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An ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT doctor) is a specialist surgeon and physician known as an otolaryngologist. These medical providers diagnose, treat, and perform surgery on various head and neck areas to treat patient issues relating to the ears, nose, or throat.
You don’t want to have to see one or have to take a child or partner for an appointment with them, but sometimes problems arise that need their expert opinion and assistance. Here are some of the top reasons why you or a loved one may need to see an ENT specialist at some stage.
While you can go to a general hearing aid clinic or the like to have your hearing checked by an audiologist, it’s worth also seeing an ear, nose, and throat doctor. The specialist can work with an audiologist to determine the cause of hearing loss to see if it might be treatable. For instance, you could have an ear infection, ruptured eardrum, a buildup of earwax, damage to your inner ear, a chronic health condition affecting hearing, or something else.
It’s particularly wise to book in to see an ENT practitioner if you notice rapid hearing loss that happens over a short period, such as a few days or even all at once. You may be experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss or have some other problem happening that needs diagnosis ASAP.
Chronic Sinus Issues
When we suffer from sinus pain and inflammation at this time of year when there are many colds around, we often question, “are sinus infections contagious?” While they can be, this health concern can also be caused by other factors that can be treated or rectified in some cases.
For example, some people get chronic sinus discomfort due to things like nasal polyps, allergies, a deviated nasal septum, recurring respiratory infections, or complications caused by other conditions. As such, it’s wise to see a specialist who can investigate what exactly is going on and if the problem can be fixed or at least reduced in severity or frequency for you.
Vertigo or Dizziness
Our balance is a vital system that we use much more than we realize until something is off in this area. The inner ear has a lot of impact on our balance, meaning we need to see an ENT specialist when problems such as vertigo or dizziness keep arising. While these things can occur due to some medication side effects, migraines, or even standing up too quickly, sometimes the issues become more recurrent and need to be looked into further.
For example, vertigo is often an issue for people whose inner ear calcium crystals get dislodged from the correct position, leading to a specific type of positional vertigo that is most evident when bending over, rolling over in bed, or looking up. Ear, nose, and throat doctors can help patients with conditions like this to ease symptoms by following a treatment plan that focuses on the inner ear.
Long-Lasting Voice Hoarseness
We can all get a bit hoarse when dealing with a cold or the flu or even just when we wake up in the morning and haven’t talked for a while. However, if you have a persistent case of voice hoarseness, it’s time to see an ENT medico. If you’ve had this vocal change happening for more than six weeks, you could potentially have cancer of the larynx, benign vocal cord lesions, or another medical problem that needs addressing sooner rather than later.
Chronic Sore Throats or Tonsilitis
Another throat-based concern to get looked at by an ear, nose, and throat practitioner is chronic soreness or repeated tonsilitis. Again, while these things happen to all of us here and there, they shouldn’t be something we keep having to deal with throughout the year.
Years ago, surgery to remove the tonsils was a common procedure. Today it’s generally only completed when someone gets tonsilitis repeatedly, and it doesn’t respond adequately to other treatments. Serious complications arising from sore throats and tonsilitis can also be something an ENT doctor wishes to address with surgery.
Some other top reasons to see this kind of specialist include allergies, sleep apnea, chronic ear infections, ringing in the ears, frequent nose bleeds, and enlarged lymph nodes, or the discovery of lumps in the neck or head.
While it may seem a little scary thinking about seeing a specialist, especially related to the head and neck, it’s wise to do so sooner rather than later. If you have any symptoms or concerns about face and head problems, it’s best to speak with someone who specializes in diagnosing, operating on, and treating such conditions.