Most families have a primary care physician, who is an excellent resource for general medical needs. When it’s time for an annual exam or you have a minor health concern, a PCP is the place to go.
But there are times when a general physician is unable to treat the condition. These generalists will often refer patients out to see a specialist instead.
Do you need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist? Here are a few things to consider when you are trying to choose a doctor for your unique needs.
What Is an ENT Specialist?
“ENT” stands for “ears, nose, and throat” – a common phrase used when referring to the medical field of otorhinolaryngology. When you visit an ENT specialist, they have the training and education to consult, diagnose, and treat the upper respiratory part of the body.
For example, people with conditions affecting their ears, nose, and neck often benefit from scheduling a consultation with an ENT.
Common Conditions Treated by ENTs
One way you can tell if you need to see an ENT is by the type of condition that needs to be treated. These are some of the most common reasons for patients to go to an ENT:
Even though tonsillitis is common in children, this throat condition can also be a recurring issue for adults as well. If you experience sore throats regularly, you might benefit by talking to an ENT about removing your tonsils.
The ENT will complete an examination to determine the underlying causes of your throat issues. Severe symptoms might require more intensive treatments, such as difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, high temperature, or severe pain.
Chronic Sinus Infections
Another reason people often go to an ENT is that sinus infections keep returning. If your sinus issues have lasted for more than 12 weeks, or you have sinus infections that come and go throughout the year, then you likely have chronic sinusitis.
A primary care physician can only do so much to help with chronic sinus infections. They might prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the immediate symptoms. But your PCP doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to know the best ways to treat the ongoing condition. So, a general physician will often refer patients to visit with an ENT instead.
Frequent Ear Infections
As a parent, how often do you take your child to the doctor for an ear infection treatment? Most of the time, ear infections happen in the middle ear, known as otitis media. When inflammation and infection are present, it can result in serious pain and discomfort.
Children are susceptible to chronic ear infections because they have shorter ear canals. But recurring ear infections can also be present in adults as well. If you have any of these issues, it’s smart to talk to an ENT about your treatment options.
Allergies (Seasonal or Environmental)
When allergy symptoms flare up, you probably feel desperate to find any treatment to help. While allergic reactions can happen anywhere in the body, ENTs specialize in allergies affecting the ears, nose, and eyes.
Any time you come in contact with an allergen, it can cause symptoms. For example, if you have seasonal allergies, you’ll notice that the symptoms flare up when the flowers start to bloom in the spring months.
We have an allergy assessment program to get to the root of your allergy conditions. The more we know about your allergies, the better we can design a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms.
Partial or full hearing loss should be addressed by an ENT or audiologist without delay. Even though it is common for people to lose hearing as they get older, you don’t have to live in conditions where you are unable to hear other people around you.
Schedule a hearing test to measure your current hearing. Then, always stay in contact with your ENT specialist if you notice that your hearing is changing. Not only can we identify the underlying cause to stop or slow your hearing loss, but treatment options are available.
For example, you might benefit from wearing hearing aids to amplify the hearing function that you have right now. First, we’ll perform in-depth testing to understand your hearing loss, then offer treatment recommendations to maximize your hearing as much as possible.
Everyone loses their voice occasionally. For example, you might have a cold that affects your throat, causing you to be hoarse for a few days. Most of the time, a hoarse voice is caused by bronchitis or the common cold.
But if these symptoms continue beyond a few days, it’s best to talk to an ENT. Other issues could be affecting your throat, such as benign lesions on the vocal cords or larynx cancer. Our ENT team can complete a thorough examination and visual inspection to identify why your voice is hoarse.
Vertigo or Dizziness
Your overall balance happens because of how the inner ear works in synchronicity with the brain and other parts of your body. So if you start to feel dizziness or vertigo, it might be caused by an issue with the inner ear.
In fact, an estimated 30% of people in the United States will experience vertigo or dizziness at some point in their life. If you have these symptoms, consider booking an appointment with an ENT to learn more about the underlying cause and potential treatment options.
Lumps in the Neck
Have you noticed that your lymph nodes are enlarged? This issue is one possible cause of lumps in the neck. Or, there might be other reasons why a lump appears, such as neck or throat cancer.
Most of the time, swollen lymph nodes will improve on their own and return to standard size in just a few weeks. But it might be time to talk to an ENT if you notice that the lumps are getting bigger or they aren’t going away.
Schedule an Appointment with an ENT Specialist
The good news is that our local team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is always here to help if you have issues affecting your upper respiratory system. We invite you to schedule an examination with our team if you live in the Dallas or Collin County area.
At Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat, we are proud to be an award-winning clinic and offer services for people of all ages. We have offices in both Frisco and Plano, TX. You’re welcome to use our online form to request an appointment at your convenience or call: (972) 596-4005.