Conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat are some of the most common reasons for pediatrician visits each year. One or two ear infections, sinus infections, or throat infections may be relatively normal for the average child. More than this and we need to start looking for the underlying cause of recurring infections and symptoms. Children can receive a good deal of care from their primary pediatrician but may at some point receive more benefit from a consultation with an ENT specialist.
The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas have six locations in McKinney, Plano, Frisco, Allen, Carrollton, and Celina, TX. We are proud to serve patients of all ages with friendly, compassionate care. Contact us at 972-984-1050 to schedule a visit at an office near you.
What Exactly Does a Pediatric ENT Specialist Do?
An ENT specialist has additional training beyond medical school that is focused on conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat. This doctor can help diagnose and properly treat a wide variety of issues that involve these areas. In terms of pediatric ENT, the primary conditions that require treatment include chronic otitis media, your average ear infection. Children can continually struggle with ear infections due to the horizontal positioning of the ear canals in early childhood. Chronic runny nose or nasal congestion are other common problems for which children may receive care from an ENT specialist.
To properly diagnose ears, nose, and throat conditions, an ENT specialist may perform a range of different types of examinations and tests. This provides the most accurate picture of the patient’s health. Common ENT screenings include audiograms, which test a child’s hearing, and visual examinations of the ears, nose, and throat.
At What Age Should a Child First See a Pediatric ENT Specialist?
The vast majority of pediatrician calls that occur each year have to do with a condition affecting the ears, nose, or throat. According to statistics, nearly 30 million pediatrician visits each year focus on ear infection treatment. During early childhood, the ears, nose, and throat are not fully developed. This doesn’t occur until around age 6. Until that time, a child may experience numerous symptoms related to sinus drainage and bacteria that accumulate in these underdeveloped areas. Age is not the primary factor to consider when determining if your child should see an ENT specialist. More importantly, it is their symptoms and frequency of necessary treatment from their pediatrician.
How Often Should My Child Get a Check-up with a Pediatric ENT Specialist?
Unless your child is dealing with a chronic ears, nose, or throat issue, they may only need to see their ENT once or twice. Your doctor will discuss the recommended visit schedule based on your child’s condition and treatment plan. In some instances, periodic check-ups may be needed. An example of such a situation may be that your child has tubes placed in their ears. In this case, they may need to have their ears checked a few times a year to ensure that the tubes are still in place. Once the tubes are removed, you may not need subsequent check-ups.
What Are Telltale Signs My Child Needs to See a Pediatric ENT Specialist?
Problems that affect the ears, nose, and throat present similarly in children and adults. The difference is that children may lack the ability to communicate their symptoms to their caregivers. If those symptoms are not visible, they may get missed. Signs that a consultation with an ENT may be warranted include a child rubbing their ears frequently. Nonverbal children may become extra fussy as a result of symptoms like ear pain or nasal congestion. An ENT consult may be necessary if your child has been treated multiple times by their pediatrician for an ear, nose, or throat infection or other symptoms that seem to recur at least a few times a year. Other signs that your child could benefit from an ENT consult include snoring, frequent nasal drainage, frequent congestion or mouth-breathing, frequent sore throat or sinus infections, or signs of hearing impairment.
Will My Child Be in Pain During Their Visit?
Your child’s appointment will follow their primary complaint or symptoms. For example, if your child is experiencing chronic ear pain or has been treated for numerous ear infections already, your ENT will focus the examination on their ears. The doctor uses special instruments for each aspect of the ENT examination, including small lights and cameras when necessary, or a type of microscope to expand the visual field of study. At no point in the examination should your child be in pain. Some special examinations may feel odd, but not painful. Understandably, your child may also feel nervous to some extent. You can expect your doctor and the friendly staff to provide care that is as comfortable as possible for your child based on their age and understanding of their explanations of their processes. If you have questions before or during your child’s ENT exam, please do not hesitate to ask.
Schedule A Consultation
To learn more about pediatric ENT care, please contact one of our offices today at 972.984.1050 to schedule an appointment.