What is ENT?
Most commonly known as ENT, the medical specialty Otorhinolaryngology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of disorders relating to the ear, nose, neck, and throat. Clearly, otorhinolaryngology is quite a mouthful, which is why you commonly hear these experts referred to as ENT specialists.
Furthermore, otorhinolaryngology can trace its origins all the way back to the 19th century, when it was first discovered that there was a multitude of systems in the head, nose, throat, and neck that were all connected. As far as medical specialties go, it is generally known as the oldest in the U.S.
Why Should Someone See an ENT Specialist?
Keeping your ear, nose, and throat in good working order is crucial to your body’s overall function and to your health. Issues that may lead to you seeking out an ENT specialist run the gamut. From sleep and breathing issues to hearing issues, to balance issues, there are many reasons to seek out the medical care of an ENT physician.
Common Conditions Diagnosed and Treated by an ENT Specialist
While there is a multitude of reasons people can improve their quality of life by seeing an ENT specialist, here are the most common reasons:
- Chronic Ear Infections: One of the most common reasons people turn to ENT specialists is for persistent ear infections. These are especially common in children under 2 years old. Ear infections are often triggered by other illnesses like flu, cold, or allergies. They can lead to everything from persistent pain and fever, to impaired hearing and losing balance.
- Dizziness, Vertigo, and Balance issues: The inner ear plays a huge part in your body’s ability to balance. About 30 percent of the U.S. population experiences chronic dizziness or vertigo during their life, which can occur after standing up, bending over, changing head position, or even rolling over in bed. ENT specialists develop tailored plans to ease chronic dizziness and balance issues.
- Sleep Apnea: This is one of the most serious sleep disorders. Sleep apnea is a condition where you breathe too shallowly during sleep or repeatedly stop breathing at various interims. This leads to your brain becoming deprived of proper oxygen levels and can lead to chronic snoring or even choking while your body is trying to breathe.
- Hearing Issues or Loss: ENTs work closely with audiologists to pinpoint the cause of hearing loss, which can range from an infection in the ear canal to inner-ear damage.
- Chronic Nose Issues: Also called sinusitis, a chronic stuffy nose causes your sinuses to become swollen, painful, and inflamed, causing music to drain abnormally. Chronic nose issues are commonly caused by respiratory infections, allergies, a deviated septum, or nasal polyps. An ENT will determine the best treatment, including antibiotics or surgery in some serious cases.
- Chronic Sore Throat or Tonsilitis: Your tonsils are two round pads of tissue located at the back of your throat. Tonsillitis occurs when these are compromised, leading to swollen tonsils that cause pain, sore throat, trouble swallowing, and lymph nodes that are tender to the touch.
- Enlarged Lymph Nodes or Lumps in the Neck/Throat: You have many lymph nodes in your neck and head that are essential to helping your body ward off infections. When they are comprised due to an infection or virus, you will notice they feel swollen and tender. While most lymph node issues heal themselves as your body recovers, an ENT specialist is needed if the lumps grow in size, remain for more than two weeks, lead to a persistent sore throat, or are suffering from fever symptoms.
What Does an ENT Specialist Do?
An ENT provider specializes in the medical specialty of otolaryngology, which focuses on issues with the ear, nose, and throat. They differ from physicians because they are trained in medical treatment as well as surgery.
Your first visit to an ENT specialist will start out as a consultation. This will consist of an in-depth conversation discussing the specific reason for your visit, current symptoms, medical history, and information about your current health status. After collecting all the applicable information, your ENT will perform a physical exam and may also perform tests related to your symptoms or health.
Is ENT Covered by Insurance?
Due to the importance of your ears, nose, and throat, most ENT services are covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid as well as private insurance. The process may depend on your policy’s terms and factors like waiting periods. Along with asking your general doctor for a recommendation to an ENT specialist, your insurance provider is also a good place to start your search.
The health of the organs and entities that an ENT specialist treats is critical to nearly every area of your health and quality of life. If you are struggling with issues related to the head, ear, nose, or throat, getting a consultation with a trained ENT physician is your first step to better health.
Schedule your ENT appointment today at one of our Colorado Springs or Pueblo West locations.