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What is otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology is the area of medicine dealing with the oral cavity and salivary glands, diseases of the pharynx and larynx, disorders of the vocal chords, allergic complaints, hearing and balance systems, the nose and sinuses as well as the sense of smell and taste. The most common complaints are middle ear infection, infection and inflammation of the pharynx and larynx, enlargement and inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids, nose polyps and inflammation of the sinuses. When should we see an otolaryngologist?
You should definitely see an otolaryngologist in the following cases:
  • hoarseness lasting more than three weeks,
  • chronic tonsil inflammation,
  • repeated middle ear infections,
  • sudden hearing loss, ringing ear, dizziness.

What happens during a general otolaryngology examination?

  • The doctor will first ask you details regarding your previous illnesses and then do an examination as follows: Ear: the outer ear and the ear drum are checked. Irrigation or suction of the ear canal may follow for removal of ear wax. Hearing will be tested with a tuning fork.
  • Nose: external shape examined, sinuses tapped for sensitivity, x-ray taken of the paranasal sinuses, if necessary. The inside of the nose examined with the nasal speculum and suction, culture and sample taken of discharge, as needed.
  • Throat: the oral cavity is examined, the throat and tonsils checked with a tongue depressor, tonsils checked for discharge, the pharynx checked. Should there be discharge from the tonsils or its residuals, or there is suspicion of a focus, then a culture sample should be taken of the tonsil discharge.
  • Larynx: the examination should only be performed following instructions since it requires the patient’s cooperation. If the examination is not successful, it can be tried again under local anaesthesia (Lidocaine spray). The same method applies to the examination of the epipharynx.
  • Lastly, the neck, the parotid regions and the lymph nodes of the neck are palpated.