520 North Third Ave Sandpoint, ID 83864

 (208) 263-1441

BGH to Welcome ENT Specialist

By Kathy Hubbard
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It seems like a physician who specializes in ear, nose and throat conditions has the most diverse practice of any other specialty. I counted 41 diseases and conditions that might send you to an ENT physician, who professionally is called an otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-goll-oh-jist).

One physician described the specialty as one who treats pretty much everything above the collarbone except for the brain and eyes.

“Hearing and balance, swallowing and speech, breathing and sleep issues, allergies, and sinuses, head and neck cancer, skin disorders, even facial plastic surgery are just some of the conditions that ENT specialists treat,” the American Academy of Otolaryngology website says.

“ENT specialists are not only medical doctors who can treat your sinus headache, your child’s swimmer’s ear, or your dad’s sleep apnea. They are also surgeons who can perform extremely delicate operations to restore hearing of the middle ear, open blocked airways, remove head, neck, and throat cancers, and rebuild these essential structures. This requires an additional five to eight years of intensive, post-graduate training beyond medical school,” AAO explains.

And, why am I telling you this? Because starting on February 1, Bonner General Health will welcome Dr. Susan Anderson to practice at offices in the Pinegrove Building (606 N. Third Avenue). Once again, BGH is making it possible for patients to have surgery close to home and to have a specialist whose practice location is here in Sandpoint.

Originally from Montana, Dr. Anderson has been in practice for over eleven years, mostly in Oklahoma. She treats both pediatric and adult patients with special interest in head and neck cancers.

“I am excited to be returning to the Northwest and look forward to providing ENT services to Sandpoint and the surrounding communities,” Dr. Anderson said. “In medical school, I knew I wanted to pursue a specialty that involved surgery, I chose to specialize in ENT because it allows me to see patients of all ages.

“There have been days in my practice when I have seen a two-day-old infant for tongue-tie followed by a patient nearing 100 years of age with hearing loss. Also, the anatomy of the head and neck is complex and elegant which the science nerd in me loves.”

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Dr. Susan Anderson

So, how do you decide whether or not you need to see an ENT? Start with your primary care provider and simply ask the question, “should I see an otolaryngologist?”

Ear infections, caused by germs getting trapped inside the inner ear, are the number one reason people see ENTs VeryWellHealth says. If you’ve had a recent upper respiratory infection and are experiencing pain and pressure in the ear, fever, loss of balance, difficulty hearing, nausea and vomiting or a fluid discharge from the ear you might want to consult with an ENT. Remember it’s the most common infection in infants and toddlers.

If you have difficulty hearing, have ringing in your ears (tinnitus) or suffer pains in your ears, the ENT can help you sort it out.

If you’ve been hoarse for longer than six weeks, you need to consult with an ENT. It could be an indicator of a medical problem like vocal cord lesions, acid reflux or cancer of the larynx.

Repeated episodes of tonsillitis are another reason to see an ENT. The discussion, of course, will be about whether or not removing them is a good idea. Does a tonsillectomy make it medically necessary or a good reason to eat vast quantities of ice cream? Let Dr. Anderson help you decide.

Sleep apnea is another reason to see an ENT. You know it’s nothing to snore at. Seriously. It’s a disorder causing one to stop breathing for brief periods of time while sleeping and can cause serious health issues. If you frequently wake during the night, wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep and with a dry, sore throat and headache, and are becoming moody and depressed it’s time to see an ENT specialist.

I obviously don’t have room to discuss all the ear, nose and throat issues. So I’ll recommend you go to BonnerGeneral.org for more information on the Bonner General Ear, Nose and Throat clinic. To make an appointment with Dr. Anderson call 208-265-1003.


Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.

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