Some of the most essential and sensitive organs of the human body are in the region of the head and neck. Since the ears, nose and throat are all interconnected, their medical treatment is a separate field in itself, known as ENT. ENT specialists can handle everything from allergies to facial plastic surgery to ease the breathing passages.
Why the ENT area is vulnerable
The ear, nose and throat area and its related organs in the head and neck are both essential to the functioning of the body and highly vulnerable to various conditions and illnesses. These include diseases that affect the sinuses, the larynx or voice box, the oral cavity, and mouth and throat, known as the upper pharynx.
Because ENT care covers the whole area, doctors can provide treatment for everything from allergies to sleep apnea treatment. They can handle facial plastic surgery and fit hearing aids. However, for anyone seeking an ENT specialist, it’s important to keep in mind that treatments for children and adults are quite different and doctors may specialize in one or the other.
How pediatric ENT differs from adult treatment
Pediatric ENT is a distinct area of practice, because children are made differently from adults. Their nasal passages are much narrower, and they can be affected by a range of disorders like adenoids and tonsils, which are related to their age and size.
For example, one of the most commonly performed procedures in pediatric ENT is tonsillectomy. That’s because the tonsils in children are very susceptible to recurrent infections. In fact, as many as 20% of all tonsillectomies are currently performed to prevent recurrent infections, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. It’s far less common for adults to suffer from the same problem.
Typical ENT disorders
Sleep apnea, sinusitis, hearing loss and even thyroid disease all fall under the category of ENT disorders. Many of these remain undiagnosed for a long time. As many as 60% of all people who have some kind of thyroid disorder may be unaware of the condition. The American Thyroid Association estimates that the total number of people with thyroid disease in the U.S. may be as high as 20 million. Likewise, about 20% of the adult population in the U.S. suffers from a mild form of undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Other typical ENT disorders affecting the ears include hearing loss, infections, ear noise or tinnitus, nerve pain, earaches and facial and cranial nerve disorders. These can also cause balance problems. The nasal area is affected by problems like sinusitis, allergies and breathing problems.
ENT doctors see and treat diseases and disorders in some of the most vulnerable areas of the body. They can provide treatments for everything from sleep apnea to hearing loss to facial plastic surgery.