About the ENT doctor

An otolaryngologist is a doctor as well as a surgeon. They specialize in the condition of the throat, nose and ears. Another name for an otolaryngologist is an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, or ENT for short.

Otolaryngology is one of the oldest medical specialties in the United States. It started in 1896. This article will explain in detail what an otolaryngologist does and when to visit.

Reasons to see an ENT doctor

Usually, your primary care provider can manage minor or short-term illnesses that affect the ears, nose, and throat. However, if you have serious or long-term problems that require a specialist, they may refer you to an otolaryngologist.

You may need to see an otolaryngologist if you have:

  • Recurrent sinus, ear, or throat infections
  • Common problems with sinus pressure or a runny nose
  • persistent sleep problems
  • persistent dizziness
  • new or worsening hearing problems
  • Clear throat, hoarseness, or wheezing that doesn’t go away
  • swallowing problems
  • a new or worsening lump in the throat or face that doesn’t go away

Ear Nose and Throat Surgery

You may need ENT surgery on your head or neck. An otolaryngologist can perform reconstructive or plastic surgery, as well as other types of surgery. You may have surgery in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.

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treatment condition

Otolaryngologists treat a variety of ear, nose, and throat conditions, including:

  • allergy
  • Sinus, throat and ear infections
  • hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (tinnitus)
  • Dizziness or vertigo (feeling the world spin around you)
  • facial deformity or injury
  • thyroid problems
  • swallowing problems
  • vocal cord problems
  • Tumors affecting the ears, nose, and throat
  • laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (the backflow of stomach acid from the esophagus into the pharynx or upper pharynx)
  • sleep apnea (breathing stops and restarts during sleep) and other sleep problems

Special Types of ENT Doctors

You may need to see a special type of otolaryngologist, such as:

  • Rhinologist: A doctor who specializes in diseases that affect the nose, including the sinuses
  • Laryngologist: A doctor who specializes in diseases that affect the throat, including swallowing and speaking
  • Otologist/Neurologist: A doctor who specializes in disorders that affect the ear, including hearing and balance
  • Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon: A doctor who performs surgery to enhance the appearance or function of the face
  • Head and neck surgeon: a doctor who specializes in the surgical treatment of ear, nose and throat cancer

ENT doctor background

To become an otolaryngologist, a person must complete:

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  • University for four years
  • four-year medical school
  • Five-year residency program specializing in ENT
  • Examination of the American Board of Otolaryngology

where to find an otolaryngologist

The easiest way to find an ENT doctor is to ask your primary care provider for a referral. You may also want to find an otolaryngologist in your area by checking out the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

ENT health otolaryngologist advice

An otolaryngologist wants your ears, nose and throat to stay healthy. Consider the following tips for promoting ENT health:

  • Avoid or stop smoking.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough.
  • Wash your hands frequently to prevent infection.
  • Keep your sinuses clean with a saline nasal spray.
  • Recognize and receive allergy treatment.
  • If the air quality is poor, limit going out.
  • maintain a healthy weight.


An otolaryngologist or otolaryngologist is a doctor and surgeon who specializes in treating the ears, nose, and throat. If you have a serious or long-term medical condition that your primary care provider can’t handle, you may need to see an otolaryngologist.

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Seeing a specialist, such as an otolaryngologist, can help you get answers to your questions and find better treatment options. Discuss seeing an ENT with your primary healthcare provider. Consider getting multiple referrals and make sure your insurance covers the visit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should you see a GP or an ENT doctor for allergies?

    If your allergies are recurrent or chronic (lasting for a long time), you may need to see an otolaryngologist.

  • Do ENT doctors use integrative medicine?

    Some otolaryngologists use integrative medicine, such as massage therapy or herbal medicine, in their practice. You need to consult with each ENT doctor to determine if integrative medicine is part of their practice.

  • Can you make an appointment with an otolaryngologist without a referral?

    You can make an appointment with an ENT doctor without a referral. Some clinics and practices do not require referral. However, your insurance company may not cover unrecommended visits.

  • How to find out if your insurance covers ENT surgery?

    The best way to determine if your insurance covers ENT surgery is to ask your insurance company directly. Consider checking their website or calling them. Insurance providers should have a database of ENT surgeons and procedures that are part of your coverage.