Pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors specialize in treating conditions related to the ear, nose and throat in children. However, deciding when to seek an ENT’s help can sometimes be confusing – so below, we’ve provided an overview of conditions that can benefit from the attention of a specialist. 

Repeat ear infections 

Children are more likely to get ear infections than adults because their eustachian tubes are horizontal. However, while ear infections are a common childhood ailment that usually resolve with treatment prescribed by a general practitioner, repeated ear infections – more than four times a year – should be referred to an ENT specialist.

Glue ear

Glue ear is a term used to describe a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, and it is very common in children – often as a result of repeated ear infections. The main symptom is hearing loss, which occurs because the fluid in the ear is preventing sounds from reaching the cochlea. The condition can often resolve itself, but if it persists – or your child develops glue ear repeatedly – then a pediatric ENT can help. 

Recurrent tonsillitis 

Tonsillitis involves inflammation of the tonsils, which sit at the back of the throat, and is usually due to an infection. As with ear infections, tonsillitis is common in children and can usually be managed – but recurrent bouts require the attention of a specialist. 

Dysphagia 

Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe difficulty with swallowing, and there can be a number of different reasons the condition develops. Your child may comment on the fact that they are finding it hard to swallow or that swallowing is painful, or you may observe them coughing when trying to eat or drink liquids. Arrange an appointment with an ENT to try and establish the cause of dysphagia and obtain treatment.

Regular nosebleeds 

Nosebleeds are usually harmless and can often be attributed to low humidity – a problem that is often particularly significant during winter when home heating systems are more likely to dry out the air. However, consult a pediatric ENT if your child develops nosebleeds regularly, as there may be an underlying cause – such as nasal polyps – that requires attention.

Snoring while sleeping

Snoring is not usually a cause for concern, and most children will snore fairly regularly. However, if your child’s snoring is particularly loud, or they snore almost every night, then a consultation with a pediatric ENT doctor is advisable. Certain medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, can make snoring more prevalent, so it’s worth getting checked out.

The above are the most common reasons you may want to take your child to see a pediatric ENT doctor, but there may be other situations where visiting an ENT is the right choice too. If you are unsure as to whether an ENT is the right choice, you can always call, explain the situation, and go forward from there.