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What Is An ENT Specialist And When Should You See One?

An ENT specialist, also called otolaryngologists, is a highly trained doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the ear, nose, throat and neck. ENT specialists have extensive experience dealing with any related conditions and can also perform specialised ENT treatments, tests and even surgery.

ENT Specialist Consultations And Treatments

While your GP can help with most minor ENT problems, they may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist when certain symptoms are present and persistent. Unlike many other specialists, you don’t need a referral from your doctor as you can also make an appointment with an ENT directly.

However, unless you are in pain or severe discomfort that doesn’t go away, it is best to see your GP first. If they can rule out a simple infection, the ENT will be able to do further testing and find the most suitable treatment plan for you.

As with many specialists, though, not everyone can afford it without medical aid. If you don’t have medical cover or sufficient savings to see an ENT specialist, you can apply for a life-changing medical loan through MediFin.

The Role Of Ear, Nose And Throat Specialists

ENT specialists are experts in both the medical and surgical management of several health conditions. Among others, ear, nose and throat specialists provide treatment and support for the following:

Ear, Nose And Throat Conditions

You may need to see an ENT doctor if you have an ear disorder or condition. This includes hearing impairments, ear infections and disorders that affect balance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or pain in your ear. An ENT specialist can also help treat congenital ear disorders.

ENT specialists also often manage and treat problems associated with the nose, nasal cavity and sinuses. These problems can affect your sense of smell, breathing and physical appearance.

Disorders and conditions that affect the throat can also affect speech, singing, eating, swallowing, and even digestion. An ENT specialist can diagnose, manage, and treat any of these problems.

Conditions Of The Neck

In addition to the ear, nose and throat, ENT doctors also treat related conditions of the head and neck. They are specially trained to manage specific diseases, tumours, trauma, and deformities of the head, neck, and face.

An ENT specialist can perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in these areas as well as manage issues relating to the nerves in the head and neck responsible for sight, smell, hearing and facial movements.

When Should I See An ENT Specialist?

You won’t always need to see an ENT specialist if you have problems with your ears, nose or throat, but it’s often necessary to seek specialist care. Knowing when to see an ear, nose and throat specialist is important to ensure you get the help you need instead of enduring uncomfortable or painful symptoms.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms that may prompt a visit to your nearest ENT specialist:

  • Sore throat, earaches or sinus pain that doesn’t go away, especially if your GP couldn’t provide a diagnosis
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Constant snoring that doesn’t improve with lifestyle changes
  • Snoring linked with breathing problems at night (children and adults)
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • Vertigo, dizziness or any balance problems
  • Losing your voice, hearing or sense of smell (not to be confused with Covid-19 symptoms)
  • Non-emergency blockages in your airway or other breathing problems
  • Any injuries, growths or deformities in the head and neck, including cancer
  • Chronic nasal congestion or frequent nose bleeds

How To Find A Good ENT Specialist

If you experience any other symptoms affecting your ears, nose, throat or balance, you should consult an ENT specialist. There’s no harm in getting a second opinion from a specialist if you are concerned about your original diagnosis. Remember, the quicker you react when you first notice any of these symptoms, the quicker you can receive treatment.

With the help of a MediFin loan, patients can now more easily afford an ENT specialist appointment and treatment. This includes hearing finance, general healthcare finance, general surgery finance and emergency medical loans through e-Fin.

The online loan application process is quick and easy with only a few steps to follow. What’s more, you can find an ENT specialist in South Africa on our extensive doctor directory accessible on our website. Contact MediFin today for more information or to answer any questions you may have.