Choosing any sort of doctor for your child can be complicated. There are a lot of things to think about to make sure your child gets the best care available. The doctor’s credentials, the type of equipment and testing available in the office, and whether or not the doctor’s office has ready access to surgical facilities in the event a procedure is needed are all things parents should thoroughly understand. This holds true with choosing an ENT for your child.
Children tend to have more ear infections, adenoid and tonsil issues and sinus problems than adults, so a good ENT is crucial to your child’s health and well-being. Let’s take a look at some attributes you should think about when choosing your child’s ENT.
Every ENT doctor is trained in pediatric ENT services. It is part of their board training. They can handle any sort of normal sinus or ear problem your child has. A pediatric ENT specialist is only needed in very rare cases when your child has a complicated ear, nose, or throat problem that requires special care and special surgical procedures. Board-certified ENTs can treat children as well as adults, and are well versed in the problems children can have that require their services.
Just because an ENT knows how to take care of children’s problems doesn’t mean that they are good with children. It’s important to find a doctor who is comfortable dealing with children, like it, and are good at that special interaction. This is where word of mouth and a pediatrician’s recommendations come in, since those qualities are hard to quantify. An ENT who can make a child feel comfortable and safe is a must.
If your child is exhibiting signs that they can’t hear very well, you’ll want to take them for a hearing test at an ENT office with an audiologist on staff. There is a difference between a board-certified audiologist and a hearing aid salesperson. While a hearing aid sales person may be able to calibrate the hearing aid capably, he/she is not able to diagnose the underlying cause of the hearing loss and any other complications.
If your child has allergy problems that affect their sinuses, you want to make sure that the ENT is familiar with allergic rhinitis and how to treat it. It might also be helpful to know if the ENT office has child-friendly CT services (such as the low radiation, upright MiniCAT) to evaluate their sinuses.
In some cases, your child might require surgery to remove their tonsils, adenoids or both, to have ear tubes inserted, or other procedures. It’s important to choose an ENT affiliated with a surgical center so that your child can get the best care in a comfortable environment. Going to a big hospital can be scary for the child and more expensive for the family, so access to a surgery center is important.
Choosing an ENT office with convenient scheduling practices, a helpful and friendly office staff, easy-to-access locations and kid-friendly waiting areas can be difficult. You can usually find information online, but be cautious of user reviews as they aren’t always objective. A good ENT doctor will have their locations posted on the website, and asking your pediatrician for recommendations is always a good idea.