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5 Signs Your Child Needs to See an ENT: Common Pediatric Conditions

As parents, nothing is more important than our children’s health, including the well-being of their ear, nose, and throat (ENT). While it is not uncommon for children to have ENT problems, these issues can cause pain and discomfort in kids, significantly affecting their daily lives.
Dr Dennis Chua - ENT Pediatric
UPDATED ON DECEMBER 22, 2023 • REVIEWED BY DR. DENNIS CHUA
These issues may start as minor irritations to serious conditions. That is why recognising the signs that indicate a need for an ENT specialist can be crucial in preventing long-term complications. This article will guide you through five common signs that your child might need to see an ENT specialist.

Sign 1: Recurrent Ear Infections


Also known by its scientific name, otitis media (OM), an ear infection is a common childhood ailment. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says five out of six children will get at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Symptoms like ear pain, difficulty hearing, or fever can be telltale signs. Notice when they keep tugging their ears, have trouble sleeping, have problems with balance, or have fluid draining from their ear.

If your child suffers from recurrent ear infections, it’s important to consult an ENT specialist. Untreated infections can lead to complications, including hearing loss. An ENT specialist can provide effective treatment options and preventive measures.

Sign 2: Persistent Sore Throat or Tonsillitis


A chronic sore throat or frequent bouts of tonsillitis are more than just a minor inconvenience. Tonsillitis is usually caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. It may be accompanied by various symptoms, including headache, earache, cough, and fever. Medications can help relieve the symptoms.

However, persistent sore throat could be a sign of an underlying condition that needs medical attention. Children with visible tonsil inflammation and difficulty swallowing should be evaluated by an ENT. These conditions can lead to more severe health issues if left untreated.

Sign 3: Breathing Difficulties or Snoring

If your child snores loudly, experiences sleep apnoea, or has difficulty breathing during the day, it’s time to consult an ENT. These symptoms can impact their sleep quality and overall health. Sleep apnoea in adults is commonly related to weight and age. In children, however, it is because the throat relaxes while sleeping, causing the tonsils or adenoids to obstruct it. As such, many cases of sleep apnoea in children can be treated through lifestyle changes, medication, and surgical removal of the tonsils.

If you observe any of these signs in your child we discussed so far and are looking for an ENT specialist, schedule an appointment with Dr Dennis Chua.

Dr Dennis Chua - ENT Pediatric - 5 Signs Your Child Needs to See an ENT Common Pediatric Conditions

Sign 4: Nasal Congestion or Chronic Sinusitis

The infection of the sinuses is called sinusitis, which may occur with allergies or after a cold. There are three types of sinusitis: acute (short-term, lasting less than 12 weeks), chronic (long-term, lasting longer than 12 weeks), and recurrent (three or more episodes of acute sinusitis in a year). Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses are blocked with discharge and bacteria start to grow. Check if your child experiences a stuffy nose, thick and coloured discharge, headache, fever, or loss of smell.

An ENT specialist can diagnose whether your child is experiencing any type of sinusitis. They may need to conduct a physical exam and tests, such as an X-ray and CT scan, or assess cultures from the sinuses. Then, they can offer appropriate treatments to manage and relieve sinus issues effectively.

Dr Dennis Chua - ENT Pediatric - Sinusitis in Children

Sign 5: Hearing Loss or Delayed Speech Development

Hearing issues in children can manifest as a lack of response to sounds or delayed speech development. It can cause frustration for parents and children if left undiagnosed since early intervention is critical in managing hearing problems. Some common causes of hearing loss in children include infections, injury or trauma, genetic factors, or medications.

If the child does not respond when you call their name, cannot follow conversations, or asks you to speak louder or for the TV to be turned up, it may indicate hearing problems. ENT specialists are equipped to assess and treat hearing conditions, ensuring your child’s communication skills and development are on track.

Recognising these signs and seeking timely intervention from an ENT specialist can significantly affect your child’s health. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, do not hesitate to contact an ENT specialist. Early detection and treatment are paramount in ensuring your child’s development is on track.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the signs mentioned, you may contact ENT Specialist Dr Dennis Chua and book an appointment.

If you have questions or concerns about your ears, nose, and throat,
you may book a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua, an ENT specialist in Singapore.
He has completed his training in otorhinolaryngology locally and attained qualifications internationally.