Faqs About Pediatric Otolaryngology

Posted on: 19 May 2022


What is pediatric otolaryngology, and why would your child need to visit this type of medical practice? Also known as a pediatric ENT doctor, this type of healthcare specialist treats conditions of the ear, nose, and throat in children. If your child's pediatrician recommended a visit to an ENT, take a look at what you need to know about otolaryngology.

What Does An ENT Treat?

Again, these pediatric specialists treat conditions and diseases of the E-N-T—or ear, nose, and throat. But this doesn't mean you need to schedule an appointment with this type of doctor for every earache or sore throat. 

Otolaryngology practices treat children with a variety of head and neck issues. These include chronic otitis media (ear infections), tonsil disorders, adenoid disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, masses of the neck or head, chronic or severe sinus infections, and chronic sore throat. An ENT can also diagnose and treat disorders that cause feeding and swallowing issues, persistent or intrusive snoring, and long-term nasal congestion.

Are ENT's Surgeons?

These specialists won't just examine your child and diagnose an ear, nose, or throat issue. The ENT can also provide treatment options—including surgery. Some diseases or conditions of the head and neck require surgery to correct. Chronic tonsillitis, severe adenoid inflammation, and masses or tumors of the neck or head area may require surgery to correct. 

Should Your Child See A Pediatric or General ENT?

You wouldn't bring your child to your PCP (primary care physician) when they have a fever or other similar medical issue. Instead, you call the pediatrician's office. 

Like general pediatricians, pediatric ENTs also have the specialized training needed to work with and treat children. This includes additional training and education that focuses on head and neck anatomy/physiology of the growing child. These doctors are also specialists in diseases that affect children and the tests commonly used to diagnose them.

How Can You Find A Pediatric ENT?

Start with your child's pediatrician. If your child has a persistent problem or an ear, nose, and throat condition that gets in the way of their daily activities, ability to eat, ability to speak, or engage in normal daily activities (such as school), talk to the pediatrician about a referral to a specialist. 

Ear, nose, and throat conditions and illnesses are common in childhood. Constant exposure to viruses and bacteria in group school or daycare settings, the pediatric patient's developing immune system, and the inner anatomy (smaller Eustachian tubes) may make it more likely that some children experience more or more severe ear infections and other similar issues. Most pediatricians are used to seeing patients with ENT-related problems and know the local specialists who treat more serious disorders.