If you feel you or your child needs to see an ear, nose and throat specialist, you typically will need to visit your primary care physician for a complete exam and a referral. Your primary care physician will decide whether the problems you are having call for treatment through an ear, nose and throat specialist. Many health insurance plans, especially HMO plans, require you to visit a primary care physician before you can see a specialist.
Your primary care physician will give you the best referral for this type of specialist, and they will know about the best local ear, nose and throat doctors. After receiving the referral, contact your health insurance provider to make sure the referred doctor is an approved provider. If the referred doctor is not on your health provider's list of approved physicians, ask them for a list of local network providers. From those referrals and physicians on your network directory, verify their qualifications, education, continuing education, accepted insurance plans and affiliated hospitals by consulting Angie's List, where you can also see member reviews and rankings.
Call several different ear, nose and throat offices to find out whether they are accepting new patients, and get information about office hours, available appointments and subspecialties. Remember to ask what hospital the doctor is affiliated with to make sure you will be covered through your health insurance network. If you do not have health insurance, ask what their fees are and what type of payment plans the doctor offers. On your first visit, take note of the staff: Are they courteous and respectful? Is the waiting room busy? Is the doctor friendly and informative? If you aren't comfortable or don't feel as though the doctor will be a good fit for you, contact each doctor on the list until you find the best doctor for your needs.
- According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, 90 percent of the children who had a tonsillectomy around 30 years ago did so due to recurrent infection. There has been a significant decline in the number of tonsillectomies since the 1970s.
- The same source reports that, as of 2012, only 20 percent of tonsillectomies were related to infection, whereas 80 percent were due to an obstructive sleep problem.