What is Otolaryngology?

Otolaryngologist is a field of medical science which focuses on dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat problems. Another well-known term for this branch of medicine is otolaryngology head and neck surgery as otolaryngologists are trained to perform both medicinal and surgical treatments, if required. Since an otolaryngologist deals with ear, nose and throat problems, so the most common term that they are known by among patients and public is call ‘ENT’ which is short and easy to remember.

This specific branch medicine has been around all the way back since the 19th century, it was invente when doctors notice that there is an interconnected system in the neck and head, it begun with the invention of simple tools, made for studying and treating the problems of neck and head but later on it was made into a completely different brand of medicinal science.

Otolaryngology differs from other medical branches as otolaryngologists or ENT specialist are qualified enough and trained enough to perform different types of surgeries on the delicate head and neck tissues.

What does ENT Specialist Treat?

As we have discussed earlier, that ENT is a very vast field of medical science and unlike other physicians and specialists they do not treat a single type of disease or problem. Here are the problems that ENT specialists are train to tackle:

Ear Problems

Otolaryngologists are train to specifically deal in the treatment of all sorts of problems related to ears and hearing, these problems could be:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Ear Infections
  • Balance Disorders
  • Ear Noise (tinnitus)
  • Nerve Pain
  • Facial and Cranial Nerve Disorders

The treatment might include medicinal and surgical approach depending on the severity of the issue. Moreover, ENT doctors also treat congenital (outer and inner ear) disorders.

Nose Issues

Treating sinuses and nasal cavities is one of the primary duties of an ENT doctor. These issues could be:

  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Smell Disorders
  • Polyps
  • Nasal Obstructions

An ENT doctor deals in the diagnosis and treatment of all of the above mentioned nose problems. Moreover, some Otolaryngologists also perform ‘Rhinoplasty Surgery’ to reform or change the appearance of nose.

Throat Diseases

Otolaryngologists are also taught and trained to treat different types of throat diseases that may become serious if left unattended. These diseases could be:

  • Larynx
  • Upper Aero-digestive Tract
  • Esophagus
  • Voice Disorders
  • Swallowing Disorders

A common approach is to start with medicinal treatment after the diagnosis, however this approach may be change depending on the severity or condition of the diseases.

Head and Neck Issues 

Ent specialist are train to treat diseases of infectious diseases of different scales. This may include treatment of tumors of different scales, which could be:

  • Benign
  • Malignant(cancerous)

Other diseases that they may come across in the head and neck are:

  • Facial Trauma
  • Facial Deformities

These facial problems are dealt with using plastic cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Most Common ENT Problems

There are many different kinds of ENT disorders and diseases and an even wider range of characteristic symptoms, some of which are more common than the others. There is a common set of symptoms that patients may experience when affected with any of the diseases od ear, nose or throat area. However, it is not necessary that everyone experiences the same type of symptoms.

Therefore, we require ENT specialist doctors to timely diagnose and start the treatment to avoid further damage. Following are four of the most common ENT diseases:

Ear Infections

Ear diseases are the most common type of ENT disorders. In lay man term: ‘ear infections are occurred when germs or bacteria gets trapped in the inner ear are’. There is a tiny tube canal in our ear that drains unwanted germs and back to the throat, if that tube is too small or becomes clogged, then a person may experience some sort of ear disease.

Some of the most popular symptoms that a person infected with an ear disease are:

  • Ear Pain and Pressure
  • High Fever
  • Loss of Balance
  • Difficulty in Hearing
  • Experiencing Nausea and Vomiting
  • Discharge of Fluids from the Ear

Usually children and toddlers are the most common patient of ear diseases and it is considered the most common type of infection among children and toddlers.

It is important to know how to identify whether a toddler has an ear infection or not, since they cannot tell about it, so the symptoms for that are:

  • Pulling or Tugging on the Ears
  • Increased Uneasiness at Bedtime
  • Failure to Respond at Loud Noises or Responding to Their Name when Called
  • Eating or Drinking Disorders

Strep Throat Problem

Strep throat is the short for a medical term called ‘streptococci’ and it is a family of bacteria. When the surrounding structure of throat is infected with germs, then a person may experience a strep throat. Although strep throat is the most common throat infection, however there are other throat diseases that also have the same symptoms as following:

  • Sore Throat
  • Difficulty in Swallowing Food and Water
  • Expanded or Enlarged Tonsils
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • White Patches on the Back of Throat or Tonsils
  • High Fever
  • Severe Body Aches
  • Unnecessary Fatigue

Sinusitis Issue

If the germs multiply and go towards the four hollow recesses of skull, then we may experience sinusitis, which surround eyes and nose. This may cause:

  • Bacterial Trap
  • Inflammation
  • Pressure on the Eyes
  • Excessive Pain

Sinusitis is a common type of common cold, therefore, people are more likely to get infected by it, especially during the winter season. Chronic sinusitis occurs when an allergy is left untreated for more than 12 weeks. The symptoms of that may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry or Harsh Cough
  • Nasal Fluid Discharge
  • High Fever
  • Fatigue in Whole Body
  • Severe Toothache

Sleep Apnea Disease

Apnea is the medical term for being unable to breath, and sleep apnea means to the loss of breath during sleep for a short time. The symptoms for it may include:

  • Frequently waking up in the middle of the night
  • Being unrefreshed upon awakening
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Having a dry or sore throat when waking up
  • Headaches in the morning

Usually sleep apnea occurs in 4 and 2 percent middle aged men and women respectively, especially among obese individuals. If not treated in time sleeping apnea can cause severe health problems like high blood pressure.

So that was all on ENT diseases and doctors. We hope that it was helpful and assisted to in understanding the problems faced by Ent specialists and what might be the symptoms for that.