Ear, nose and throat specialists can help your child with everything from ear infections to snoring.
You’ve more than likely taken your child to the doctor at least once for an ear infection. In fact, ear infections are so common that they rank as the number one reason parents make pediatric appointments. Other ear, nose and throat problems also top the list of what prompts parents to take their children to the doctor. But, how do you know if your child’s ear infection or sore throat is something more serious? When should you make the trip to see an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)?
Pediatric ENTs are physicians who specialize in ear, nose and throat disorders in children, as well as head and neck diseases. In addition to ear infections, pediatric ENTs diagnose and treat problems with tonsils and adenoids, asthma, allergies and hearing loss. They also perform tonsil and adenoid removal, ear tube surgery, and other head and neck procedures.
When to Make an Appointment
If you suspect your child has an ear, nose or throat condition, start by taking your child to your regular pediatrician. The pediatrician will do a check-up for your child and let you know if a referral to a specialist is the best next step. Be sure to let the pediatrician know if your child has any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent ear infections
- Noisy breathing or trouble breathing through the nose
- Frequent or long-lasting sinus infections
- Frequent nose bleeds
- Hearing loss
These can be signs of conditions such as enlarged adenoids, which might require surgery. Snoring, while often just a result of allergies or a cold, can also be a sign of a sleep disorder if it occurs on a regular basis. Share any symptoms your child has that concern you with your child’s pediatrician.
Just a sore throat?
If your child has the following symptoms along with a sore throat, it might be tonsillitis:
- Red or swollen tonsils
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swollen glands
- Bad breath
- White coating on the tonsils
Ears and Tonsils
If your child experiences frequent ear infections or recurring cases of tonsillitis, you’re not alone. Two of the most common procedures performed by ENTs include ear tube surgery and tonsillectomy. If your child gets several ear infections per year and antibiotics don’t seem to help, an ENT may recommend having tubes placed in your child’s eardrums to prevent fluid backup and to open the airways. Likewise, if your child gets repeated cases of tonsillitis, an ENT may recommend a tonsillectomy, which is a surgery performed to remove the tonsils.