Minimum health requirements exist for entry into the UK armed forces. Both pre-existing and iatrogenic ENT conditions may impact on an individual's medical fitness and their ability to enter the forces.
The relevant literature was examined and military otolaryngology advisors were interviewed in order to define the ENT-specific conditions that restrict an individual joining the armed forces.
The ENT diseases and disabilities that inhibit an individual's ability to join the forces are described. Treatments that may facilitate or restrict recruitment are also discussed.
Members of the armed forces operate in arduous environments and are required to pass a screening medical assessment before joining. Personnel may be isolated away from specialist care and therefore cannot be dependent on specialist devices or medicines. This paper aims to arm ENT specialists with occupational knowledge to enable them to correctly counsel patients and offer appropriate treatment.