Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)
Pediatric Otolaryngology Physicians
Pediatric otolaryngologists treat children with ear, nose and throat (ENT) problems. They also address head and neck medical and surgical issues. ENT issues are fairly common in children. While many can be serious if left untreated, most conditions can be treated early in the child’s life to prevent long-term issues.
ENT doctors most commonly treat:
- Recurring ear infections
- Tonsil and adenoid disease
- Nose and sinus conditions
- Hearing loss and deafness
- Cochlear implantation
Keep reading to learn more about East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s various ENT teams and their strategies for treating different conditions.
ENT doctors often work closely with audiologists. These speech and hearing specialists do tests with your child to measure their hearing, brain's response to sound and how well all parts of their ear are working. The audiologists can fit your child for a hearing aid, ear plugs and even cochlear implants. They also may test your child for central auditory processing disorder, which happens when your child does not process the information they hear because their brain is not fully coordinated with their ears.
After your child is diagnosed with a communication disorder or hearing loss, our audiologists will work with their primary care doctor, teachers, and family to create a special plan for them. You will also be referred to communications specialists and speech language pathologists to provide your child with the most comprehensive care possible.
One of the most common surgeries in the country is the tonsillectomy, which is the removal of the tonsils. Your ENT doctor will recommend the removal of your child's tonsils if they are affecting your child's breathing, sleeping or swallowing or causing frequent infections.
A tonsillectomy takes between 30 to 45 minutes for most patients. The ENT doctor will remove your child's tonsils through the mouth. Your child will have a sore throat after the surgery and require medicine to ease the pain. Your child will have to be excused from school for one week to recover.
Ear Infections and Ear Tubes
Babies and young children tend to get more ear infections than older children and adults. Because their body parts are smaller and always developing, it is harder for fluid to drain from the middle ear, which causes infection. Many children grow out of ear infections before surgery is required.
Symptoms of ear infections include:
- Hearing loss
If your child is having repeated ear infections in a year, they may need ear tubes put into their eardrum by our ENT doctor. The tubes allow fluid to drain into the ear canal without getting caught in the eardrum. Tubes last between six months and two years. The body will push out the tubes on its own when the ear canal has fully developed.
The ear tube surgery takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is done under anesthesia. Your child may be able to hear better almost immediately after the surgery.
We’re Ready to Help You & Your Family
Providing medical care to children is a heavy responsibility, and one we hold with the highest regard. Our medical team goes above and beyond to help kids overcome injury and illness and life happy, fulfilling lives.