At some point in time, most people need to see a doctor. In fact, even the healthiest of people can develop issues that warrant medical attention. And depending on your symptoms, you might not know which type doctor you need to see. While all doctors are trained in general health issues, some specialize in certain fields of medicine, like the ear, nose and throat. So, when it comes time to see a doctor for treatment, you need to know the difference between a primary care doctor and an ENT. Read on to learn more about ENT’s and primary care doctors and which one you should go to.
What is an ENT?
ENT is the acronym for ear, nose, and throat specialist. They are also referred to as otolaryngologists. This type of physician specializes in treating medical conditions related to the ears, nose, and throat. In addition to becoming a general practitioner, ENTs go through an extensive, 15-year training program to diagnose and help treat problems that affect the ears, nose, and throat: – Allergies – Throat disorders – Ear conditions – Sleep disorders – Tumors in the neck – Nose trauma Pediatric ENTs are also trained to treat children and perform surgical procedures as well. Surgeries performed by an ENT can range from minor, like nasal turbinate reduction to major reconstructive procedures for patients who sustain damage to their auditory canal or nasal passages.
What is a primary care doctor?
A primary care doctor is someone who takes care of your general health. Primary care doctors are medical professionals we go to for annual checkups, vaccinations, and treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. Primary care doctors can also treat medical conditions relating to the ears, nose, and throat. These conditions may include the following: – Sinusitis – Vertigo – Loss of hearing – Tinnitus. However, your primary care doctor may refer you to an ENT if the above is a link to a more severe underlying medical condition. For example, tinnitus is often a stand-alone issue, however, when it doesn’t respond to treatment, you may need to see an ENT.
Deciding between an ENT or primary care doctor will depend on your symptoms, their severity, and the duration. It will also depend on the mechanism in which your symptoms started and whether your symptoms are related to a pre-existing medical condition. If you need a referral, you should see your primary care doctor first, so you can be referred to an ENT specialist for further evaluation and treatment. If you’re in need of a reputable ENT, contact Alabama Ear Nose and Throat Specialists, LLC at 205-722-6822 to schedule an appointment.