ENT physicians are also trained in the field of laryngology, which now includes further training for ENT physicians to become a laryngologist. Laryngology is a branch of ENT that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the larynx (voice box), upper airway, and swallowing disorders.
Any patient that has prolonged voice changes or hoarseness that does not improve or resolve in a routine time period, such as 1-3 months, should be evaluated by an ENT. Hoarseness can be considered any voice change perceived by the patient, which may include other symptoms such as voice fatigue, low pitch, vocal breaks or unreliable voice, breathy voice or shortness of breath with speaking, increased effort to speak, rough voice quality, and frequent throat clearing.
During the evaluation, a detailed history will be taken and patients will undergo examination of the larynx (voice box) with scopes to directly look at the vocal cords in the office. This exam helps the doctor look for changes of the vocal cords, such as nodules, polyps, lesions, or weakness of the vocal cords.