Ear, Nose and Throat
Otolaryngologists, also known as Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, specialize in a complex set of head and neck conditions. Otolaryngologists are specialists in many medical and surgical treatments including:
- Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery: Treatment of patients with abnormalities of the face and mouth, including a variety of problems from birth defects (such as cleft palate) to accidents causing disfigurement to removal of tumors involving the tissues of the mouth. They also perform surgical procedures to reshape the nose or jaw to improve appearance and function.
- Nose and Sinus Allergy: Diagnosis and treatment of patients with symptoms and manifestations of nose and sinus allergy including hay fever and other inhalant seasonal and perennial allergies which are present all year round.
- Oncology: Treatment of head and neck cancers which may involve surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Your otolaryngologist will work closely with a medical and radiation oncologist to design the best possible treatment program.
- Otology: Medical and/or surgical treatment of diseases and conditions of ears, such as: ear infections, balance problems or dizziness and hearing problems.
- Plastic Surgery: Similar to reconstructive surgery except that this surgery is often done for cosmetic purposes. Plastic surgery is important for patients who have been victims of disfiguring accidents and for those who wish to have a more improved or youthful appearance.
- Balloon sinuplasty: Also known as “angioplasty for the nose,” this minimally invasive procedure can open the nasal passage of blocked or inflamed sinuses. ENT specialists guide a catheter equipped with a small balloon through the nostril to the intended area. The specialist will gently inflate the balloon, allowing the sinus to drain and let air flow freely. Compared to traditional surgery, balloon sinuplasty can offer less pain, a lower risk of infection, reduced blood loss, and minimal bruising and swelling.
Many conditions concerned with hearing require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional.
Hearing loss may be caused by excessive noise, a viral or bacterial infection, or head injury. There are also many diseases that contribute to hearing loss, including tinnitus, presbycusis and Usher’s syndrome.
Presbycusis is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs as people age, typically in both ears equally. One in three adults over age 65 have hearing loss.
Tinnitus is the sound of ringing, buzzing or clicking that occurs inside the head. The sounds may be continuous or come and go. Over 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from some degree of tinnitus. In at least 2 million people, the severity of the disease interferes with daily activities, according to the American Tinnitus Association.
Usher syndrome is an inherited disorder that involves both a hearing and vision impairment. Usher syndrome is passed from parents to their children. There are three types of Usher syndrome. US type 1 includes profound deafness from birth and vision problems by age 10 that eventually leads to blindness. US type 2 includes moderate to severe hearing problems and impairment of vision by the teen years. People with US type 2 usually benefit from hearing aids. US type 3 of Usher syndrome shows a development of hearing problems in the teen years and deafness by late adulthood. Blindness also starts by mid-adulthood.
Smell and Taste Disorders
The loss of the sense of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia) are the most common chemosensory disorders. The reduced ability to smell (hyposmia) or to taste substances (hypogeusia) is also common. These disorders can have a significant impact on quality of life. With a lack of smell, a person can be unaware of such things as fire or leaking gas, putting him or her in danger. Some people are born with these chemosensory disorders, while others develop them through illness, injury, dental problems, exposure to chemicals or hormonal disturbances.
Diagnosing anosmia can include measuring the lowest concentration of a chemical a person can recognize and “scratch and sniff” tests. Finding taste disorders can be done with a “sip, spit, and rinse” test, where chemicals are directly applied to specific areas of the tongue.