Otolaryngologists are also called 'ENTs' because their area of specialty is the ears, nose, and throat. Otolaryngologists treat most of the diseases and disorders that affect the head or neck. They can provide routine medical care, such as giving hearing tests or treating chronic conditions such as allergies. Otolaryngologists also perform a number of surgeries on the head and neck. Some of the illnesses and issues that otolaryngologists treat include:
- Ear problems - hearing loss, infections, tinnitus or ringing on the ears, balance disorders, trauma or fracture of the temporal bone, prominent or large ears (using 'ear pinning' plastic surgery)
- Nose issues - sinus infections, allergies, nasal polyps, smell disorders
- Throat issues - voice and swallowing problems, infections or trauma to the larynx or esophagus, sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea)
- Head and neck problems - infections, trauma, tumors, conditions requiring plastic surgery
Because they perform so many delicate surgeries of the face, otolaryngologists are often sought out as plastic surgeons when facial surgery is required. Their specialized knowledge of the anatomy of the head and face can make a real difference in the outcome of a surgery, from a brow lift to a total facial reconstruction after trauma.