About ENT (Ear Nose Throat) Speciality

An ear nose and throat doctor (ENT specialist) is a medical professional who manages diseases of the ears, nose and nasal passage sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. Other than all these areas, an ENT specialist is also trained to treat tumours (both benign and cancerous), infectious diseases, deformities of the face and facial trauma. The ENT specialists perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgeries. An ENT specialist may work with a team of doctors in other medical and surgical specialties.

A well-trained ear nose and throat doctor has a profound knowledge of all of the physical structures and organs in the neck and head region. Routinely, all ENT specialists handle ear-aches, hearing loss, hoarseness, dizziness, adenoidectomies, and sinus disease and tonsillectomies nosebleeds.

An ENT specialist is a trained medical professional who diagnoses and treats diseases related to ear, nose and throat in men, women and children. Hearing loss, ear infection, dizziness, sinusitis, tinnitus, tonsillitis, swallowing disorders, hay fever, seasonal rhinitis, cleft palate, cleft lip, deviated septum, drooping eyelids, loss of smell, sleep disorders and speech disorders are some of the medical conditions that an ENT specialist provides treatment for. 

In order to become a certified ENT doctor, one must complete graduation from a medical college followed by 4-year medical program, at least 5 years of specialty training and a 1- to 2-year residency program. After that, ENT specialists may pursue a one- or two- year fellowship for extensive training and examinations in a subspecialty area which includes allergy, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, head and neck surgery, laryngology, otology/audiology, paediatric otolaryngology, rhinology, neurotology and sleep medicine.

When to see an ENT specialist?

Following are some medical conditions which require professional services of an ENT specialist:

  • Injury to your ears, nose, or throat
  • Nerve problems in your ears, nose, or throat
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing impairment
Ear infection
  • Tonsil or adenoid infection
  • Swimmer's ear
  • Pain in your ears, nose, or throat
  • Tinnitus
  • Ear, nose, or throat birth defects
  • Breathing problems
  • Sinus problem
  • Growth or tumour in your ears, nose, or throat
  • Deviated septum
  • Undesired appearance of the nose or face
  • Cleft palate
  • Drooping of the eyelids
  • Nose bleeds
Nasal congestion
  • Problems with smell
  • Voice or swallowing problems
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness

List of ear diseases treated by an ENT specialist 

Hearing loss

Hearing loss is an ear disorder in which sound signals do not reach the brain. Aging and chronic exposure to loud noises are significant factors that contribute to hearing loss. Conductive and sensorineural are two forms of hearing loss. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of hearing loss.

Symptoms of hearing loss
Symptoms include muffling of speech and other sounds, difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise, trouble hearing consonants, frequently asking others to speak more slowly, needing to turn up the volume of the television, withdrawal from conversations and avoidance of some social settings. 

Treatment of hearing loss
An ENT specialist may suggest removing wax blockage, surgical procedures that require the insertion of small tubes that help the ears drain, hearing aids and cochlear implants for the treatment of hearing loss.

Swimmer's ear (Otitis Externa)

Swimmer's ear (Otitis Externa) is an infection in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. It occurs when bacteria or fungus grows in your ear canal, especially after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of swimmer's ear.

Symptoms of Swimmer's ear (Otitis Externa)
Symptoms include Itching in your ear canal, increasing pain, extensive redness in your ear, excessive fluid drainage, discharge of pus, feeling of fullness inside your ear and partial blockage of your ear canal and decreased or muffled hearing.

Treatment of Swimmer's ear (Otitis Externa)
An ENT specialist may suggest acidic solution to restore your ear's normal antibacterial environment, steroid to reduce inflammation, antibiotic to fight bacteria, antifungal medication to fight an infection caused by a fungus. Additionally, he may prescribe pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or acetaminophen to ease the discomfort of swimmer's ear.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus refers to as ringing in the ears which may a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of tinnitus.

Symptoms of Tinnitus
Symptoms include sounds of ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing in one or both the ears. 

Treatment of Tinnitus
Drugs cannot cure tinnitus but an ENT specialist may prescribe amitriptyline, nortriptyline or alprazolam to help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Additionally, he mat retort to white noise machines, hearing aids, masking devices or tinnitus retraining.

Meniere's disease

Meniere's disease is a disease of the inner ear which can cause vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of pressure deep inside the ear. This disease can occur at any age and usually affects only one ear. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of Meniere's disease.

Symptoms of Meniere's disease
Symptoms include spinning sensation that starts and stops spontaneously, permanent hearing loss, whistling or hissing sound in your ear or pressure in the affected ears.

Treatment of Meniere's disease
An ENT specialist may prescribe medications to take during a vertigo episode to lessen the severity of an attack including motion sickness medications, such as meclizine or diazepam and anti-nausea medications, such as promethazine. 

Vertigo

Vertigo refers to a feeling of a sense that your environment around you, is moving or spinning. It is generally caused by problems in the brain or inner ear, including sudden head movements, inflammation within the inner ear due to a viral or bacterial inner ear infection. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of vertigo.

Symptoms of Vertigo
Symptoms include loss of balance - which can make it difficult to stand or walk, feeling sick or being sick and dizziness.

Treatment of Vertigo
An ENT specialist may prescribe medications such as prochlorperazine and some antihistamines that can help in the early stages or most cases of vertigo. In addition, people with vertigo may get relief from vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT). 

Otitis media

Otitis media refers to a bacterial or viral ear infection that affects the middle ear. It occurs when the area behind the eardrum called the middle ear becomes inflamed. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of Otitis media.

Symptoms of Otitis media in children
Symptoms include ear pain, especially when lying down, pulling at an ear, difficulty sleeping, crying more than usual, acting more irritable than usual, difficulty hearing or responding to sounds, loss of balance, high fever, drainage of fluid from the ear etc.

Symptoms of Otitis media in adults
Symptoms include ear pain, drainage of fluid from the ear and diminished hearing.

Treatment of Otitis media
An ENT specialist may place a warm, moist washcloth over the affected ear to lessen pain. Further, he may prescribe over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain. For recurring Otitis media, an ENT doctor may perform a procedure to drain fluid from the middle ear.

Ruptured eardrum

A ruptured eardrum is a small hole or tear in your eardrum or tympanic membrane. It can lead to hearing loss. Ear infections, pressure changes, and injury can cause an eardrum to perforate. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of ruptured eardrum.

Symptoms of ruptured eardrum
Symptoms include ear pain that may subside quickly, pus-filled or bloody drainage from your ear, hearing loss, ringing in your ear, spinning sensation, nausea or vomiting that can result from vertigo. 

Treatment of ruptured eardrum
An ENT doctor may seal the tear or hole in your eardrum with a patch. If this patch doesn't result in proper healing, he may recommend a surgical procedure called tympanoplasty to close the hole in the eardrum. 

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the part of the inner ear that helps control your balance called labyrinth. This swelling is normally caused by cold or flu viruses spreading to the ear. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of labyrinthitis.

Symptoms of Labyrinthitis
Symptoms include pain in the ears, fever, sight problems, dizziness, vertigo, hearing problems, and neck pain. 

Treatment of Labyrinthitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics if labyrinthitis is caused due to a bacterial infection. For worsening symptoms, he may order a course of benzodiazepine medicine that reduces activity in the central nervous system. In addition, antiemetic drugs may be prescribed for nausea, vomiting and vertigo symptoms.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead. It is generally caused by a viral infection. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of sinusitis.

Symptoms of Sinusitis
Symptoms include a green or yellow discharge from your nose, blocked nose, pain and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead, sinus headache, high fever, toothache, reduced sense of smell and bad breath. 

Treatment of Sinusitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, nasal decongestants, using warm packs to your face and cleaning the inside of your nose with a saline solution in order to treat sinusitis.

Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma is a benign skin growth that can develop in the middle section of your ear, behind the eardrum. Relapsing infections and poorly functioning Eustachian tube are major factors behind Cholesteatoma. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of cholesteatoma.

Symptoms of cholesteatoma
Symptoms include a foul-smelling fluid from the affected ear, pressure in your ear causing discomfort, aching pain in or behind your ear, hearing loss etc. 

Treatment of cholesteatoma
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics, ear drops, and careful cleaning of the ear to treat the infected cyst, reduce inflammation, and drain the ear. Additionally, surgery is performed to remove the cyst. 

Mastoiditis

Mastoiditis is potentially a life-threatening bacterial infection that affects the mastoid bone behind the ear. It's more common in children. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of mastoiditis.

Symptoms of mastoiditis
Symptoms include tenderness and pain behind the ear, swelling behind the ear that can cause it to stick out, discharge from the ear, a high temperature, headache and hearing loss in the affected ear. 

Treatment of mastoiditis
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics that can be given directly into a vein through a drip. Additionally, surgical procedures such as drain the middle ear (myringotomy) or remove part of the mastoid bone (mastoidectomy) may be performed for the treatment of mastoiditis.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is an ENT disease which refers to sensory loss involving the inner ear and neural loss involving the hearing nerve. It can be acquired or congenital. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of sensorineural hearing loss.

Symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss
Symptoms include difficulty understanding, even when speech seems loud enough and difficulty locating sounds or hearing in background noise.

Treatment of sensorineural hearing loss
An ENT doctor may recommend hearing aids which can help most people with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. However, in severe cases, a cochlear implant may be surgically implanted so that it bypasses the damaged inner part of the ear to stimulate the hearing nerve directly. 

Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that causes hearing loss. It is one of the most common causes of progressive deafness in young adults. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of otosclerosis.

Symptoms of otosclerosis
Symptoms include hearing loss (slow at first, but gets worse over time), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vertigo or dizziness.

Treatment of otosclerosis
An ENT doctor may recommend hearing aids which can treat the hearing loss. But it will not prevent hearing loss. Surgical options to remove part of the ear and replace it with prosthesis include stapedectomy and stapedotomy. 

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is an inner ear problem which causes sudden sensation that you're spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Symptoms of Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
Symptoms include dizziness, sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving, loss of balance or unsteadiness, nausea and vomiting.

Treatment of Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
An ENT doctor may treat patients with series of movements known as the canalith repositioning procedure. If this form of treatment is not effective, he may suggest a surgical procedure in which a bone plug is used to block the portion of your inner ear that's causing dizziness.

Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss affects the passage of sound between the ear drum and the inner ear. It may be caused by ear infection, malformation of outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear structures etc. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of conductive hearing loss.

Symptoms of conductive hearing loss
Symptoms include sounds are generally quieter but not distorted, trouble hearing when you're on the phone, pressure or blockage in the ear, as well as pain.

Treatment of conductive hearing loss
An ENT doctor may suggest a hearing aid for most people with conductive hearing loss. In addition, he may recommend BAHA bone conduction implants which converts sound to vibrations that are sent to the inner ear through the bone, bypassing any blockage in the outer or middle ear. 

Cauliflower ear

Cauliflower ear refers to a distortion of the ear caused by trauma or injury like what may happen in a boxing or wrestling match. The injury results in a bumpy appearance on part of the ear, similar to a cauliflower. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of conductive cauliflower ear.

Symptoms of cauliflower ear
Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, deformity of the curvature of the ear, loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), headaches, blurred vision, facial swelling and severe bleeding. 

Treatment of cauliflower ear
An ENT doctor may suggest making a small incision and draining accumulating blood or removing a clot and preventing further bleeding through a surgical procedure. 

Microtia

Microtia is a condition in which a child is born with an ear or ears deformed or absent. It can range in severity from a partially formed ear to a lump of tissue. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of microtia.

Symptoms of microtia
Symptoms include hearing loss due to the closure or absence of the external ear canal, ear infections or feelings of self-consciousness. 

Treatment of microtia
An ENT doctor may suggest hearing aids to improve hearing ability, surgery to reconstruct the external ear or performing a reconstructive surgery.

List of nose diseases treated by an ENT specialist

Nosebleed (Epistaxis)

Nosebleed refers to bleeding from the inside of your nose. People of all ages experience nosebleeds at least once in their lifetime. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of nosebleed.

Symptoms of Nosebleed
Symptoms include heavy bleeding affecting the nostrils leading to dizziness, weakness, confusion, and fainting.

Treatment of Nosebleed
An ENT doctor may suggest applying a cold compress over the bridge of your nose or use a nasal spray decongestant to close off the small blood vessels. In addition, he may recommend cauterization procedure to stop persistent or frequent nosebleeds.  

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever is an allergic response to specific allergens including pollens, dust, food, drugs etc. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of allergic rhinitis.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, a stuffy nose, an itchy nose, coughing, scratchy throat, itchy eyes, watery eyes, dark circles under the eyes, frequent headaches, dry, itchy skin, hives or excessive fatigue. 

Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe over-the-counter antihistamines such as fexofenadine, desloratadine, loratadine, levocetirizine and cetirizine for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. 

Nasal congestion

Nasal congestion is a medical condition in which nasal and surrounding tissues and blood vessels become inflamed with excess fluid, causing a "stuffy" feeling. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of nasal congestion.

Symptoms of Nasal congestion
Symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sinus pain, mucus build-up and swollen nasal tissue.

Treatment of Nasal congestion
An ENT doctor may prescribe over-the-counter antihistamines such as fexofenadine, desloratadine, loratadine, levocetirizine and cetirizine nasal sprays that contain antihistamine, such as azelastine nasal steroids and antibiotics. 

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are benign growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. They usually occur due to asthma, recurring infection, allergies, drug sensitivity or certain immune disorders. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of nasal polyps.

Symptoms of Nasal polyps
Symptoms include runny nose, persistent stuffiness, postnasal drip, absent sense of smell, loss of sense of taste, facial pain or headache, pain in your upper teeth, a sense of pressure over your forehead and face and snoring.

Treatment of Nasal polyps
An ENT doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray to reduce inflammation, an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone along with antihistamines to treat allergies and antibiotics to treat a chronic or recurring infection. Additionally, he may recommend endoscopic surgery to remove polyps and to correct problems with your sinuses.

Deviated septum

Deviated septum is a nose condition in which nasal septum between your nasal passages is displaced to one side. In its severity, the condition can block one side of your nose and reduce airflow, causing difficulty breathing. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of deviated septum.

Symptoms of Deviated septum
Symptoms include blockage of one or both nostrils, nasal congestion, sometimes on one side, frequent nosebleeds, frequent sinus infections, facial pain, headaches, postnasal drip, noisy breathing during sleep in infants and young children.

Treatment of Deviated septum
An ENT doctor may prescribe decongestants, antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays to reduce inflammation in your nasal passage and help with obstruction or drainage. If the symptoms persist, an ENT specialist will recommend surgery to correct your deviated septum (septoplasty) or surgery to reshape the nose (rhinoplasty). 

Broken nose

A broken nose, also known as nasal fracture refers to a break or crack in a bone in your nose. Causes include ports, physical fights, falls and motor vehicle accidents. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of a broken nose.

Symptoms of a broken nose
Symptoms include tenderness, especially when touching your nose, swelling of your nose and surrounding areas, bleeding from your nose, bruising around your nose, misshapen nose, difficulty breathing through your nose, discharge of mucus from your nose or feeling that one or both of your nasal passages are blocked.

Treatment of a broken nose
An ENT doctor may manually realign displaced bones and cartilage in your nose or in severe cases suggest a reconstructive surgery.

Choanal atresia

Choanal atresia is a congenital disorder which occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of the nasal airway by tissue. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of choanal atresia.

Symptoms of choanal atresia
Symptoms include chest retracts unless the child is breathing through mouth or crying, difficulty breathing following birth, inability to nurse and breathe at same time, inability to pass a catheter through each side of the nose into the throat or persistent one-sided nasal blockage or discharge.

Treatment of choanal atresia
An ENT doctor may recommend immediate surgical procedure known as tracheostomy to remove the obstruction so that the infant can breathe.

Anosmia (Loss of Smell)

Anosmia refers to loss of the sense of smell which is normally caused by a nasal condition or brain injury but it can be congenital. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of anosmia.

Symptoms of Anosmia
The only symptom of anosmia is a loss of smell.

Treatment of Anosmia
An ENT doctor may recommend nasal washing, a steroid nasal spray, an antihistamine, steroid tablets, an operation to have nasal polyps removed, an operation to straighten the nasal septum or an operation to clear out the sinuses, called endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS).

Nasal vestibulitis

Nasal vestibulitis refers to diffuse and shallow inflammation of nasal vestibular skin, mostly with bilateral onset. It can be chronic or acute. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of Nasal vestibulitis.

Symptoms of Nasal vestibulitis
Symptoms include redness, swelling, bleeding tissues, extended sneezing and nose blowing and pain.

Treatment of Nasal vestibulitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics such as Dicloxacillin for a week to ten days along with a cream such as Mupirocin for 2-3 days. If the problem persists, he may recommend an antibiotic called Rifampin for 4 days to help kill the bacteria likely causing the infection. 
List of throat diseases treated by an ENT specialist.

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis refers to a swelling of the tonsils. Tonsillitis is often caused by a common virus, but bacterial infections also may cause tonsillitis. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of Tonsillitis.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis
Symptoms include swollen tonsils, yellow coating or patches on the tonsils, sore throat, painful swallowing, fever, tender lymph nodes, scratchy voice, bad breath, stiff neck or headache.

Treatment of Tonsillitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics if tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Additionally, he may recommend surgery to remove tonsils (tonsillectomy) for frequently recurring tonsillitis.

Laryngitis

Laryngitis refers to an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) because of overuse, irritation or infection. In this medical condition, both your vocal cords swell. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of laryngitis.

Symptoms of Laryngitis
Symptoms include hoarseness, weak voice, tickling sensation and rawness of your throat, sore throat, dry throat or dry cough.

Treatment of Laryngitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics and corticosteroids that will help reduce vocal cord inflammation.

Pharyngitis (Sore Throat)

Pharyngitis, also commonly referred to as sore throat, when there is an inflammation of the pharynx, which is in the back of the throat. It is usually caused by viral and bacterial agents. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of pharyngitis.

Symptoms of Pharyngitis
Symptoms include scratchy sensation in the throat, pain that worsens with swallowing, difficulty swallowing, swollen glands in your neck or jaw, red tonsils, pus on your tonsils, or hoarse voice. 

Treatment of Pharyngitis
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics if pharyngitis is caused due to a bacterial infection. In case sore throat is caused due to a viral infection, he may prescribe over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease symptoms.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that occurs in people suffering from strep throat. It occurs mostly in children between 5 to 15 years of age. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of scarlet fever.

Symptoms of Scarlet fever
Symptoms include a rash that looks like a sunburn and feels like sandpaper, red lines around the groin, armpits, elbows, knees and neck, the face may appear flushed with a pale ring, or the tongue generally looks red and bumpy.

Treatment of Scarlet fever
An ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics for the treatment of scarlet fever.

Dysphagia (swallowing problems)

Dysphagia refers to swallowing difficulties. People with this disease face problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while some cannot swallow at all. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of dysphagia.

Symptoms of Dysphagia
Symptoms include having pain while swallowing unable to swallow, sensation of food getting stuck in your throat, drooling, bringing food back up, frequent heartburn, stomach acid back up into your throat, unexpectedly losing weight, avoiding certain foods because of trouble swallowing.

Treatment of Dysphagia
For swallowing difficulties caused by problems with the mouth or throat, an ENT doctor may suggest swallowing therapy, dietary changes and feeding tubes. For swallowing difficulties caused by problems with the oesophagus, an ENT doctor may suggest proton pump inhibitors to treat indigestion and Botulinum toxin to paralyse the tightened muscles that prevent food from reaching the stomach.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis refers to an infection of bronchial tubes causing them to become irritated and inflamed. Bronchitis can be acute and chronic. An ENT doctor is a specialist with expertise in the management of bronchitis.

Symptoms of Bronchitis
Symptoms include cough, clear, white, yellowish-gray mucus, fatigue, shortness of breath, slight fever and chills and chest discomfort.

Treatment of Bronchitis
If bronchitis is caused due to a bacterial infection, an ENT doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Other than that he may suggest certain cough medicines that helps remove irritants from your lungs and air passages. 

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