25 Statistics About the US Otolaryngology Market

Vertical: Otolaryngology
Author: JC Lupis
Date: June 2021

Download the stats in PDF format here.

Otolaryngology: In the Early Innings of Consolidation

The Otolaryngology / Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialty is developing into a noteworthy sector in healthcare mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Private equity (PE) firms have displayed an interest in the area, attracted to its various ancillary service offerings, ASC utilization, and market fragmentation. Demand for hearing and sinus treatments looks set to increase and will be buoyed by an aging population. And, despite being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, outpatient otolaryngological surgical volumes rebounded quickly to near-baseline levels*.

After a rapid start to the year, GHA expects continued M&A activity during the second half of 2021. While larger practices will remain appealing to new market entrants, existing platforms and consolidators will be keeping their eyes on smaller practices with a full year of financials unaffected by COVID-19 to report. Platforms without an allergy element may also pay attention to opportunities to expand their offerings through integration of allergy practices as tuck-in acquisitions.


1. There are 1,528 practices in the US listing ear, nose and throat (ENT) as their primary specialty.

2. As of 2019, there were 9,777 active otolaryngologists in the US.

3. There were 1,639 active otolaryngology residents in 2019-2020.

4. From 2014 to 2019, the number of active otolaryngologists in the US grew by 3.3%, compared to 9.6% for all specialties.

5. Some 61.8% of otolaryngologists practice in metropolitan areas with a population of more than 1 million*.

6. Otolaryngologists reported an average salary of $417K in 2020, down from $455K in 2019.

7. 62% of otolaryngologists surveyed reported some decline in compensation in 2020.

8. Otolaryngologists estimate spending an average of 12.6 hours per week on paperwork and administration.

9. Some 41% of surveyed otolaryngologists participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

10. 20% of otolaryngologists say that the hardest part of their job is getting fair reimbursement from, or dealing with, Medicare and/or other insurers. This is tied with the share (also 20%) who say that the most challenging part of their job is keeping up with an abundance of rules and regulations.

Sources: Definitive Healthcare, Association of American Medical Colleges, ENT-Ear, Nose & Throat Journal (*2013 data), Medscape


11. In 2016 there were an estimated 29 million visits to non-federally employed, office-based providers specializing in otolaryngology in the US. This was up from 20.8 million in 2010.

12. In 2016, Americans averaged 9.1 visits per 100 people to office-based otolaryngologists, ahead of cardiovascular (8.7) and urology (8.2) but below others including ophthalmology (14.6) and dermatology (15.7).

13. 35% of visits to otolaryngology specialists in 2016 were not referred by another physician.

14. Patients spend on average 21.5 minutes with otolaryngologists per visit, slightly below the all-specialty average of 22.5 minutes.

15. The age group most likely to make an otolaryngology visit is the 45-64 bracket, comprising 30.8% of office visits in 2015-2016.

16. Private insurance represents 54.1% of primary expected sources of payment for otolaryngology office visits, roughly twice that of Medicare (27.6% share).

17. Medications are prescribed or continued at 60.6% of otolaryngology office visits.

18. Otolaryngologists perform almost one-eighth of all ASC surgeries.

19. Otolaryngology procedures in ASCs have a case net revenue average of $2,543, well above the respective number for ophthalmology procedures ($1,442).

Sources: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2015-2016), JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Private Equity and Consolidation Trends

Please download our deck here for statistics numbers 20-25, which contain information on the private equity-backed ENT and allergy platforms in the US as well as the number of ENT mergers and acquisitions in 2020 and Q1 2021.

Sources: GHA Research, ENT and Allergy Associates, GHA M&A Database

Download the stats in PDF format here.

For more information, please contact GHA Managing Director JC Lupis at jclupis@ghadvisors.net.