Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
April 8, 2021
An otolaryngologist, or an ear nose and throat specialist, is a doctor who treats conditions that are localized in the areas below the brain and above the lungs. Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) may seem like a small area of expertise, but it encompasses a wide range of disorders and conditions.
All the body’s major connections pass through the head and neck – critical nerves and blood vessels, as well as the passageways for food and oxygen exchange.
An ENT doctor is the go-to for treating any of the following conditions:
An ENT doctor receives a general medical school education and then spends another five to eight years in training for their specialty, including:
As a specialty, ENT has been around for a long time. “This medical specialty dates back to the 19th century, when doctors recognized that the head and neck contained a series of interconnected systems,” writes The Columbia University Department of Otolaryngology.
“Doctors developed techniques and tools for examining and treating problems of the head and neck, eventually forming a medical specialty.” According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, it is the oldest medical specialty in the United States.
Your doctor may refer you to an ENT doctor for a range of disorders, from relatively mild to life-threatening. See an ENT for any of the following:
A more severe problem that is becoming more common in recent years is throat cancer. Located in either the larynx (voice box) or the throat itself, this form of cancer can be caused by smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, HPV (herpes) virus, or GERD.
A person with throat cancer symptoms will be referred to and treated under an ENT doctor’s care. They are able to supervise both the medical and the surgical aspects of the disease.
As with other specialists, your primary care doctor will refer you to an ENT if they observe symptoms of any disorder of the ears (including inner ear–vertigo or tinnitus), nose, or throat. This includes treating or removing lesions or tumors within these areas. Any disease or disorder of the head, excluding the brain and eyes, is under the ENT doctor’s purview.
The cost of visiting an ENT doctor will depend on a series of variables.
The national average for an initial visit to an ENT doctor is $381.
Insurance will usually cover a majority of this cost (requiring a co-pay) if your primary care physician refers you. For those on a high deductible insurance plan, or are uninsured, you may prefer to shop around and find a more affordable ENT. Online specialists may run special prices or payment plans for telehealth consultations.
An initial visit may be fairly quick, with a rundown of history and symptoms with a simple solution. However, if the issue is more serious, there may be testing involved, as well as a series of follow-ups, treatments, or surgical interventions. These extras will add up, though most are covered by insurance.
Choosing an ENT doctor is something that can be as variable as the cost of the visit itself. Those who have excellent insurance, or a serious complaint, may want to invest in a well-known specialist who works out of a renowned hospital if their condition warrants it. Here are three things to consider when finding an ENT near you:
These online practitioners are able to do initial visits and follow-ups, order tests, and prescribe medications. This is an excellent option for people that require treatment for chronic infections or disorders like chronic sinusitis or vertigo.
The long and short of the matter is that an ENT doctor is a specialist that can treat a large variety of both simple and complex cases involving the head and neck.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of this area, but many body systems connect here. The ear, nose, and throat health encompasses an extensive range of possible diseases and disorders.
If you need to find an ENT for any reason, telehealth is a great resource. Our sister site PlushCare is a great first place to go. There you can be checked out by a primary care doctor who can refer you to the best ENT for your specific case.
PlushCare was recently awarded one of the top startups of 2021 by Forbes and has an extensive network of top-tier doctors.
To book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor, click here.
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