Frequently Asked Questions

What Does A Typical Appointment With An ENT Specialist involve?

A visit to an ENT specialist or otolaryngologist is different from an average visit to your GP, as the specialist may use instrumentation to allow better visualization of difficult areas.

Outlined below is what to expect from a general ENT visit, however, the consultation and procedures performed will vary dependent on the symptoms and potential problems requiring investigation.

Typically, questions are asked about complaints, relevant past medical history and medication (always bring a current list with you). This is followed by a thorough examination to identify the problem and decide on further management.


The ears are examined by using an instrument called an otoscope, this allows for the identification of normal landmarks and abnormalities. This instrument is made with an illuminating handheld light source with a small amount of magnification attached to it.

Occasionally, the eardrum and canal need to be viewed under magnification and a microscope can be used to provide this. The microscope allows for a more precise view of the ear structures and the use of suction if necessary, to remove wax or debris from an ear canal.


To look at the front of the nose, a simple tool called a nasal speculum together with illumination from a headlight is used to visualize the anatomy and possible abnormalities. In many cases, a flexible instrument called a fiberoptic scope might be used to inspect the nose and throat more thoroughly.


An external examination of the neck is not uncommon to feel for any glands or pathology. This is undertaken manually feeling the different areas of the neck in a methodical fashion. The oral cavity is thoroughly examined often with a tongue depressor and good illumination to visualize the tongue and tonsillar area. It is not uncommon to visualize the back of the nose, pharynx, larynx (voice box) and the vocal cords with a flexible naso-laryngoscope.

Why Do I Need A Hearing Test?

A hearing test, or audiogram, is an important part of your visit. A hearing test helps answer three important questions:

  1. Do you have hearing loss?
  2. What is causing your hearing loss?
  3. What is the best way to improve your hearing?

Along with the physical examination of your ears that will be performed during your visit, the hearing test provides important data to create a more thorough plan of care for you.

Disease or problem specific questions:




Loss of smell?


Please remember that a “throat examination” requires the ability to examine the hidden parts behind the nose and the voice box area. This requires an endoscopic examination (or “scope”) which is easily performed in office as part of an ENT evaluation. Just looking in the mouth gives you some information about the tongue and tonsils but nothing else and then significant and sometimes dangerous diseases can be missed.

What can be done about my snoring?

Snoring is a common problem that may occur alone or in combination with obstructive sleep apnea.

Primary snoring:

Snoring typically is caused by vibration of tissues within the oral pharynx (the uvula and palate). Nasal obstruction can be another cause. In mild snoring, these measures may help: losing weight, sleeping on your side rather than your back, avoiding sedatives and alcohol. Surgery can reduce the size of the soft tissue of uvula and palate, and also relieve nasal obstruction.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

Obstructive apnea is a cessation of breathing that lasts ten seconds or more. Repeated episodes can significantly disrupt sleep. Manifestations of sleep apnea include snoring, restless sleep, and daytime fatigue. Many advances have been made in treatment of sleep apnea.