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Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) / Otolaryngology

The ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) service at IWK Health helps children and youth in the Atlantic Provinces who need care for problems related to the head and neck. Referrals are accepted from family physicians, emergency departments, paediatricians, and other specialists, including nurse practitioners, audiologists, and dentists. New referrals are accepted for adolescents up to their 16th birthday.

How we help

The ENT Team includes three physicians, two nurses, and a variety of health care professionals who work together to provide care for patients with direct access to a Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centre whose audiologists and speech-language pathologists are consulted regularly. 

As well as providing inpatient care, the ENT service provides care to children through various outpatient clinics: general paediatric otolaryngology clinics, sub-specialized clinics and nurse clinics. Common conditions seen in the general otolaryngology clinics include ear infections, concerns with decreased hearing and delayed speech development, throat infections, nasal obstruction, sleep disordered breathing, sleep apnea, and congenital disorders of the head and neck, including neck cysts and tongue ties. 

Once the clinic receives your child’s referral, it is triaged according to urgency. All new patients should be seen within 90 days of the referral date, but your child may be scheduled sooner, depending on the circumstances.

Sub-specialized, multidisciplinary clinics under ENT include the following:

  • Airway/Voice disorders—including pediatric and adult otolaryngologists specializing in airway problems, and airway constructive surgery.
  • Ciliary Dyskenesia—otolaryngology coordinated with respirology, and physiotherapy
  • Cleft Palate—pediatric otolaryngology visits coordinated with pediatrics, dentistry, plastic surgery, audiology, and speech-language pathology.
  • Craniofacial—pediatric otolaryngology coordinated with plastic surgery, neurosurgery, dentistry, oral maxillofacial surgery, speech-language therapy, and ophthalmology.
  • Otology—includes an audiologist, a pediatric otolaryngologist and otologist/neuro-otologist, specializing in investigative and rehabilitative treatment for hearing loss.
  • Vascular malformations—an interest group made up of otolaryngology (ENT), haematology-oncology, plastic surgery, interventional radiology, and dermatology to review and determine an optimal treatment plan for these complex cases.
  • VPI (Velopharyngeal Insufficiency)—assessment of hypernasal speech associated with cleft palate or velocardiofacial syndrome in a setting with access to otolaryngology (ENT), speech language pathology, audiology, genetics, pediatrics, and immunology.
  • Nurse clinics expedite and facilitate post-operative care and hearing tests for myringotomy tube patients.

What to expect

You'll receive notice of your child’s appointment by mail, unless it’s an urgent referral and then you will be contacted by phone. Please ensure that the ENT clinic is notified of any changes to your contact information. You will also receive any follow-up appointments and reminders by mail.

Prior to being seen in the ENT Clinic, you must register for your visit in the Shared Clinics Department, located on the 1st floor of the IWK, Children’s Site. Once you have registered, you will continue to the ENT Clinic waiting area. This is a combined waiting area with the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centre so it can become quite crowded as both clinics tend to be very busy. Please bring some quiet activities or reading materials for you and your child and be prepared to wait a bit.

To fully prepare for your child’s visit, please be sure to bring along: 

  • your child's health card
  • your appointment letter
  • a List of medications
  • any medications needed during your visit
  • The name of your family physician as well as the name of the referring physician
  • a list of questions you and/or your child may have for the physician.
  • books, games, snacks (peanut free), diapers, change of baby clothes, or other necessities.

While visiting the ENT Clinic, your child may have care provided by a resident (a doctor specializing in ENT), or a nurse, under the guidance of a staff otolaryngologist.  The initial interview might also be done by a medical, nursing or nurse practitioner student. Other health professionals are consulted as necessary. Your child may have an x-ray, throat swab or hearing test done during the visit as part of the assessment. Occasionally, you may be sent to the outpatient lab for bloodwork.

Each child is examined and assessed on an individual basis and a plan of care is developed after being discussed and agreed upon with the parent or guardian. If surgery is suggested as a treatment for your child, before you leave the clinic, you and your child will meet with a clinic nurse to receive more information about the preparation for surgery, your visit the day of surgery and the post-surgical care required. When appropriate, families receive telephone preparation and mail-outs prior to their arrival on the day of surgery.  

In addition to your clinic visit, you and your child may be asked to participate in an ongoing research project. You do not have to agree to participate in research studies and this will not affect your care in any way.

Who you’ll meet

There are three otolaryngologists who work in the ENT Clinic. These physicians are also surgeons, so they are the ones who oversee all medical and surgical care of your child. They’re assisted by residents— physicians who are specializing in otolaryngology. 

Dr. G. Corsten     
Administrative Assistant - Barb 902-470-7391
Dr. Gerard Corsten is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at Dalhousie University. He is currently the Residency Program Director for the Division of Otolaryngology and has been the Chief of Surgery at the IWK Health Centre since 2008.

Dr. L. Johnson   
Administrative Assistant- Nikki 902-470-7390
Dr. Liane Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Anaesthesia at Dalhousie University. Dr. Johnson began working at the IWK in 2003, bringing with her not only surgical expertise in airway reconstruction but also a strong commitment to ongoing learning and teaching.

Dr. P. Hong 
Administrative Assistant- Nikki 902-470-7390
Dr. Paul Hong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery and the School of Human Communication Disorders at Dalhousie University. Dr. Hong’s clinical interests include pediatric hearing loss, head and neck masses, craniofacial disorders, microtia, and aural atresia/stenosis.

Registered Nurses
There are two registered nurses in the ENT Clinic. With a strong knowledge base in pediatric otolaryngology and high level of competency, both nurses actively participate in the assessment and ongoing care of your child using a multidisciplinary approach. They are responsible for preoperative teaching and are available for postoperative phone consultation, and guidance if you have questions or concerns.

Accessing this Clinic, Program or Service

Children’s Building - IWK Health Centre

Register at Shared Clinics located on the first floor of the Children’s Building

5850/5980 University Avenue
Halifax , Nova Scotia
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

2 Clinics, Programs or Services

  • Contact

    Toll free: 1-888-470-5888 ext 8041

    Fax:  902-470-8929

    Booking and Registration
  • Hours

    8:30am – 3:30pm
    8:30am – 3:30pm
    8:30am – 3:30pm
    8:30am – 3:30pm
    8:30am – 3:30pm

    Referral required prior to visit.
    Appointments only.