As a medical discipline, Otolaryngology pays attention to ears, nose, and throat. It is also referred to as Otolaryngology- head and neck surgery, primarily due to the fact that Otolaryngologists undergo training in medicine as well as surgery. Commonly Otolaryngologists are also called ENT doctors, where ENT stands for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Distinct from other physicians, Otolaryngologists acquire knowledge and training to perform surgical operations on the sensitive and complicated tissues of the neck.
Roles of an Otolaryngologist
Given the fact that Otolaryngologists are capable of both administering medical treatment and perform surgery, they are able to serve in different roles. Some of them are as under:
Patients who experience hearing loss, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise or tinnitus, nerve pain, and other such facial and cranial nerve disorders are brought to the attention of Otolaryngologists.
They are tasked with managing congenital or birth disorders of the inner and outer ear.
ENT doctors provide medical care to individuals suffering from nasal cavities and chronic sinuses. Otolaryngologists are also tasked with diagnosis, mitigation, and treatment of allergies, sinusitis, smell disorders, and polyps.
ENT doctors treat nasal obstruction that occurs because of a deviated septum. They also perform rhinoplasty surgery that essentially corrects the nose shape.
Otolaryngologists tackle diseases of the larynx or voice box. They also treat diseases that affect the upper aero-digestive tract or oesophagus. People suffering distress in swallowing or voice-related disorders are also handled by ENT specialists.
Otolaryngologists are also uniquely equipped to deal with infections diseases in the head and neck region. Whether it is a benign or a more severe tumour like cancer, ENT specialists are trained to tackle both.
ENT specialists also undertake cosmetic surgeries, plastic surgeries, and reconstructive operations.
Responsibilities of an Otolaryngologist
The primary responsibility of an Otolaryngologist is to diagnose diseases that impact the ear, nose, upper pharynx, larynx, oral cavity, and other parts of the head and neck. Based on the diagnosis, ENT specialists provide care and treatment to the patients. Below are some other responsibilities that Otolaryngologists fulfill:
ENT specialists are required to assess the conditions of the organs that are impacted by diseases by going through patients’ records and test results, like the x-rays reports.
After figuring out which kind of disorder it is and how severe it is, Otolaryngologists are required to prescribe medications or perform a surgical intervention.
ENT specialists are also tasked with reconstructive surgeries. They also perform operations to install cochlear implants.
Otolaryngologists are also responsible for providing medical care to patients who suffer from sleep disorders.
Otolaryngologists are required to work in close collaboration with other physicians.
Additional Skills required by Otolaryngologists
Apart from the qualification and training required, there are other skills that an Otolaryngologist can make use of:
Having physical stamina is essential for an Otolaryngologist. It is because Otolaryngologists often work long hours, and therefore, strong physical endurance is required.
Given how Otolaryngologists are often required to work with other medical specialists, they should have good interpersonal skills that would allow them to collaborate well with other physicians.
Good communication skills is also an incremental skill for ENT doctors to have. By listening to patients carefully, they will be able to understand what the patients are bothered with. They will also be able to better convey the intricacies of the disease and the course of treatment that they will be taking to tackle the disease if they have good verbal and written communication skills.
Decent hand-eye coordination is also a crucial skill, especially for an Otolaryngologist.
Current Required Educations for a career in Otolaryngology
The education and training required for a career in Otolaryngologist involve the following steps:
Candidates must finish 4 years of college and then 4 years of medical school.
After that, one must finish the 5-year residency program.
First-year students have to dedicate a considerable amount of time towards training and learning about basic surgery, emergency medicine, critical care, and anaesthesia.
As an Otolaryngology resident, one also has to undertake an additional 51-month progressive education in their specialisation. Residents are required to work as chief resident in a recognised institution, during the final year of the program.
After completing this training, one can take an exam conducted by the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) to obtain full certification.
After completing the above education and training, Otolaryngologists can either choose to practice as an ENT specialist, or they can continue their education and finish a fellowship, which may take 1 or 2 years. Fellowship is intense, as it covers only one out of eight subspecialties.
Careers path for Otolaryngologists
There are several career opportunities that Otolaryngologists can explore by specializing in any of the below fields:
Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery (specialization in reconstructive surgeries performed on head, face, and neck)
Audiology and speech/language pathology
- Pay Scale as per the Experience
ENT specialists are generously compensated. It is one of the most highly paid medical specialties in the US. On average, an Otolaryngologist earns around $381,971 in the US, as per March 2021 statistics. Even though earnings may differ depending upon factors such as experience and specializations, etc., on average, an ENT specialist is able to earn anywhere between $324,084 and $444,397 in the US.
- Top health centers/hospitals to work with
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York
Mayo Clinic, Rochester
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre, Columbus
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City
UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
- Other Employment Opportunities
There are several other job opportunities that can be unlocked by Otolaryngologists, in any of the following fields of specialization:
Facial cosmetic surgery
Sleep apnea surgery
Skull base surgery
Pro & Cons of being an Otolaryngologist
Otolaryngologists find immense work satisfaction as they get to provide medical care and treatment to patients affected by ear, nose, and throat diseases.
There is a lot of scope for advanced research in the field of Otolaryngology.
In comparison to other specialties, there are fewer emergency scenarios.
ENT specialists get to work with the latest technological equipment and tools.
ENT specialists work for long hours, which can be quite grueling.
As they operate in delicate regions of the ear, nose, and throat, ENT surgeons encounter a high level of pressure and stress on the job.
Even though Otolaryngologists work under high levels of pressure, they find immense satisfaction in the work they do and the progress their patients are able to make because of their efforts. LikeHire is providing a platform to healthcare professionals, where they could be found by recruiters. Link Hire is bridging the gap between recruiters and medical professionals, and by doing that, it is opening up amazing opportunities for healthcare professionals to further their careers.