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What is Otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology (pronounced oh/toe/lair/in/goll/oh/jee) is the branch of medicine that focuses on the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT). It is the oldest medical and surgical specialty in the United States.

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What is an Otolaryngologist?

An otolaryngologist is a physician that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Otolaryngologists are also referred to as ENT physicians. The following are some of the medical and surgical treatments performed by otolaryngologists:

  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hoarseness
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Allergies
  • Removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Placement of ventilation tubes
  • Repair eardrums
  • Removal of facial skin cancers
  • Treatment of cancer of the salivary glands, thyroid gland, mouth, and throat

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What areas of expertise do otolaryngologist cover?

  • Otology/Neurotology: diseases of the ear, including trauma (injury), cancer, and nerve pathway disorders, which affect hearing and balance.
    Examples: ear infection; swimmer's ear; hearing loss; ear, face, or neck pain; dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus).


  • Pediatric Otolaryngology: diseases in children with special ENT problems including birth defects in the head and neck and developmental delays.
    Examples: ear infection (otitis media), tonsil and adenoid infection, airway problems, Down’s syndrome, asthma and allergy/sinus disease.


  • Head and Neck: cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the head and neck, including the thyroid and parathyroid.
    Examples: lump in the neck or thyroid, cancer of the voice box.


  • Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive surgical treatment of abnormalities of the face and neck.
    Examples: deviated septum, rhinoplasty (nose), face lift, cleft palate, drooping eyelids, hair loss.


  • Rhinology: disorders of the nose and sinuses.
    Examples: sinus disorder, nose bleed, stuffy nose, loss of smell.


  • Laryngology: disorders of the throat, including voice and swallowing problems.
    Examples: sore throat, hoarseness, swallowing disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


  • Allergy: treatment by medication, immunotherapy (allergy shots) and/or avoidance of pollen, dust, mold, food, and other sensitivities that affect the ear, nose, and throat.
    Examples: hay fever, seasonal and perennial rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, laryngitis, sore throat, otitis media, dizziness.<
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