Otolaryngology is a medical specialty which is focused on the ears, nose, and throat. It is also called otolaryngology-head and neck surgery because specialists are trained in both medicine and surgery. An otolaryngologist is often called an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an ENT for short.
This medical specialty dates back to the 19th century, when doctors recognized that the head and neck contained a series of interconnected systems. Doctors developed techniques and tools for examining and treating problems of the head and neck, eventually forming a medical specialty. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, it is the oldest medical specialty in the United States.
Otolaryngologists differ from many physicians in that they are qualified to perform many types of surgery on the delicate and complex tissues of the head and neck.