What is an Otolaryngologist?

An otolaryngologist is a physician who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders, and related structures of the head and neck. Otolaryngologists treat a wide range of conditions including hearing loss, balance disorders, tinnitus, ear infections, sinus and nasal obstructions, voice and swallowing disorders, allergies, head and neck cancer and more.

What Training Do Otolaryngologists Receive?

Ear, nose and throat specialists must complete college, medical school, and a minimum of five years of specialized training. They must then pass the American Board of Otolaryngology exam and may also choose to pursue a fellowship for more extensive training. They are licensed to practice in the state in which they reside.

I Thought Hearing Loss Was Confined to Older Individuals?

Hearing loss can be the result of a variety of factors, only one of which is aging. Noise exposure, trauma, disease, and medications can all contribute to impaired hearing, and affect persons of all ages. In fact, two-thirds of all patients with hearing loss are under the age of 65.

Can Hearing Loss Be Reversed?

Hearing loss is classified as either conductive (damage to the outer or middle ear) or sensorineural (damage to the inner ear). While some forms of conductive hearing loss can be corrected, the vast majority of patients (90%) suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, and that is irreversible. Fortunately, most of these patients can benefit from the use of hearing aids or other amplification devices.

I’m Experiencing Ringing In My Ears. Is This Normal?

It is not uncommon; as many as 50 million Americans report a ringing (or whistling, buzzing or whooshing) in their ears known as tinnitus. Tinnitus varies in duration and intensity; for some, it is an occasional mild annoyance, while others call it a constant distraction that interferes with their quality of life. There is no cure for tinnitus, but management strategies can help reduce symptoms and bring you much-needed peace.

How Come My Child Has So Many Ear Infections?

By the age of three, 80% of children have had at least one middle ear infection, making it the most common reason for pediatric visits aside from wellness checks. The reason has largely to do with anatomy: in children of this age, the immune system is still developing and the Eustachian tube, responsible for draining fluid from the ears to the back of the throat, is narrow and prone to swelling. This traps fluid behind the eardrum and leads to an infection.

What is the Difference Between Vertigo and Dizziness?

Dizziness and vertigo are both the result of balance disorders. Dizziness is defined as a general unsteadiness that may be accompanied by feelings of faintness, while vertigo is described as a spinning sensation—it feels like your surroundings are moving around you even when you are standing perfectly still. Dizziness and vertigo are usually harmless, but they can lead to falls—one of the leading causes of injury in older adults. It is recommended you seek treatment when experiencing any unexplainable or persistent lack of equilibrium.