Otolaryngologists are physicians who specialize in medicine, surgery and treatment of the ear, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck.
These specialists differ from many physicians in that they are trained in both medicine and surgery. Otolaryngologists complete up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training before becoming board certified and beginning practice. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians, which stands for Ear, Nose, Throat.
Otolaryngologists are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing loss, ear infections, ear noise (tinnitus), and some cranial nerve disorders. Otolaryngologists also manage congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.
Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of otolaryngologists. A few of the problems in the nasal area include allergies, sinus issues, polyps, and nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum.
Communicating (speech and singing) and eating a meal all involve the throat. Otolaryngologists manage diseases of the throat, larynx, and the esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders.
The Head and Neck
This area of the body includes the important functions of sight, smell, hearing, and the appearance of the face. In the head and neck area, otolaryngologists are trained to treat infections, benign and malignant tumors, facial trauma, and deformities of the face. They may also perform both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.