Now that you have been referred to your local ENT department, you may like to know a little more about what they do – and what you can expect to happen during your appointment there.
A hospital ENT department specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ear, nose and throat.
What will happen during my ENT appointment?
When you are referred to an ENT department, you will have a named consultant who will be responsible for your care. This consultant will usually oversee a small team of doctors who work together and report back. When you attend your appointment at the clinic, the consultant will not always be present - and you may instead be seen by a member of the team.
When you arrive for your appointment, you might first be referred to the on-site audiologist
for a hearing test before you see the ENT doctor. If this is the case, the audiologist will look in your ears before testing your hearing using an audiometer. The audiologist may also want to check the health of your middle ear with a tympanometer test
if they feel it necessary. They will then pass your test results to the ENT doctor who will have them ready for when you meet.
Sometimes the ENT doctor will see you before the audiologist has carried out the hearing tests.
The doctor will usually ask you questions about your hearing and any family history of hearing loss.
They will then look in your ears - usually using a small torch-like instrument called an otoscope, although they may occasionally want to take a more detailed look using a special microscope.
Once the ENT doctor has received the results of various hearing tests from the audiologist, they will explain these to you and discuss the options available. If they think that your hearing loss can be treated with medication or surgery, they will discuss this with you – although these treatments will only be appropriate for a minority of people who have particular types of conductive hearing loss.
The ENT doctor will also ask you a few questions about how well you are able to hear in different everyday situations and what difficulties you have been experiencing.