What is otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology is the medical specialty that focuses on medical and surgical treatment for patients who have disorders of the:

Anatomy of the ear, nose, and throat
Click Image to Enlarge
  • Ear, which may include:
    • Hearing problems
    • Ear infections
    • Balance disorders
    • Tinnitus
    • Some cranial nerve disorders
  • Nose, which may include:
    • Allergies
    • Problems with smelling
    • Appearance of the nose
  • Throat, which may include:
    • Diseases of the larynx (voice box)
    • Upper aero-digestive tract disorders
    • Disorders involving the esophagus
    • Voice disorders
    • Swallowing disorders
  • Related structures of the head and neck, which may include:
    • Nerves that control sight, smell, hearing, and the face
    • Infectious diseases
    • Benign and malignant tumors
    • Trauma to the face
    • Deformities of the face
    • Cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery

Physicians who specialize in otolaryngology are called otolaryngologists. Sometimes they are referred to as ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists.

Otolaryngologists may also choose to specialize in any of the following:

  • Pediatric otolaryngology (children's disorders)
  • Otology/neurotology (ears, balance, and tinnitus)
  • Allergy
  • Facial cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery
  • Head and neck diseases
  • Laryngology (throat)
  • Rhinology (nose)

Learn More About Sharp
Sharp HealthCare is San Diego's health care leader with seven hospitals, two medical groups and a health plan. Learn more about our San Diego hospitals, choose a Sharp-affiliated San Diego doctor or browse our comprehensive medical services.