Your First Visit to the ENT
Anytime you go to a doctor for the first time you may feel a little anxious or nervous. That is perfectly normal. Most people don’t like the unexpected. Consider this a crash course in what your first visit to an otolaryngologist, or ENT is like. Here’s what you need to know.
Prepare in advance
When you visit a medical office for the first time, you will need to fill out forms. Many offices have forms available on-line if you would like to print and fill them out in advance. It is also important to make sure the office is in your health insurance network. If you aren’t sure, you can call your insurance carrier or our office to confirm. Be sure to arrive a little in advance in case we have any additional questions or forms.
What to bring
Be sure to bring your insurance ID card. In addition, make a list of all medications you are currently taking. Don’t forget to include any over the counter medications you take. If you take dietary supplements or herbal supplements, it is very important that you include these on your list as well. The ENT needs to know all of this information to be alert for possible interactions or side effects. Don’t forget to include how often the medication or supplement is taken and the amount you take.
What happens during the time with the ENT
The ENT will review your medical history. The ENT will also be asking you questions about your current symptoms. It will be help the both of you get the most out of your time together if you make notes of your symptoms in advance. You don’t want to forget to mention something, no matter how small. Be sure to let the ENT know when your symptoms began.
The ENT will perform a physical and visual examination as part of your visit. The ENT may look in your ears, your nose and your throat. As part of this exam, the ENT may touch or press your neck, throat, cheekbones and other areas of your face and head. The ENT may use an otoscope to look into your ears. The otoscope does not hurt. A speculum may be used to see inside your nasal passages. The speculum should not be uncomfortable and it should not hurt. Don’t worry about the exam causing pain. You may feel like you have been peered into, poked and prodded like a farm animal but your ENT will treat you with respect and these examinations should not be physically uncomfortable.
Some people get anxious if their nose, ears or other body parts are touched. If this causes anxiety for you, be sure to let the ENT know before the examination starts. The ENT wants to help you; not add to any discomfort or unease you already have.
Depending on the reason for the visit, the ENT may order scans or images to get more information. If you have problems with vertigo, balance tests may be performed. In addition, certain hearing tests may be performed to determine the function of your ears. The ENT orders these tests to get a full picture of your condition.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your visit. You are your most important health care advocate. If you are afraid you will forget your questions, write them down in advance. If the ENT uses words or terms you don’t understand, don’t nod your head in agreement, ask for an explanation in terms you do understand.