What Do Otolaryngologists Treat?

The Ears- Hearing loss affects one in ten North Americans. The unique domain of otolaryngologists is the treatment of ear disorders. They are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), nerve pain, and facial and cranial nerve disorders. Otolaryngologists also manage congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.

An Otologist/Neurotologist is a board-certified otolaryngologist who provides medical and surgical care of patients, both adult and pediatric, with diseases that affect the ears, balance system, temporal bone, skull base, and related structures of the head and neck. The neurotologist has done special fellowship training and may have obtained additional certification of qualification for the specialty of Neurotology. The neurotologist is knowledgeable of the basic sciences of hearing, balance, nerve function, infectious disease, and anatomy of head and neck.

The Nose- About 35 million people develop chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in America. Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of otolaryngologists. Management of the nasal area includes allergies and sense of smell. Breathing through, and the appearance of, the nose are also part of otolaryngologists' expertise. A Rhinologist/Sinus Surgeon has done special fellowship training as a means of supplying superior quality care for sinus and allergy patients.

The Throat- Communicating (speech and singing) and eating a meal all involve this vital area. Also specific to otolaryngologists is expertise in managing diseases of the larynx (voice box) and the upper aero-digestive tract or esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders. A Laryngologist has done special fellowship training and provides superior care for patients with voice and swallowing problems.

The Head and Neck- This center of the body includes the important nerves that control sight, smell, hearing, and the face. In the head and neck area, otolaryngologists are trained to treat infectious diseases, both benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors, facial trauma, and deformities of the face. They perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery. Head and Neck Surgeons and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgeons have special training in these areas to provide special care for patients with cancers and tumors of the head and neck.