Ear Nose and Throat is a field of medicine frequently referred to as ENT. This is a form of medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat. It also includes the care of associated structures such as the sinuses, larynx and upper pharynx. ENT specialists are trained in both medical and surgical approaches to treat these conditions. Conditions treated include ear infections, hearing loss, balance disorders and facial nerve problems. They also include sinusitis, allergies, sleep apnea and snoring. ENT doctors also treat head and neck cancers such as thyroid cancer and voice disorders such as hoarseness or nodules on the vocal cords.
You may be referred to the Blackrock Health ENT team if you experience a wide range of chronic symptoms. These include hearing loss, dizziness, ringing in the ears, persistent sinus infections, throat pain, or difficulty swallowing. These symptoms can affect your quality of life and may indicate an underlying medical condition. Our ENT specialists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. Treatment options may include medication, surgery, or other non-invasive procedures. Our ENT specialists work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as audiologists and speech therapists, to provide you with comprehensive care.
ENT symptoms that may need a referral
Common ENT conditions include ear infections, sinusitis and tonsillitis. These are everyday problems that can cause you pain and discomfort. Your pharmacist and GP can usually help you manage symptoms and respond to infections. But if you develop chronic or complex ENT conditions you may be referred to a specialist team like the Blackrock Health ENT departments. Our expert team treats patients with the following conditions:
- Chronic or complex ear and hearing conditions
- Chronic or complex throat conditions
- Rhinitis (inflammation inside the nose)
- Sinonasal disease
- Thyroid and parathyroid disease
- Lymphadenopathy (disease of the lymph nodes)
- Salivary gland disease
- Aerodigestive tract disorders
Some ear problems that may require referral to an ENT consultant include:
- Hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Ear infections that are recurrent or persistent
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Ear pain or discomfort
- Earwax build-up that cannot be removed with over-the-counter remedies
- Fluid or discharge coming from the ear
- Abnormal growths or lumps in or around the ear
We can perform tests such as hearing tests, ear exams, and imaging studies to determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan.
Some nose symptoms that may require referral to an ENT consultant include:
- Chronic or recurrent sinus infections
- Nasal congestion or blockage
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Nosebleeds that are persistent or frequent
- Abnormal growths or lumps in the nose (Nasal polyps)
- Deviated septum, which is a shift in the nasal septum that affects breathing
The Blackrock Health ENT team can perform tests such as nasal endoscopy, allergy testing, and imaging studies to determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan.
Some throat problems that may require referral to an ENT consultant include:
- Sore throat that is recurrent or persistent
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Hoarseness or changes in voice
- Chronic cough
- Tonsillitis, which is an infection or inflammation of the tonsils
- Thyroid nodules or enlargement
Our ENT consultants are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of throat-related problems. They may perform tests such as laryngoscopy, swallowing studies, and imaging studies. These help us to determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan.
Diagnostic Tests Used to Identify ENT Issues
Accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure that the correct treatment is given. Blackrock Health ENT consultants use a range of diagnostic tests to identify any issues related to the ear, nose and throat. These tests can include physical examinations, imaging scans, endoscopies and laboratory tests.
Physical examinations may include looking in the ears or down the throat with a lighted scope. Imaging scans such as X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans can provide detailed images of structures such as bone or cartilage. They help us diagnose any underlying causes of symptoms. Endoscopies involve using a small camera on a flexible tube. This is inserted into the nose or mouth to look inside and assess the condition of tissues. Laboratory tests are also used - these identify any infection present which could be causing symptoms.
These diagnostic tests help us diagnose possible causes so we can then suggest appropriate treatments.
Non-Surgical Treatments for ENT Conditions
Some of the most common non-surgical treatments offered by Blackrock Health ENT teams include:
- Medications: Your ENT consultant may prescribe medications such as antibiotics, antihistamines, decongestants, or corticosteroids to treat various ear, nose, and throat conditions.
- Allergy testing and immunotherapy: If you have allergies that are causing their symptoms, our ENT team may perform allergy testing and prescribe immunotherapy, such as allergy shots or sublingual tablets, to help alleviate the symptoms.
- Hearing aids: If you have hearing loss, our ENT departments may recommend hearing aids or other assistive listening devices to help improve your hearing.
- Speech therapy: Our ENT team may refer you to a speech therapist if you have difficulty with speech or swallowing due to a medical condition.
- Tinnitus management: If you have tinnitus (ringing in the ears), our ENT team may recommend sound therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy to help manage your symptoms.
- Endoscopic procedures: Blackrock Health ENT departments can perform endoscopic procedures, such as nasal endoscopy or laryngoscopy. These allow us to examine your nasal passages or throat and to diagnose or treat certain conditions.
These non-surgical treatments are often effective in treating a wide range of ear, nose, and throat conditions. They can often help improve your quality of life without the need for more invasive procedures.
Surgical Procedures for ENT Conditions
If non-surgical treatment is not effective, The Blackrock Health ENT departments can help. We offer a range of surgical treatments - some of the most common include:
- Tonsillectomy: This is the surgical removal of the tonsils, which are two small masses of lymphatic tissue located at the back of the throat. Tonsillectomy is typically performed to treat recurrent tonsillitis or sleep apnea.
- Adenoidectomy: This is the surgical removal of the adenoids, which are small masses of lymphatic tissue located at the back of the nasal cavity. Adenoidectomy is typically performed to treat recurrent ear infections, sinusitis, or sleep apnea.
- Sinus surgery: This is a group of surgical procedures performed to treat chronic sinusitis, which is inflammation of the sinus cavities that lasts for more than three months. Sinus surgery may involve opening up the sinus passages, removing polyps or other growths, or correcting a deviated septum.
- Myringotomy: This is a surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the eardrum to drain fluid from the middle ear. Myringotomy is typically performed to treat chronic ear infections or to improve hearing in patients with persistent fluid buildup in the middle ear.
- Endoscopic sinus surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to treat chronic sinusitis. This condition is defined as inflammation and swelling of the sinuses that lasts for more than three months. Endoscopic sinus surgery involves the use of a small endoscope with a camera to view the sinuses. The endoscope can also be used to remove obstructions such as polyps or other growths to improve drainage and relieve pressure. This is performed under general anaesthesia and has a short recovery time. The surgery is safe and effective, and can provide long-lasting relief from chronic sinusitis.
- ENT balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed by an ENT consultant in a hospital to treat chronic sinusitis. During the procedure, a small balloon catheter is inserted into the sinuses through the nose. The balloon is then inflated to expand the sinus passages, allowing for improved drainage and relief of sinus pressure. This procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and has a short recovery time. Most patients able to return to normal activities within a few days. ENT balloon sinuplasty is generally safe and effective, and can provide long-lasting relief from symptoms of chronic sinusitis. It is often recommended for patients who have not responded well to non-surgical treatments.
- Grommet surgery is a surgical procedure to treat chronic middle ear problems, such as frequent ear infections or hearing loss. During the surgery, a small tube, called a grommet, is inserted into the eardrum to help drain fluid and equalise pressure in the middle ear. This procedure is typically performed under general anaesthesia and has a short recovery time. Most patients able to return to normal activities within a few days. Grommet surgery is generally safe and effective, and can provide long-lasting relief from middle ear problems. It is often recommended for children with chronic ear infections or for adults with persistent hearing loss.
Your Blackrock Health ENT consultant will discuss the risks and benefits of each procedure with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition.
How do I get this?
You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment.
Is this insured?
Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance cover check page here, or by contacting your health insurer.
How do I pay?
If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page here. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.