Otolaryngology is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians. Otolaryngologists diagnose and manage diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face, as well as many ENT primary care problems in both children and adults.

The ears—Hearing loss affects one in ten North Americans. The unique domain of otolaryngologists is the treatment of ear disorders. They are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), nerve pain, and facial and cranial nerve disorders. Otolaryngologists also manage congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.

The nose—About 35 million people develop chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in America. Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of otolaryngologists. Management of the nasal area includes allergies and sense of smell. Breathing through, and the appearance of, the nose are also part of otolaryngologists’ expertise.

The throat—Communicating (speech and singing) and eating a meal all involve this vital area. Also specific to otolaryngologists is expertise in managing diseases of the larynx (voice box) and the upper aero-digestive tract or esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders.

The head and neck—This center of the body includes the important nerves that control sight, smell, hearing, and the face. In the head and neck area, otolaryngologists are trained to treat infectious diseases, both benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors, facial trauma, and deformities of the face. They perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

This information was adapted from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website.


  • Length of training: 5 years (including an intern year)
  • Match: NRMP
  • Application Service: ERAS

Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology

  • Department Chair: James Rocco, MD, PhD
  • Residency Director: Brad deSilva, MD
  • Residency Coordinator: Jamie Wohrer, 614-293-9215
  • Education Director: Stephen Kang, MD
  • Education Coordinator: Jamie Wohrer, 614-293-9215

Learn more about the Department of Otolaryngology

Specialty Champions

  • Karen Calhoun, MD
  • Brad DeSilva, MD
  • Charles Elmaraghy, MD
  • L. Arick Forrest, MD
  • Stephen Kang, MD
  • Laura Matrka, MD


AAMC Careers in Medicine: Otolaryngology