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What is an ENT Doctor/Specialist? When Should I See an ENT Near Me?

July 21st, 2022 | 2 min. read

By Laura van de Laar, MD

ENT Doctor Specialist 1

What is an ENT doctor?

An ENT doctor (also known as an otolaryngologist) is a surgeon who specializes in disorders of the ears, nose, and throat. To become an ENT doctor, they must complete four years of medical school followed by five years of ENT residency training. During this training they learn how to diagnose and treat various disorders of the head and neck. Some ENT doctors undergo further training after residency, called fellowship, to become further sub-specialized in one aspect of ENT.

What do ENTs doctors do?

ENT doctors are specialists that treat a variety of ear, nose and throat disorders involving voice, sinuses, ear, pediatric ENT, head and neck cancer and facial reconstructive surgery. They diagnose and treat these illnesses and other head and neck issues (except for eyes). Treatments can include medical management or surgery, depending on the condition.


Do I need a referral to see an ENT specialist?

In most cases, no you do not a referral. Many patients seek out an evaluation with an ENT doctor without referrals. Other times patients are encouraged to see an ENT doctor by another physician to better address their concerns; in many cases a referral is still not required.

You may need a referral if your insurance provider requires a referral for specialist appointments, in which case your primary care provider can submit a referral order.


When should I see an ENT?

There are a variety of reasons to see an ENT. Some more common reasons patients seek an ENT are listed below.


  • Ear pain
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Pressure or fullness in the ear
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Speech delay in children
  • Ear itching


  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
  • Nasal drainage (clear or discolored)
  • Post-nasal drip (drainage down the back of your throat)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sinus pain/headaches


  • Throat pain
  • Feeling like there is a “lump” in your throat
  • Recurrent throat infections
  • Lumps or masses in your neck



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What can I expect at my ENT appointment?

In general, you can expect to meet with your ENT and discuss the concerns that brought you into the office. They will ask you specific questions pertaining to the reason for your visit and then examine your ears, nose and throat. Depending on your reason for the visit they may want to clean your ears, examine your ears more closely with a microscope, perform a hearing test, or look in your nose or throat with a small camera to better assess those areas. After this, they will discuss their findings and recommended treatment with you.


Where can I find an ENT near me?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or have any other ear, nose or throat concerns, we recommend an appointment with an ENT doctor. Luckily there are many Houston ENT & Allergy offices in the greater Houston area, making it convenient for patients to schedule an appointment. Call 281-649-7000 or visit to find an office near you and schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist.

Laura van de Laar, MD