Ear, Nose and Throat Screenings and Diagnostics

If your doctor suspects you may need surgery or other treatment for your ears, nose or throat, you will likely undergo additional testing or screening. This is done to ensure the accuracy of your diagnosis so the right treatment can begin.

Your doctors or audiologists may perform a variety of tests to help pinpoint the nature of your condition. In addition to specific tests for your ears, nose and throat, doctors may recommend other blood tests or imaging, such as MRIs, X-rays and CT and PET scans.

Hearing tests


This is a test that directs air and sound to the middle ear to determine if there are any changes in pressure in the middle ear. The test can be done in most doctor's offices to help determine how the middle ear is functioning.

Pure tone audiometry

During this test, an electrical machine produces sounds at different volumes and pitches in your ear, usually while you’re wearing some type of earphones. This test is commonly used for children, and the child is simply asked to respond in some way when the tone is heard in the earphone.

Evoked potential (EP)

EP testing uses two sets of electrodes to assess hearing or sight, especially in infants and children.

Throat and voice procedures

Barium swallow

This involves a series of X-rays taken while you swallow a chalky substance called barium. The barium coats the inside of your throat so any swallowing changes can be seen on the X-rays.


A biopsy is the only sure way to know if you have throat cancer. During a biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed from the tumor. The sample is checked by a pathologist, a specialist who examines tissues and cells in a lab.


This procedure allows your doctor to view your throat. During indirect laryngoscopy, your doctor holds a small mirror at the back of your throat and shines a light on it. During fiberoptic laryngoscopy, a thin, lighted scope called a laryngoscope is put through your nose down into your throat or directly down into your throat.

Laryngeal electromyography (EMG)

This test measures electrical activity in the muscles of the throat to help identify nerve problems. A thin needle is put into some of the neck muscles while electrodes send signals from the muscles to a computer.


This test uses a strobe light and a video camera to see how the vocal cords are vibrating during speech.

Nose and sinus procedures

Nasal endoscopy

This procedure uses an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light, to look at the nasal and sinus passages. . An ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT, or otolaryngologist) will often do this procedure in the office.

Sinus computer tomography (CT or CAT) scans

This imaging method uses X-rays and CT scan technology to give doctors a clear look at sinus cavities.

Learn more about CT scans.

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