Ears and Nose
An otolaryngologist treats disorders of the ears, including hearing loss, balance disorders, ringing in the ears, and congenital disorders of the inner and outer ear. He/She also treats disorders in the sinuses and nasal cavities, such as snoring, nasal blockage caused by a deviated septum, allergies, polyps, and smell and taste disorders. ENTs may also treat cosmetic and functional problems caused by the shape or appearance of the nose.
Head and Neck
Otolaryngologists look for the causes of migraine headaches. In addition, they treat diseases and disorders of the throat, thyroid, esophagus and the larynx, or voice box, that involve difficulties eating, swallowing and speaking. Treatment of problems in the head and neck areas – which affect sight, hearing and smell – may follow trauma or infections, or stem from facial deformities or tumors. Treatment of cranial nerve disorders are part of the practice when the otolaryngologist’s primary focus areas are affected.
Examination, Diagnosis and Treatment
Otolaryngologists perform examinations and tests, including testing for allergens, infections and cancers. The otolaryngologist prescribes medications, conducts treatment regimens, performs hearing tests, administers radiotherapy and refers patients to other medical specialists, including physical or speech therapies. Otolaryngologists perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, often using powerful microscopes to operate on some of the body's most fragile structures. Otolaryngological surgeons remove polyps, correct cleft palates, perform rhinoplasty to alter the appearance or function of the nose, and remove and examine tumors to detect cancers.