Start of Main Content


What is otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology is a medical specialty that involves medical conditions affecting the ears, throat, and nose. Someone who practices otolaryngology is called an otolaryngologist, ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT.

This medical specialty focuses on the connections between the head and neck and is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. Those trained in otolaryngology can perform surgeries on the complex yet delicate tissues in the neck and head.

Some conditions which otolaryngology treats include:

  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Hearing loss
  • Voice and swallowing disorders
  • Tinnitus
  • Sinusitis
  • Benign and malignant tumors
  • Facial deformities
  • Congenital disorders of the inner and outer ear

To practice within otolaryngology, a physician must have completed up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training.

Why is otolaryngology important in healthcare?

The ears, nose, and throat tissues are commonly affected by various health conditions, which is why otolaryngologists play a crucial role in healthcare.

As a specialty that treats disorders that affect three of the senses (sound, smell, and taste), otolaryngology is crucial for managing these senses that contribute to well-being. Furthermore, otolaryngology is vital for those with balance disorders and some types of cancer.