What Is an ENT Doctor?


ENT doctors treat some of the most common medical problems: those that affect the ears, upper respiratory system, head and neck. The field is broad, with many subspecialties available.

The Facts

  • ENT stands for ears, nose and throat. An ENT doctor treats these areas as well as problems with the head and neck. The technical term for an ENT doctor is an otolaryngologist. ENT is the oldest specialty field of medicine in the United States.


  • There are seven common subspecialties for ENT doctors: otology (treatment of the ear), pediatrics, head and neck oncology, facial plastic surgery, rhinology (treatment of the nose), laryngology (treatment of the throat), and allergy.


  • ENT doctors see patients in their offices and perform surgeries in hospitals. The most common problems treated by ENTs include sinusitis, tonsillitis, sleep apnea, ear infection, allergies, hearing loss, nosebleeds and cancer of the head or neck.


  • ENT doctors must attend four years of college and four years of medical school. Afterward, they complete five years of a residency. Many ENTs also go on to complete one- or two-year fellowships in subspecialties.

Fun Fact

  • More than half of all visits to doctor's offices are for ear, nose and throat problems.

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