What is Otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology (pronounced oh/toe/lair/in/goll/oh/jee) is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians.

Their special skills include diagnosing and managing diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. Otolaryngologists diagnose, treat, and manage specialty-specific disorders as well as many primary care problems in both children and adults.

What do Otolaryngologists treat?

The Ears-Hearing loss affects one in ten North Americans. The unique domain of otolaryngologists is the treatment of ear disorders. They are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), nerve pain, and facial and cranial nerve disorders. Otolaryngologists also manage congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.

The Nose-About 35 million people develop chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in America. Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of otolaryngologists. Management of the nasal area includes allergies and sense of smell. Breathing through, and the appearance of, the nose are also part of otolaryngologists' expertise.

The Throat-Communicating (speech and singing) and eating a meal all involve this vital area. Also specific to otolaryngologists is expertise in managing diseases of the larynx (voice box) and the upper aero-digestive tract or esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders.

The Head and Neck-This part of the body includes the important nerves that control sight, smell, hearing, and the face. In the head and neck area, otolaryngologists are trained to treat infectious diseases, both benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors, and deformities of the face. They can perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

How do you become an Otolaryngologist?

Otolaryngologists are ready to start practicing after completing up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training. To qualify for certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must first complete college, medical school (usually four years), and at least five years of specialty training. Next, the physician must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology examination.

How do allergy drops work?

This well-researched approach to immunotherapy is known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), and it has helped thousands of people worldwide combat the symptoms of allergies and chronic sinusitis. And while it’s a relatively new practice in the U.S., it has been successfully used in Europe for more than 30 years.

Much like injection therapy, sublingual immunotherapy delivers a slowly increasing dose of FDA approved antigen that over time can build the body’s tolerance to an allergen. Eventually, this desensitization to the allergen results in fewer symptoms and medication needs.

However, unlike injection therapy, and rather than administering shots, allergy drops are placed under the tongue and affect the immune system through the mouth—the dendritic cells through the oral mucosa—which research shows to be a friendlier and more effective route to building tolerance.

What are some other advantages of allergy drops?

Allergy drops are not only painless—they’re simple to use and take next to no time to administer. Once an allergist establishes the nature of the allergies, there is not even a need for a monthly visit. And because treatment is so easy, patients are more likely to follow through and see results and enjoy an improved quality of life.

In addition, testing requires minimal lab work—usually just a single a blood draw—and limited need for skin tests.