Ear, Nose & Throat

ENT – What is an ENT and What Do They Do?

written by Becki Andrus
ENT - What is an ENT and What Do They Do?

If you have any health concerns affecting the ears, nose, or throat, you can talk to an ENT instead of a primary care physician. While it can be helpful to have a general doctor for a variety of minor health concerns, certain conditions require treatment from a specialist.

What Is an ENT?

An ear, nose, and throat doctor (called otolaryngologists) specializes in everything related to these parts of the body. The ears, nose, and throat make up a delicately connected system, which is why it’s helpful for patients to meet with doctors who have specialized experience and training.

What Can an ENT Help With?

Visit with an ENT if you have any health concerns affecting the head, neck, and ears, such as:

  • Hearing
  • Thyroid
  • Tonsils
  • Adenoids
  • Larynx
  • Sinuses
  • Throat
  • Mouth
  • Ear Surgeries
  • Ear Tubes
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Chronic Diseases
  • Cancer in the neck, throat, and head
  • Hearing aid fittings
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Speech disorders
  • Tumor removal
  • Maxillofacial and plastic surgeries

Medical Diagnosis and Treatments for All Ages

The good news is that an ENT can help with medical treatments for all ages. These services are available for adults and children alike.

Many families prefer to have a local ENT that they can visit regularly. Whenever a concern comes up affecting the ears, nose, and throat, it’s nice to have an established relationship with a specialist who can assist.

ENT Education and Training

ENTs go through a rigorous education and training schedule. This process starts with an undergraduate degree, usually in chemistry or biology, to prepare for medical school.

4 years of medical school must be completed. The first 2 years include classroom instruction, then years 3 and 4 involve medical rotations in many different specialties.

After medical school graduation, another 5 years of ENT residency is required. The soon-to-be ENT learns from experienced doctors and gets hands-on training in the specialty. Some ENTs continue training for another 1 – 2 years to specialize in specific areas of the ENT field.

Finally, the ENT must pass an examination before receiving their medical licensing.

ENT Specialties

If an ENT specializes in a specific subsection of these medical services, they work with patients who have similar conditions. ENT specialties include:

  • Sinus issues
  • Swallowing issues
  • Vocal problems
  • Allergies
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Cancer in the neck and head
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Sleep medicine
  • Balance problems

What to Expect: Your First Visit with an ENT

During your first appointment, the ENT will want to know as much as possible about your current symptoms and medical history. Not only will the ENT perform an examination, but they will ask a lot of questions relating to your overall health.

Additionally, a variety of testing can be done to determine an accurate diagnosis. Available testing might include:

  • Nasal endoscopy uses a small telescope that allows the doctor to look inside your nose and identify any potential abnormalities.
  • Audiometric testing is for a patient experiencing balance issues or hearing loss.
  • Ear examination checks for signs of fluid in the middle ear or damage to the eardrum.
  • A neck examination checks the salivary glands, thyroid gland, and lymph nodes.
  • Nasal examination looks at the tissues within the nose, including the position of the septum.
  • Voice box examination evaluates the health and function of the vocal cords.

Simple to Severe: Full-Service ENTs

It’s common for patients to visit their primary care physician when they have mild ENT issues. For example, parents often go to a medical generalist when their child has an ear infection. But don’t overlook the benefits that are available from meeting with an ENT specialist.

Not only are ENTs medical doctors who can assist with a range of conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat. But ENTS also have the training and experience to perform surgeries and interventions to improve the delicate operations within the sinuses, ears, and nose.

Do I Need Surgery?

Just because you are visiting an ENT who offers surgical treatments doesn’t mean that you will need to go under the knife. ENT surgery is a last-resort option when other minimally-invasive treatments don’t provide the relief you need.

The first approach is to diagnose the problem and try the least-invasive treatments. Then, if the desired results aren’t achieved, it might be time to consider surgical interventions.

For example, surgery can be helpful to restore hearing because of a blockage in the inner ear, open airways to improve breathing, rebuild essential structures in the upper respiratory tract, or remove polyps and tumors in the neck, throat, and head.

When to Schedule an ENT Appointment

Here is an overview of some of the reasons why you might need to schedule an ENT appointment:

  • Ears: Any loss of hearing, pain, or symptoms affecting the ears should be evaluated by an ENT. Patients treat a variety of ear conditions, such as dizziness, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or pain in the neck, face, and ears.
  • Nose: Common nose conditions include allergies and sinus problems. Talk to an ENT if you have recurring sinus infections, a deviated septum, nasal obstruction, migraines, and any other conditions affecting the nasal cavity.
  • Throat: ENTs can assist with disorders that affect a patient’s ability to swallow and speak correctly. Common throat conditions include infections, hoarseness, vocal cord disorders, airway issues, tumors, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and more.
  • Neck and Head: Some of the most vital organs are located within the neck and head. ENTs can assist with diagnosing and treating thyroid disorders, tumors in these areas, Grave’s disease, parathyroid disease, and more.
  • Sleep: Many people experience disruptions to their sleep, known as sleep apnea. The quality of your breathing and sleep has an undeniable impact on overall health and wellness, so it’s important to talk to an ENT if you have problems. Treatments are available for sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea, snoring, and airway obstructions.
  • Reconstructive Surgery: Facial trauma not only affects a person’s appearance, but can cause issues with the way a person eats, talks, and breathes. ENTs can assist with reconstructive surgery related to birth defects, injuries, accidents, facial paralysis, cancer, and more.

Local ENT Services You Can Trust

Do you live in Collin County or Dallas, and do you need to talk to an ENT? Then reach out to our experienced team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat so you can weigh all of your options. We offer the answers you are looking for, including diagnosis and treatments. Our convenient locations are located in Frisco and Plano, TX. We invite you to complete our online form when you are ready to request an appointment. Or call our office at (972) 596-4005.

Our clients' stories

We find our patients’ experiences the most rewarding part of the job. Without them, we wouldn’t be one of the longest standing ENT practices in the area!

“This was my first time visiting this office. These folks were super friendly!! Starting with the front desk to all the help in the back, the Dr. Littlejohn was very patient and listened to all my concerns. I dealt with 5 people total due to testing and they all were genuinely nice! Loved it, and not to mention quick service. Great customer service, I’ll be sure to refer family and friends! ”

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“I have used Collin Co. ENT and Dr. Kenny Carter for over 3 years, primarily for ear problems. The staff has been consistently helpful and friendly to me. When I have had problems needing immediate attention and explained the need, have been able to get an appointment within a reasonable time to address the problem. I recommend Dr. Carter and his staff.”

Stan B. user icon

“Dr. Matheny performed 2 surgeries on my wife, both were successful with great results. He is not only a great surgeon, but a great person. It was a pleasure working with him. One of the best doctors we have ever seen in our lives.”

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