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Finding the right ENT Specialist

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Otolaryngologists are more commonly known as ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors, and they can assist with a variety of different health concerns, including – but not limited to – the following:

•    Ear infections

•    Persistent allergies

•    Tumors – both benign and malignant – that are located in the head, neck, or throat region

•    Disorders related to balance, such as Meniere’s Disease

•    Conditions relating to the sinuses, such as sinusitis

•    Throat conditions, such as Laryngeal polyps

If you are experiencing any of the above conditions, or are seeking a diagnosis for an ENT-related issue, then here’s what you need to know about finding the right otolaryngologist for your needs:

Consider contacting your insurance provider first

If you will be using your insurance for your ENT appointments, then calling your provider should always be your first step. First and foremost, you will need to find out if your insurer requires you to be referred to an ENT by your primary physician; this is not the case for all policies, but if it applies to yours, then you will need to follow this route to obtain the required referral. Secondly, if you do not need to be referred to an ENT, your insurer will be able to provide a list of otolaryngologists in your area who accept your policies, which gives you an important starting point for further research.

Ask your primary care physician for recommendations

Even if you are not required to request a referral from your primary doctor, it’s still worth asking their recommendations on local ENTs. Most primary care doctors will be accustomed to working with ENTs, so using this insider knowledge can significantly help to improve your chances of finding the right ENT for your needs.

Request recommendations from your friends and family

It is fairly likely that you already know someone who has visited an ENT and may thus be able to provide a recommendation. It’s worth asking your friends and family if they have any prior experience with doctors in your area, or even if they have heard through the grapevine that a particular doctor has a good reputation. The more recommendations you can gather, the better.

Check specializations

After obtaining a list of recommendations from your doctor and people you know, you can begin to research each ENT individually. When doing so, it’s essential to consider that many ENTs offer specialized care in particular issues, in addition to overall care. As a result, you’ll need to check that the recommendations that you have received are for doctors with the correct specialization for your needs; this information will usually be found on their website, or you can simply call the clinic and ask.

Narrowing down the list of recommendations

At this point, you should have a – potentially long – list of ENTs who have been recommended to you, so you can now narrow down your results.

•    Start by calling each clinic and verifying that they accept your insurance coverage; even if your insurer has confirmed this to you, it’s still worth checking.

•    Ask if they need a referral from a primary care physician or if you can schedule an appointment yourself.

•    Request an idea of what the appointment availability is like; if a clinic has a long wait for appointments, then you may wish to consider looking elsewhere.

•    Ask about appointment times also and ensure that the available time slots will work with your existing schedule.

Making the final decision

By this point, you should have a concise list of ENT specialists that meet your requirements and have been recommended by people you can trust. As a result, narrowing down further is primarily a question of your personal preferences. You have done much of the background work by this point, so you can be fairly confident that any ENT on your list will be suitable for your needs – all you have to do is make the final decision. If you need any further input before making the final call, it can be helpful to look for reviews online and – if possible – visit the clinic in person to get an idea of the surroundings.

Make your first appointment

After all of the above work, you can make your first appointment with – or, if necessary, ask your primary care physician to refer you to – your chosen ENT specialist.

Finding the right ENT for your needs can seem complicated if you are doing it for the first time, but with the tips above, you should be able to find a great otolaryngologist who can assist you with all of your ENT needs.

To learn more about ENT Physicians Inc. and how we can help you take better care of your ear, nose and throat health, then please call 419-776-5028.