The ear is a complicated organ that consists of three parts—the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Within these parts are structures vital to hearing and balance. When one or more structures of the ear is damaged or infected, it may lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders such as vertigo.
Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of otolaryngologists. Common problems with the nasal area include sinusitis, smell disorders, polyps and nasal obstruction caused by a deviated septum.
The throat works with the mouth, ears and nose to perform functions vital to swallowing, breathing and speaking. Common problems with the throat include dysphonia, esophagitis, GERD, laryngitis, pharyngitis and problems swallowing.
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes breathing to stop or become shallow during sleep. Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more per hour. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea—in which the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep, often characterized by loud snoring.