General otolaryngology is the area of medicine that deals with the conditions of the ear, nose and throat (ENT) region, and related areas of the head and neck. There are seven areas of expertise in the field of otolaryngology:
- Allergic Reactions: The treatment by medication for the avoidance of pollen, dust, mold, food, and other sensitivities that affect the ear, nose, and throat.
- Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: The treatment of a deviated septum, rhinoplasty (nose job), face lift, cleft palate, drooping eyelids and other ear deformities.
- Laryngology: This refers to disorders such as a sore throat, hoarseness, swallowing disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infections and tumors.
- Otology/Neurotology:This refers to the diseases of the ear, including trauma (injury), infection, benign tumors and nerve pathway disorders which affect hearing and balance.
- Pediatric Otolaryngology: This relates to diseases in children with special ENT problems including birth defects of the head and neck and developmental delays.
- Rhinology: Disorders of the nose and sinuses and treatment of sinus disorder, a nose bleed, a stuffy nose, loss of smell, polyps and tumours.
- Head and Neck: cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the head and neck (nose/sinuses, mouth, throat, voice box and upper esophagus), including the thyroid and parathyroid.
The ENT (ear, nose and throat surgeon) surgeon differs from many other physicians in that they are trained in both medicine and surgery. ENT surgeons do not need to refer patients to other physicians when ear, nose, throat, or head/neck surgery is needed and can offer the most personalised care for each individual patient.
An ENT specialist also treats many common conditions like ear wax impaction, ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). ENT specialists are experts in treating sore throats, loss of voice, and any problems related to the nose. This applies to both adults and children.
At the outset, you will see your family doctor for most of these problems, and if you are not getting any better, your family doctor will refer you on for further evaluation and management of the problem.