What is an ENT (otorhinolaryngology) examination with audiometric tests?
An ENT examination with audiometric tests is an examination that is performed by a medical specialist in otorhinolaryngology, whose goal is to diagnose, monitor, or exclude the presence of diseases affecting the ears, nose, and throat. Beyond patients with ongoing pathologies, a patient can visit an otorhinolaryngologist to find out the nature of symptoms they are experiencing, such as the presence of tinnitus, hearing loss, ringing, feeling confused, positional vertigo, persistent pain in the throat, persistent lowering of the voice, and stuffy nose for no apparent reason.
What is the purpose of an ENT examination?
The examination is useful for diagnosing the disorders of these organs that are anatomically distinct but functionally linked to each other, and to establish their therapy. This type of visit can also be used to monitor the possible evolution of current pathologies and treatments in patients.
How is an ENT examination with audiometric tests carried out?
Initially an otorhinolaryngologist will collect information on the history and lifestyle of the patient including diet, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, physical activity and sedentary lifestyle, current pathologies, medication intake, and type of work performed.
In the second part of the visit the specialist will proceed to examine the patient and identify the root causes of any symptoms reported. This is done by feeling the neck to rule out the presence of suspicious swellings, inspecting the oral cavity and pharynx with the use of the laryngoscopy method, inspecting the tympanic membrane and the ear canal using an otoscope, and exploring the interior of the nose, paranasal sinuses and nasopharynx by using a rhinoscope.
If necessary the doctor will remove the earwax (cerumen) by means of water rinsing or by using tweezers. During the visit, and if deemed appropriate the patient will be subjected to certain tests such as an audiometry, which lasts a few minutes and is completely painless, in order to determine the patients threshold of hearing. Other tests include an examination to measure the elasticity of the eardrum and the chain of ossicles in the ear, or a vestibular exam which measures the balance of the patient. The whole examination can last up to 1 hour.
Are there any guidelines for preparation?
There are no rules of preparation. It is advised that the patient brings any tests previously done on the matter, and a list of any current medication the patient might be taking.