditions and afflictions. And they’re experienced in the many treatment options to address those conditions.

The seriousness and severity of these conditions can range, from chronic sinus infections, voice hoarseness and ear wax buildup to balance issues, nerve problems and even cancer.

When to see an ENT specialist

Common symptoms associated with those many conditions are:
  • Dizziness/Balance issues
  • Hearing loss
  • Persistent sinus pain
  • Frequent nasal congestion
  • Chronic sore throats
  • Tinnitus, a ringing in the ears
  • Hoarse and/or weak voice
  • Chronic nose bleeds
  • Issues swallowing
  • Snoring/Sleep apnea

Treatments for these conditions range as much as the conditions themselves — medication, medical devices or physical therapy to a minor procedure and even surgery.

Head and neck cancers

One of the rarer forms of cancer, head and neck cancers often occur within the sinuses, throat or mouth and can present as a sore or lump, one that will not heal or even trouble swallowing and voice changes.

Led by oncologists specializing in head and neck cancers, treatments can include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, or a combination of treatments.

Risk factors increasing the risk of developing one of these cancers are:

  • Tobacco/Marijuana usage
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sun exposure
  • Viral exposure (HPV and EBV)
  • Gender (men are more likely to develop this form of cancer)
  • Poor hygiene and nutrition
  • History of head and neck cancer