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When Should You See an ENT Doctor?

an ENT doctor feeling his patient's throat for lumps

Most of the time, people bypass seeing an ENT when they have a sore throat or blocked ears, as these things should pass over time. The thing is, there are some situations where earache, sore throat and sinus issues require a closer look. This is where an ENT doctor will step in to help. This is a doctor who can specifically look into your ear, nose or throat condition and diagnose the condition properly.

What is an ENT doctor?

The specialty that focuses on the conditions of the ear, nose and throat is known as otolaryngology. ENT doctors receive training that focuses on the illnesses of these areas of the body. Doctors who are board certified have usually completed eight years of education before their residency. Residency lasts for five years, and then they must pass their American Board of Otolaryngology exams.

An ENT can provide surgical treatment and medical treatment for a range of conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat area, with medicine always attempted before surgery is approached. ENT doctors are experts in their field, with some undergoing further training in the form of a fellowship after they qualify with their boards. 

When should you see an ENT doctor?

When you speak to your regular physician about an issue that you are dealing with in the ear, nose and throat area, they will refer you to an ENT doctor who can help you in more detail. You can use a doctor that you choose, or select your own who can help. The best thing that you can do if you are dealing with ongoing symptoms is to speak to an ENT directly. Sinus issues, for example, usually clear up on their own, but if they are lingering you should get the help of someone who knows what they’re talking about.

There are some cases whereby symptoms that you are dealing with may require specialist care. For example, sore throats that are caused by post-nasal drip needs an expert eye cast over it. Conditions such as gastrointestinal reflux are also those that need specialist help. ENT doctors can do a better job at working out the causes than other doctors. They can also identify any issues in the throat regarding tumors and lumps, and if you have any of the following symptoms that are persistent, you should consider seeing an ENT for more in-depth care:

  • Persistent ringing in your ears
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Hoarseness
  • Pain above and below your eyes
  • Frequent headaches

Will I need surgery?

In most cases, an ENT doctor is always going to assess you first, then diagnose and treat. Your assessment will be the time you can ask whether surgery is in your future and it will depend on the issues that you are dealing with. There’s no need to panic, though! ENT doctors are more than qualified to decide whether you need surgery or not for your ear, nose or throat condition.