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Otology at Capital ENT and Sinus Center in Austin

7 Important Questions to Ask Your ENT Doctor

Did you know that there are about 8,000-8,500 ENT doctors practicing in the United States?

Like any other part of your body, your ear, nose, and throat can suffer from a wide range of problems and require specialized care. From issues with breathing and swallowing to hearing loss and sleep troubles, these problems can be detrimental to your health and affect your quality of life.

Luckily, you can visit an ENT doctor near you to help diagnose and treat these problems. While ENT doctors have the best intentions, they may not always recognize your greatest need. This is
why it’s important to take an active role and ask questions when consulting with your doctor.

If you are planning on visiting an ENT doctor, below are some questions you may want to ask them during your next visit.

1. Do You Have the Training and Experience to Handle ENT Problems?

One of the most important questions you should ask before selecting which ENT doctor to work with is if they have the qualifications to handle your problems. Check that the doctor is board
certified in otolaryngology. They should have attended medical school for 4 years and then have at least 5 years of special training.

Your ENT should pass an exam to be certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology as well. You can also ask if the ENT doctor has training in a subspecialty. These subspecialties may

  • Allergy: These doctors treat food allergies and environmental allergies such as pet dander or pollen.
  • Otology and neurotology: If you have any kind of issue with your ears, ENT doctors with training in this subspecialty can help
  • Head and neck: They handle issues like tumor in your nose, throat, sinuses, voice box, or upper esophagus
  • Laryngology: These ENT doctors treat diseases and injuries that affect your vocal cords and voice box
  • Facial and reconstructive surgery: They can offer cosmetic surgery for people born with issues that need to be fixed like cleft palate or those involved in an accident
  • Pediatric ENT: If you have a child with ear, nose, and throat problems, you may need a pediatric ENT doctor

Additionally, you should inquire about the doctor’s experience. The more experience an ENT doctor has with treating a condition, the better your results are likely to be.

2. What Possible Diagnoses Would Explain My Symptoms?

When you visit an ENT doctor, you need to know the type of diagnosis that explains your symptoms since there are many different ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems. These issues can briefly be classified into:

  • Ear problems: It includes trouble with balance, hearing loss, a buildup of earwax, ringing in the ears, ruptured eardrums, and ear infections.
  • Nose problems: Nasal issues like allergies, persistent stuffy nose, sinus infection, nasal polyps, or growths
  • Throat problems: You may have issues like tonsillitis, voice issues, and difficulty swallowing

Probing them to tell you the type of ENT problem you are suffering from will give you peace of mind. You can also your doctor to explain in plain language the ENT tests you must undergo so that they come up with a proper diagnosis.

3. What Are My Treatment Options?

ENT care does not have a one-size-fits-all solution to ear, nose, and throat problems. From medication and surgery to therapy, treatment can vary depending on your condition. This is why you need to ask your doctor to explain your personalized treatment options.

If your ENT doctor prescribes a drug for your condition, ensure you inquire how often and for how long you should take it. Check with your doctor to see if the drug interacts well with other medications, you may be taking.

Also, ask about the side effects of your treatment option. This will help you know what to do if you experience them. If you can’t handle the side effects, you may ask your doctor about alternative treatment options.

4. What Is the Long-Term Prognosis for My ENT Condition?

Your ENT condition may be acute or chronic. That’s why it is essential to understand the timeline for which you will be dealing with your ear, nose, and throat problems.

Since acute ENT conditions like strep throat come on suddenly and last a short time, you may not need prolonged treatments. You may start feeling fine after a few visits to your ENT doctor.

However, chronic ENT conditions are always recurrent and persistent. This means you may have to undertake treatment for a prolonged period. When you understand the type of condition you have, it will help you treat your condition accordingly.

5. What Can I Do, On My Own, to Improve My ENT Condition?

Apart from medical care, there are some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of your ENT problems. You can ask your doctor about things you can do daily to help improve your overall condition.

Depending on your ENT condition, your healthcare provider can recommend simple lifestyle changes to your sleep, diet, exercise, and other habits. This will help you attain positive results during treatment.

6. Is the Condition Likely to Affect My Health in Other Ways?

While ear, nose, and throat problems are easy to distinguish, their symptoms can negatively impact your whole body and overall health. For instance, an ear infection can cause vertigo or dizziness. Other conditions may cause fatigue, migraines, sleep problems, and discomfort.

It’s important to ask your doctor how your specific ENT condition will affect your health. This will help you manage the symptoms properly when they occur. Besides, your ENT doctor can help you deal with any effects that result from your ear, nose, or throat condition.

7. How Much Will Treatment Cost Me?

Although your ENT doctor’s job is to offer quality treatment, your bills can rack up quickly. That’s why you should request an estimate before starting treatment. It offers transparency as you will be able to know the amount of money you have to pay for visits, tests, and treatments.

Since out-of-pocket payments can be costly, ask your ENT doctor if they accept your insurance. This will help you get quality care for less

Consult With a Qualified ENT Doctor for Your Ear, Nose, and Throat Problems

ENT doctors can help with a range of issues affecting your ears, nose, throat, and balance. These specialists perform tests and treatments that are not available with your general physician. 

Have you been searching online for, “an ENT doctor near me?” The aforementioned questions can help you find the best doctor near you. At Capital ENT & Sinus Center, our dependable ENT doctors in Austin and Lakeway offer a broad range of ear, nose, and throat treatment solutions. Request an appointment with our ENT doctor today.

Dr. Wassmuth is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology with Subspecialty Certification in Sleep Medicine. He specializes in chronic sinusitis and obstructive sleep apnea.

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