An ENT specialist in India is a medical doctor trained to treat all types of diseases relating to the ear, nose and throat, including maladies and cancers of the head and neck. The ideal ENT specialist in India is an MBBS degree holder and follows it up by taking a Masters of Surgery (MS) degree in ENT surgery or DLO degree (diploma in otolargyngology) or both from a recognized medical college or university. He may also take a degree from the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in England, Edinburgh and Ireland.
The principal responsibilities of an ENT specialist in India is to treat voice, hearing and nasal and naso-pharyngeal disorders by way of phonosurgical or medical methods.
Recent advances in the field also include treatments of various types of cancers of the head & neck cancer inclusing surgical resection of tumors of the skull base in collaboration with medical oncology and radiation medicine experts as also neurosurgeons.
ENT surgeons are also being trained to use state-of-the-art LumenisAcupulse CO2 laser systems for treating bilateral paralysis of the abductor cord, juvenile papillomas, vascular lesions, laryngeal cancer, and premalignant lesions of the oral cavity, hypopharynx, & oropharynx as also laryngotracheal stenosis.
Sialology and sialoendoscopy is yet another field of treatment in which Indian ENT surgeons are working. This involves endoscopic nasal and sinus surgery for treating nasal and paranasal sinus conditions, chronic dacrocystitis, decompression of the optic nerve and malignant exopthalmos. ENT emergencies like sudden obstruction in the air passageway of trachea or removal of foreign bodies, particularly in the case of children, are common and Indian ENT surgeons are also trained to handle such emergencies.
Audiology, speech and voice therapy are two integral parts of ENT medicine and surgery and all ENT surgeons are trained in their procedures. Audiology involves conducting audiometry tests to determine the patient’s hearing level when deafness is suspected while speech and voice therapy are given to those whose vocal chords and voice box have had to be surgically removed to treat cancer of the larynx.
Most Indian ENT specialists are members of the AOI or Association of Otolaryngologists of India which currently has 4250 national members and 8000 members at the state level. The AOI has been largely responsible for launching the National Deafness Program which is dedicated to the prevention, cure and eradication of congenital or conductive deafness in India.
The program aims at preventing avoidable loss of hearing due to disease or injury; early diagnosis and treatment of aural problems that lead to hearing loss and finally deafness; rehabilitation of deaf persons; development of institutional capacities for provision of aural care services through the provision of hearing aids and by training up the required personnel. Since 2014, 450 camps have been organized by the AOI to prevent & cure deafness in the country. People in excess of 25,000 have been enormously benefited from these camps.
It is the long-term objective of any Indian ENT specialist to prevent and/or control the major causes that lead to gradual hearing impairment and finally deafness and to reduce India’s deaf population by at least 25%.