7 Questions to Ask ENT Doctor
If your doctor has referred you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, you may have a number of questions about your visit. You might be curious about what to expect during the visit, for example, or wonder what conditions ENTs diagnose and treat. Asking questions of your healthcare provider is the best way to get the most out of your doctor visit, but if you are like a lot of people, you are not sure what questions you should ask your ENT.
1. Do I need the care of an ENT doctor?
You may need the care of an ENT if your condition requires diagnosis and treatment that a general practitioner cannot provide. ENT doctors, also known as otolaryngologists, have special training in the diagnosis and management of diseases, traumas, tumors and deformities of the head, neck and face. In addition to undergoing special training, they use special instruments to look inside your ears, nose and throat.
2. Can you treat my condition?
Otolaryngologists treat a wide variety of conditions, including acute ear infections, hearing loss, chronic middle ear fluid, acute and chronic adenotonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids), snoring, allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, hoarseness, chronic sinusitis, tumors of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, gastrointestinal reflux (GERD), cough, vertigo, and headache. ENT doctors also treat nasal fractures, infections of the salivary glands, head and neck cancer, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and more.
3. What is the long-term prognosis for this condition?
Having a frank discussion with your ENT can help you understand the potential outcomes of your condition. Fortunately, there are a growing number of treatment options for nearly all types of ear, nose and throat disorders – your ENT doctor can help you optimize the outcome of your condition through medication, surgery and other types of medical care.
4. Who do I see for follow-up care?
In some cases, you will follow up with your primary care provider. Depending on your diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis, though, you may need to see your ENT for follow-up appointments.
5. Is the condition likely to affect my health in other ways?
Conditions that affect your ears, nose and throat can affect your overall health. Having a sore throat can prevent you from eating properly, for example, while an inner ear infection can cause dizziness and vertigo. Your ENT can help you overcome any systemic effects resulting from your ear, nose or throat condition by developing strategies and treatment plans.
6. Based on my symptoms and diagnosis, what treatment(s) might be right for me?
ENT care is not a one-size-fits-all solution to ear, nose and throat problems. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may be necessary to remove inflamed tonsils and adenoids, for example, but myringotomy and tube insertion might be needed to relieve pressure or to drain puss from the middle ear.
7. Are you experienced in providing these treatments?
While otolaryngologists undergo training to treat a variety of ENT disorders, some may focusing on providing treatment for narrow range of conditions. Be sure to ask your ENT doctor about their experience in treatment your condition.
Asking questions is a smart way to get an accurate diagnosis, learn about your condition, choose a treatment plan, and optimize the outcome of that treatment plan. For more information and to get the most out of your healthcare, consult with your ENT doctor.