THE ABCs of ENT

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THE ABCs of ENT

The Ears, nose and throat are very important structures of the upper respiratory tract. The ears are used in hearing and balance, the nose is not only for smelling but may also affect your sense of taste to a considerable extent. It can also act as a defense to prevent germs and bacteria from invading the body. The throat serves as a route of passage for air and food. The throat is also the organ used in speech formation because it contains the larynx (voice box).

Impairment in any of these organs can affect the others. Sometimes an ear pain may cause difficulty in swallowing and nasal obstruction may cause headaches. Some hearing disorders are not even related to the ear. The symptoms are also intertwined and may require a specialist to know the underlying cause. This is due to the fact these organs share the same mucous lining. 

Otolaryngology or more popularly called the ENT is the intensive study of the ears, nose, throat and other related structures of the head and neck including the disorders related to these structures. Though the region affected may be small, you will be surprised at the level of complications that may occur due to malfunctioning, inflammation or infection of these sites. The specialists or physicians that are specially trained for this are the otolaryngologists, more popularly called ENT doctors. ENT related disorders are very common among populations all around the globe, hence the need for more of these specialists. With the advent of biotechnology, ENT has been made easy from the use of cochlear implants and lasers during surgeries(minimally invasive surgeries). This has also lowered considerably the risks or complications during these surgical procedures such that they are mainly outpatient procedures with relatively low recovery time and the patients are often carrying out their normal activities few days after the surgeries. These surgeries have also been made suitable for both children and the aging populations. Apart from the management and diagnosis of the disorders of the ears, nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, and other related structures, the otolaryngologist also treat balance disorders such as vertigo, dizziness and even hearing impairment. Nose disorders treated by ENT doctors include allergies, nasal obstructions, chronic sinusitis, runny nose, postnasal drip, poor sense of smell and structural defects such as nasal polyps or deviated septum. Diseases of the throat that are treated by the ENT specialists include voice and swallowing disorders, thyroid and salivary gland caners. Hearing aids are available to those with hearing losses(children and adults alike) or cochlea implants in cases that are severe or middle ear infections. These help to significantly improve the quality of life of people. Sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea can also be effectively treated by the doctors after proper diagnosis of the underlying causes. Otolaryngologists can also treat various facial deformities and can perform plastics and reconstructive surgery of the face and other related structures of the head and neck. They can also perform adenoidectomies(removal of the adenoids), infected mastoids, bloody nasal discharge etc.