Otolaryngology (pronounced oh/toe/lair/in/goll/oh/jee) is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians.
Otolaryngologists diagnose and manage diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face, as well as many ENT primary care problems in both children and adults.
Otolaryngologists complete up to 15 years of college and postgraduate training. 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 eight 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), rhinology (nose) and sleep. Some otolaryngologists limit their practices to one of these eight areas.
Source: MedlinePlus and American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
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- American Academy of Otolaryngology
- Full patient section on hearing, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), surgery and more.
- American Board of Otolaryngology
- Includes licensing and education requirements for otolaryngologists.