What to Look for When Searching for Otolaryngology Near Me 

David Cuthbertson, MD

The relationship between doctor and patient is an important one. Naturally, you want your doctor to have experience, confidence, and top-notch expertise in whatever you’re seeing them for. You want to know you’re in good hands.

But how do you find a doctor you’re comfortable with? Googling terms like “otolaryngology near me” or “pediatric otolaryngology near me” will get you countless results, but choosing can be overwhelming.

To help narrow your search, we’ll review what exactly an otolaryngologist is, when to see one, and three traits to look for in an otolaryngologist near you.

Why See an Otolaryngologist vs. a General Practitioner?

Otolaryngologist is the medical term for an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT. Oto means ear, and laryng refers to part of the throat. (The title also used to include rhino, meaning nose, but that was a mouthful.) They’re also sometimes referred to as head and neck surgeons.

Otolaryngologists receive specialized education and training to treat a wide range of conditions involving the ears, nose, and throat. They work in both the clinical and surgical sides of patient care — a rarity among specialists. For example, you would visit a cardiologist for evaluation and care recommendations, but you’d see a cardiothoracic surgeon if you needed a procedure.

When it comes to the ears, nose, and throat, the doctor you see in the office can be the same doctor who performs your surgery. Their ability to use both medical and surgical methods allows them to take a uniquely well-rounded approach to treatment.

Some ENTs also have specific sub-specializations, such as cancer or throat surgeries. A general, or comprehensive, ENT can refer patients diagnosed with rare or severe conditions to their more specialized counterparts.

Otolaryngology doesn’t overlap with many other specialties. While ENTs don’t treat the brain, eyes, teeth, or spine, their care for all the other soft-tissue structures in the head and neck area is fairly comprehensive. Other doctors may provide a subsection of the same treatment services — allergists, for example — but only ENTs provide comprehensive medical and surgical treatments for ear, nose, and throat issues.

Infographic: What to Look for When Searching for Otolaryngology Near Me

3 Traits to Look for in an Otolaryngologist Near You

When searching for “otolaryngology near me,” it’s important to understand how to weed through all the results online. Since it can be difficult to judge an ENT doctor from behind a screen, here are the three most important traits we recommend looking for:

Trait #1: Experience

Choosing an experienced otolaryngologist ensures you’ll receive the best quality care. If they’ve had good training and been in practice for a few years, they’ll be better equipped to identify issues, treat effectively, and avoid surgical complications.

An experienced ENT will also have the self-awareness to know what they can and can’t treat, and when they should refer you to someone more specialized.

An experienced otolaryngologist will have a professional reputation you can look into. Beyond Google reviews, an excellent ENT office will do more than say they’re the best — they’ll show it with comprehensive, well-rounded services, compassionate care, and reliable resources that help you make informed decisions about your health.

For example, here at ENT Associates of Lubbock, we have the most extensive library of educational materials for our patients. We offer this because we prioritize patient-centered care and want you to have the best treatment experience possible.

Trait #2: Ability to Communicate

For medical treatment of any kind, it’s essential to have a clear picture of your diagnosis, understand the treatment and why it’s necessary, and feel comfortable with the entire process. That’s why you need a physician who can communicate clearly with you before, during, and after your treatment.

When searching for an otolaryngologist near you, look for one with excellent communication skills. They should listen to your concerns and symptoms without dismissing them. Once they have a diagnosis, they should explain your condition clearly and allow you time to ask questions. 

A good ENT will review all your treatment options with you in understandable terms (versus confusing medical jargon) so you can make informed decisions. They should also be collaborative and willing to make referrals to specialized otolaryngologists when necessary.

Of course, an otolaryngologist should always be honest about your condition and its outcomes, show empathy, and provide professional recommendations. 

Poor communication can really impede your care, but a physician who communicates well empowers you to make good choices for your health.

Trait #3: Strong Support Staff

When you search for “otolaryngology near me,” it’s easy to focus only on the quality of the doctor. But the quality of the office is important, too. Even if an ENT is phenomenal, if you can’t get in to see them, it doesn’t benefit you.

A high-quality support staff ensures an otolaryngology office runs smoothly. They answer the phone when you call, schedule appointments in a timely manner, relay messages to the doctor effectively, and call you back when needed. You’ll be able to reach your doctor easily and address questions and concerns promptly.

An efficient and organized support ensures adequate and timely care without unnecessary roadblocks and frustrations.

When to Search for “Pediatric Otolaryngology Near Me” vs. “General Otolaryngology Near Me”

If you’re searching for an ENT for your child, start with a general/comprehensive otolaryngologist. A general ENT has all the necessary training and expertise to treat most pediatric issues.

However, if your child is diagnosed with a severe or rare condition, a good ENT will refer you to a pediatric otolaryngologist for more specialized care. Instead of starting with Googling “pediatric otolaryngology near me,” a referral from a comprehensive ENT will ensure you receive sound medical treatment from the most qualified professional.



Disclaimer: The content on this website is written and/or reviewed by a qualified medical doctor and great care is taken to provide accurate general information. However, it is for informational purposes only and is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice from your own physician who is familiar with the details of your medical history. Always consult your doctor regarding health concerns before deciding any course of medical action.