The head and neck are home to a number of vital body organs, from the mouth and throat to the ears, nose and brain. The organs that comprise these body parts are responsible for some of the most important functions in the body, including the senses of taste, smell and hearing. The head and neck are also where the process of digestion begins, and they're the hub of the nervous system, courtesy of the brain.
Medical problems in the head and neck are frequently treated by a doctor known as an otolaryngologist or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) physician. These medical professionals are trained to deal with problems with the ears, nose, throat, head and neck. There are also ENT physicians who are experts in subspecialties of otolaryngology, including otology or neurotology (problems related to the ears), rhinology (the nose and sinuses), laryngology (throat and voice disorders), head and neck, allergy, pediatric otolaryngology and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.
A variety of problems can affect the head and neck. They range from mild problems such as sore throat and hoarseness to major concerns like cancerous brain tumors. Problems will vary quite a bit based on the part of the head and neck that are affected. For example, throat problems might include problems with the tonsils or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Ear problems include ear infections, hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Sinus disorders, nose bleeds or stuffy noses are common problems that affect the nose. And seasonal allergies might cause problems that affect the nose and throat, as well as other parts of the body. These are just a few of the many problems that can impact the head and neck. An otolaryngologist can diagnose the problem and determine the proper course of action based on an individual’s needs.
SOURCES: American Academy of Otolaryngology