If you are having problems with your ears, nose, throat or balance you probably need to see an ENT doctor. ENTs (otolaryngologist) are highly trained medical professionals that specialize in diseases and conditions of the ears, nose and throat. In addition, since many balance problems are caused by problems in the ears, ENTs treat balance and vertigo as well.

Finding the right ENT can seem scary. You don’t want to just open the phone book and make an appointment with the first name you see. So, how do you find the right ENT doctor for you?

Do you need a pediatric ENT?

If the ENT is needed to treat your child, you want to make sure you find an ENT with experience in pediatric otolaryngology. Your child and you will feel much better in the hands of someone who is familiar with treating younger patients. If you need a pediatric ENT, make sure that as you identify candidates, you ask if they specialize or have experience in treating children.

Consult your insurance

Since most conditions that are treated by ENTs are covered by medical insurance, your insurance carrier is a good place to start. Your insurance company can tell you what ENTs in your area accept your coverage. Because they deal with so many physicians, they will have a vast database of all the ENTs. You can also find out what ENT treatments are covered by your insurance as well. Your insurance company can also tell you if you need a referral from your primary physician before ENT services will be covered.

Research hospital affiliations

Unlike other physicians, ENTs are also trained as surgeons. This means that your ENT’s hospital will be your hospital if your treatment includes surgery. While many procedures can be performed in the ENT’s office, if surgery in the hospital is required, you want to you will want to be comfortable with the facility used by your ENT.

Assess patient satisfaction

Everyone has different opinions about what makes a good doctor, but that doesn’t mean that patient satisfaction surveys aren’t a good source of information. You can get insights into how the office operates and an idea of bedside manner. HealthGrades is an easy to use resource to find out what other patients think.

Look for an experienced and established ENT

Ask how long the ENT has been in practice and how long he has been associated with the current practice. Are there several other ENTs in the practice and how long do you generally have to wait for appointments. Don’t put your ear, nose or throat health off any longer; find an ENT in your area today!