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National Center for Biotechnology Information (US). Genes and Disease [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); 1998-.

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Genes and Disease [Internet].

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Ear, Nose, and Throat

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Within the structures of the ear, nose and throat are complex and interrelated mechanisms that allow a person to make sound, hear, maintain balance, smell, breathe, and swallow. Traditionally, treatment of the ear — otology — was associated with that of the eye in medical practice. With the development of laryngology — the study of the throat — in the late 19th century, the connection between the ear and throat became known. Thus the birth of a discipline called otolaryngology.

Many people associate otolaryngologists with the treatment of ear infections, hearing loss and sinus problems. Otolaryngology actually encompasses the treatment of many diverse conditions, including: dizziness, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, head and neck cancer, hearing loss, problems of the larynx and sinus, difficulties swallowing, tumors of the auditory nerve, and voice production.

When diagnosing ear, nose, and throat disorders, it is important to differentiate genetic disorders from those due to environmental influences. This is often difficult as similar clinical features may be produced by different environmental factors or by different genes or groups of genes.

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  • The number of people training to be otolaryngologists in the United States has doubled since 1975. Find out more ...

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