Otolaryngologist/Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor (ENT)

A pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor is a specialist trained to diagnose and treat children with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, or throat.  Not all ENTs specialize in children, so it’s important to ask about their level of expertise in working with children before your first appointment.  Additionally, not all pediatric ENTs specialize in ears, so it’s important to ask about their level of expertise in this area as well.  An ENT doctor (also called an otolaryngologist) can tell you if there is a medical condition in your child’s outer, middle, or inner ear that is causing the hearing loss by asking some questions and doing a medical examination.  The doctor can also answer your questions about medical or surgical treatments.  This examination will help ensure that intervention offers within the “1-3-6” timeline (hearing screening before 1 month of age, hearing diagnostic evaluation before 3 months of age, and early intervention before 6 months of age).  For children who develop hearing loss after birth, this examination is equally important in helping to ensure that intervention occurs within a timely manner.

An ENT with expertise in evaluating and treating infants and young children with hearing loss will offer the best care for your baby.  The ENT provides medical clearance for hearing aids and should work closely with your audiologist and pediatrician to coordinate this time-sensitive care.

 

line drawing of otolaryngologist

Sample questions to ask your ENT:

  1. Do you have experience in evaluating and treating infants and young children with hearing loss?
  2. Do you have the most recent report from my child’s audiologist (hearing specialist)?
  3. What information will your examination provide to help me better understand my child’s hearing loss?
  4. What medical treatments are available? For example, ear tubes, other surgery?
  5. Are you able to conduct a genetic evaluation for my child or will he/she need to be referred for further genetics testing?
  6. Does my child’s otological evaluation report include medical clearance for hearing aids? Who will provide a copy of this report to his/her audiologist and pediatrician?
  7. How often will we meet with you: one time or ongoing?

 

(Sample questions adapted from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/index.html )