Training and Patient Care

Otolaryngologists are ready to start practicing after completing up to 15 years of college and post-graduatetraining. To qualify for certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must first complete college, medical school (usually four years), and at least five years of specialty training. Next, the physician must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology examination. In addition, some otolaryngologists pursue a one- or two- year fellowship for more extensive training in one of seven subspecialty areas.

These subspeciality areas are pediatric otolaryngology (children), otology/neurotology (ears, balance, and tinnitus), allergy, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, head and neck, laryngology (throat), and rhinology (nose). Some otolaryngologists limit their practices to one of these seven areas.

Diagnosis And Treatment In Seven Areas Of Expertise

Otology/Neurotology: treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus, dizziness, infectious and inflammatory diseases of the ear, facial nerve disorders, congenital malformations of the ear, and tumors of the ear, hearing nerve, and skull base. As part of a team with neurosurgeons, they manage diseases and disorders of the cranial nerves and skull base.

Examples: ear infection; swimmer's ear; hearing loss; ear, face, or neck pain; dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), acoustic neuromas.

Pediatric Otolaryngology: diseases in children with special ENT problems including birth defects in the head and neck and developmental delays.

Examples: ear infection (otitis media), tonsil and adenoid infection, airway problems, Down’s syndrome, asthma and allergy/sinus disease.

Head and Neck: cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the head and neck, including the thyroid and parathyroid.

Examples: lump in the neck or thyroid, cancer of the voice box.

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive surgical treatment of abnormalities of the face and neck.

Examples: deviated septum, rhinoplasty (nose), face lift, cleft palate, drooping eyelids, hair loss.

Rhinology: disorders of the nose and sinuses.

Examples: sinus disorder, nose bleed, stuffy nose, loss of smell.

Laryngology: disorders of the throat, including voice and swallowing problems.

Examples: sore throat, hoarseness, swallowing disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Allergy: treatment by medication, immunotherapy (allergy shots) and/or avoidance of pollen, dust, mold, food, and other sensitivities that affect the ear, nose, and throat.

Examples: hay fever, seasonal and perennial rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, laryngitis, sore throat, otitis media, dizziness.