Otolaryngology or ENT (ear, nose and throat) is the branch of medicine and surgery that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and head and neck disorders.
Otolaryngologists are ready to begin practicing after completing up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training. To qualify for certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must first complete four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school, and at least five years of specialty training. Following the training, the physician must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology examination. In addition, some otolaryngologists pursue a one- or two- year fellowship for more extensive training in one of seven subspecialty areas. An otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, for example, provides medical and surgical care specifically for patients with diseases and disorders that affect the ears, nose and throat, the respiratory and upper alimentary systems, and structures of the head and neck. Many otolaryngologists choose to focus on one or more subspecialty areas that include Allergy, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery, Laryngology, Otology/Audiology, Pediatric Otolaryngology and Rhinology.
Allergy- This area focuses on treatment by medication, immunotherapy (allergy shots) and/or avoidance of pollen, dust, mold, food, and other sensitivities that affect the ear, nose, and throat. The American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), founded in 1941, represents over 2,700 otolaryngologists and health care providers. Their website offers information on this concentration as well as covers topics related to research and other current developments.
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery- This branch deals with cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive surgical treatment of abnormalities of the face and neck. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill offers a variety of educational and research related materials on this medical concentration.
Head and Neck- This field focuses primarily upon cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the head and neck, including the thyroid and parathyroid. Johns Hopkins University provides an overview on Head and Neck Otolaryngology as well as materials for further interest and research.
Laryngology- This area focuses on disorders of the throat, including voice and swallowing problems, such as sore throat, hoarseness, swallowing disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease. The American Laryngological Society (ALS) is a scholarly organization composed of physicians and scientists who have made significant contributions to the care of patients with disorders of the larynx and upper aerodigestive tract.
Otology and Neurotology-This field focuses on the diseases of the ear, including trauma or injury, cancer, and nerve pathway disorders, which affect hearing and balance. This resource offers a variety of information and images related to the study of otology.
Pediatric Otolaryngology-This specialization focuses on diseases in children with special problems including birth defects in the head and neck and developmental delays including ear infections, tonsil and adenoid infections, airway problems, Down’s syndrome, allergies and sinus related diseases. Johns Hopkins University offers a wealth of information on conditions, treatments, and research topics related to this area.
Rhinology- This field is devoted exclusively to disorders of the nose and sinuses including sinus disorder, nose bleed, stuffy nose, and loss of smell. The American Rhinologic Society (ARS) provides general information as well as other educational materials related to this specialization.
General Educational Links
Atlas of Head and Neck Pathology- This comprehensive atlas from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center provides a variety of topics, definitions, diagrams, and visuals related to key otolaryngoligical terms and concepts.
Clinical Otolaryngology Online- This resource offers interactive patient scenarios in order to prepare the learner for a variety of common otolaryngologic situations. Clinical Otolaryngology Online (COOL) is an engaging learning experience for PCPs, NPs, PAs, medical students, and any health professional who encounters otolaryngologic symptoms.
Martindale’s Health Science Guide- This resource is available as a free e-book and contains topics related to primary care otolaryngology, including general and specific information on hearing loss, nasal obstruction, thyroid, head, and neck cancer as well as skin cancer.
Nose and Mouth Anatomy – This resource is available through Emory University and offers information and labeled diagrams on the nose and mouth.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery- The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) is the world’s largest organization representing medical specialists who treat the ear, nose, throat, and other related structures of the head and neck. The Academy represents more than 12,000 otolaryngologist—head and neck surgeons who diagnose and treat disorders of those areas. The AAO-HNS Foundation promotes the art, science, and ethical practice of otolaryngology through education and research.
Association for Research in Otolaryngology – The Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) is an organization that promotes and advances research, both basic and clinical, in the broad field of Otolaryngology and related areas.
Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses-The Society of Otorhinolarygology and Head-Neck Nurses (SOHN) fosters the professional growth of the ORL nurses through education and research.
Patient Education Center- This Patient Education Center provides information and answers to specific questions about topics in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
American Journal of Otolaryngology – The American Journal of Otolaryngology (AJO) presents information on developments in otology, neurotology, audiology, rhinology, allergy, laryngology, speech science, bronchoesophagology, facial plastic surgery, and head and neck surgery.
International Journal of Otolaryngology- The International Journal of Otolaryngology (IJO) is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles, review articles, and clinical studies in all areas of otolaryngology.
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery-Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (OTO) is the official peer-reviewed publication of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. This journal publishes contemporary, ethical, clinically relevant information in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery (ear, nose, throat, head, and neck disorders) that can be used by otolaryngologists, clinicians, scientists, and specialists to improve patient care and public health.