Summary: An Otololaryngologist, more popularly known as ENT, is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating medical conditions that affect the ears, nose, throat, sinuses, and related structures of the head and neck. Most Otolaryngologists operate in private practice although some work in academic settings.
Duties: Otolaryngologists diagnose and treat diseases of the ear, nose, upper pharynx, larynx, oral cavity, and other head and neck structures. They examine the affected organs with the use of equipment such as x-ray machines, fluoroscopes, microscopes, nasoscopes, prisms, and audiometers. They find out the nature and severity of the disorder, and prescribe medications or conduct surgery. Otolaryngologists may also perform tests to find out the severity of hearing or speech loss due to diseases or injuries; perform reconstructive surgery to treat birth defects; remove benign and malignant tumors of the face and neck; install cochlear implants; and treat sleep disorders. Otolaryngologists often work closely with other physicians of other medical specialties to solve various medical issues or perform extensive surgery.
Education and Training Requirements: To obtain a license from the American Board of Otolaryngology, a candidate must complete college and medical school. They are then required to complete a two-year internship in general surgery, and a three-year residency program in Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. This may take up to 15 years, and then they must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology examination. Some Otolaryngologists who want to sub specialize may complete a one to two-year training through fellowships.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: Aside from being knowledgeable in this field, Otolaryngologists should also have the stamina required to work long hours. They should be able to get along with people and instill confidence, so excellent communication skills is a must. They should also have excellent hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, and critical thinking. They should also have a strong moral philosophy, and is able to work well under stressful conditions.
Working Conditions: The working conditions of Otolaryngologists vary depending on where they work. Those who work in hospitals could be called in for an emergency surgery so they are on call 24 hours a day. However, those in private practice or joined colleague practice may see patients on their own schedule, allowing flexibility, in the comfort of their own office. Some Otolaryngologists may also find themselves teaching at universities and hospitals, or conducting research in laboratories for pharmaceutical companies.
Salary: The median salary of an Otolaryngologist is $129,000 per year. This can vary greatly due to company, type and size of practice, geographical location, hours worked per week, and benefits.