When should you see an ENT specialist?

An ENT specialist, or an otolaryngologist, typically treats issues concerning the ear, nose, and throat. However, you may have some pains in any of these areas and not know if it requires seeing a professional or if you should just take OTC medication.

Sometimes, a simple OTC medication may suffice. Other times, you may even require surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. So it’s necessary to be in the know.

Here are reasons why you may need to see an ENT specialist.

1. Long-term sore throat, earache, or sinus pain

If you have a sore throat, earache, or sinus pain that keeps coming and going for years, it may help to visit an otolaryngologist, especially when your GP has been unable to remedy it.

2. Snoring that’s linked with breathing problems

Have you been snoring for years, even after making many lifestyle changes? Do you have trouble breathing properly during sleep? It may be that your airway is too narrow, or you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is a serious sleep disorder that requires a medical diagnosis.

Note that not all snorers have OSA. But if you also experience breathing pauses during sleep that jerk you awake frequently, it just might be OSA.

Like the otolaryngology specialists at SFENTA, most ENT doctors also specialize in treating sleep problems, including OSA. If it’s something to do with your nasal airway, such as a deviated septum, you may require surgery.

3. Ringing in the ears

Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, is a common problem affecting about 15-20% of people, especially older adults. It can be quite disturbing, but that’s not all.

Tinnitus is usually a symptom of an underlying condition, such as hearing loss or ear injury. If it doesn’t improve with time, it’s best to see an otolaryngologist.

4. Problems with your balance

People who have problems with balancing tend to lose orientation. It would seem like everything around them is spinning, making them dizzy. This condition is known as vertigo, and it’s a problem with the inner ear.

The inner ear is responsible for attaining a sense of balance. An otolaryngologist can help address problems with the inner ear to cure vertigo.

5. Frequent nosebleeds that won’t go away

Most nosebleeds don’t require medical intervention. It may be due to a dry nose, chemical irritants, an allergic reaction, an object stuck in the nose, or repeated sneezing. The bleeding usually stops on its own after a few minutes.

If your nosebleed lasts over 20 minutes, it may signify a posterior nosebleed, which is a serious condition. An eye, nose, and throat doctor can help address posterior nosebleeds quickly.

6. Hearing impairment

An ENT doctor also specializes in addressing hearing loss. This condition may emerge with age, but it’s not uncommon among children as well. If you notice your child having difficulty hearing, you may want to see an ENT specialist immediately. They may offer hearing aids or carry out surgery as the situation warrants.

7. Vocal tremors and difficulty swallowing

If you have difficulty swallowing or your voice is hoarse or shaky, your larynx (voice box) could be compromised. While you may be able to live with a trembling voice, it can make you feel less confident when you speak in public. You can discuss with an otolaryngologist what treatment options are available for you.

The following are other conditions an ear, nose, and throat doctor may treat:

● Asthma

● Injury to the ear, nose, or throat

● Ear infection

● Tonsil infection

● Tumor in the ear, nose, or throat

● Drooping eyelids

● Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

● Allergy

Final words

You don’t always have to see an otolaryngologist whenever you feel pain in your throat, nose, or ear. But you should know for what conditions serious examination by a specialist will be required.

If you or a loved one faces any of the above conditions, get help as soon as possible.

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