Ear infections can be quite the nuisance, particularly if it’s something that your little one deals with often. While anyone can develop ear infections, babies and young children are at an increased risk for ear infections. Since children’s Eustachian tubes (a structure that connects the middle ear with the pharynx, the cavity that lies behind the nose and mouth) aren’t fully developed it makes it easier for factors such as a common cold to lead to blocked Eustachian tubes and ear infections.
If there is a family history of ear infections, if your child is exposed to secondhand smoke or if your child develops colds and flus regularly then they may be at an increased risk for an ear infection. The most common types of ear infections are a middle ear infection, swimmer’s ear (which affects the outer ear canal), and labyrinthitis (causes inflammation of the inner ear or nerves of the inner ear).
Of course, babies and toddlers won’t be able to tell you that they are experiencing ear pain; however, there are other signs to look out for, including:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Drainage coming from the ear
- Increased irritability or crying more often
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Increased fussiness or clinginess
- Lack of energy
If your child is displaying any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to take them in to see their pediatrician. Of course, if your child is often dealing with recurring or severe ear infections, visiting an otolaryngologist might be the best medical professional to help you figure out what’s causing these frequent infections and how to put a stop to them.
Of course, adults may also face ear infections. You may wake up in the middle of the night with an ear that is throbbing and painful. If this is the case, turning to an ENT doctor can help alleviate your symptoms. Depending on the type and severity of you or your little one’s ear infection, an ENT specialist will tell you whether or not antibiotics will be necessary for fighting the infection.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying a warm compress to the ear can also help you manage your discomfort until the ear infection goes away. Leaving an ear infection untreated is never a good idea, as it can lead to complications such as hearing loss. This is why it’s important that you or your child receive the proper medical attention necessary if you suspect an ear infection.
At some point in your lifetime, you may end up dealing with symptoms or issues that affect your ears, nose or throat. While some people may exhibit obvious symptoms this doesn’t mean that everyone will. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s going on with your ear, nose and throat health. Here are just some of the most common ENT problems and how they are addressed.
This is by far the most common ENT problem that a doctor will diagnose and treat. While ear infections are more likely to develop in young children, people of all ages can develop this infection. One of the classic symptoms of an ear infection is ear pain, discharge, muffled or reduced hearing, and a red, inflamed ear. If you are experiencing an earache, it’s important that you visit your otolaryngologist. Not treating an ear infection could lead to serious long-term complications.
Many people will face a sinus infection at some point during their lifetime, but most of the time it will be completely innocuous and self-limiting. Of course, you may need help managing your symptoms or making sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are truly due to a sinus infection and not something else.
While a sinus infection can easily be diagnosed just by going through the symptoms you are experiencing, we may also need to perform an endoscopy to be able to look inside the nasal passageways to determine if there is a blockage. While sinus infections will often go away on their own, there is the possibility that you may face chronic sinusitis (which lasts more than 12 weeks and doesn’t respond to self-care measure). If this happens it’s important that you turn to your doctor for help.
This infection leads to painful, inflamed tonsils (the tissue in the back of the throat). While a sore throat may also be the result of a viral infection, if you are faced with a severe sore throat that doesn’t go away, it’s important that you visit an ENT doctor who can provide a proper diagnosis. Just by swabbing the back of the throat and looking for the presence of streptococcal bacteria, an ENT specialist can easily diagnose strep throat. If we detect strep throat, you will be prescribed a round of antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria.
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially dangerous sleep condition that causes a person to stop breathing many times while asleep. Some people can experience hundreds of breathing cessations throughout one evening. Those with sleep apnea find themselves extremely exhausted when first waking up (even if they got enough sleep) and may struggle to get through the day. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or stroke if left untreated. If you are a loud snorer if you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, if you wake up with headaches or if you find yourself feeling excessively tired throughout the day then it’s time to see a specialist.
Whether you are experiencing symptoms or you just have questions about ENT health, it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can answer all of your questions and prevent, diagnose and even treat a host of ENT issues.
Maybe you didn’t even notice it but other members of your family pointed out the fact that you need to blast the TV in order to hear it or that you have to asked people to repeat themselves quite often. If people often sound like they are mumbling or difficult to understand then you could be dealing with hearing loss. Approximately 48 million Americans deal with some degree of hearing loss. If you are part of this statistic then it’s important that you turn to an otolaryngologist you can trust.
While you may not realize it, an ENT doctor is exactly the specialist you want on your side to not only diagnose your hearing loss but also to provide the hearing aid you need to improve your hearing. While a hearing aid is not designed to restore hearing it can help amplify certain sounds to make hearing much easier.
There are a variety of different hearing aid options available to you, and the style you choice will really depend on your goals, lifestyle, degree of hearing loss, budget and any special features you are looking for. Common hearing aids styles include:
Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC): Just as the name suggests, this style of hearing aid is placed deep within the ear canal so it’s completely invisible. It’s a great option for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-Canal (CIC): Also good for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, this style will allow the hearing aid to be completely invisible within the ear canal. The only difference is that a clear tab on the hearing aid is used to place and remove it.
In-the-Canal (ITC): A small portion of this hearing aid is visible but it is flesh-colored so it won’t be obvious to those around you. It’s a great style for those dealing with mild to severe hearing loss.
In-the-Ear (ITE): This style is also capable of handling a wide variety of hearing loss, from mild to severe. This hearing aid is custom-made to fit the outer area of the ear rather than sitting within the ear canal.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC): This allows the speaker to sit within the ear canal where it is out of sight; however, the speaker is connected to the amplifier (which sits behind the ear) by wires rather than tubing. It’s a discreet option for those with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE): This type of hearing aid allows the speaker to lie hidden within the ear canal. The speaker is attached to a clear, thin tube that is connected to the amplifier, which sits behind the ear. This is a great option for those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.
It’s important to find the right hearing aid to fit your unique needs, and an ENT doctor can provide you with the quality hearing aid you’re looking for so that you can be part of the conversation again.
Are you suffering from allergies? Well, you're not alone. One in every six people in the United States suffers from allergies. If you are suffering from allergies, our Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and Okeechobee, FL, doctors can help.
What are Allergies?
Allergies are triggered in a variety of ways. When your immune system reacts to a certain substance, usually something that's not harmful like peanuts, people suffer from a variety of symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness and itchy, watery eyes, chronic sinus problems, frequent colds, recurring ear infections, hearing loss, dizziness, chronic cough, asthma, skin rashes, postnasal drip, head congestion, chronic headaches and fatigue.
How is your immune system triggered?
Your immune system is triggered by allergens present that you:
They appear at any age and vary in severity from one person to another. Here are a few examples of allergens you may find yourself in contact with: pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food (like nuts), insect stings (wasps or bees), and medicines.
If you don't know what you're allergic to, contact your Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and Okeechobee doctor to make an appointment for an examination.
How do allergies affect your ears, nose and throat?
Doctor diagnose your symptoms to successfully control and alleviate your allergy symptoms.
Your doctor will check:
- Ears: Allergies can inflame and swell the ear canal. Bacterial discharge clogs the middle ear's tubes and leads to infection due to improper drainage.
- Throat: People may suffer from allergies and use heater, or air conditioners that aggravate their symptoms, may experience:
- Nasal dripping due to excessive mucus production
- Sore throat (husky voice)
- Accumulation of thick and dry mucus.
- Nose: Allergens breathed in may cause bacterial sinus infections which may lead to:
- A stuffy and/or itchy nose
- Mucus production
Have questions about treatments for allergies, call your Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and Okeechobee, FL, doctor today!
Nasal congestion, nasal blockages, facial pain, and pressure—these are all symptoms that arise when sinuses go rogue. Just like the rest of the body, these hollow cavities within the skull can also fall victim to a variety of conditions and problems. The most common sinus problems include:
- Acute sinusitis (also known as a sinus infection)
- Chronic sinusitis
- Deviated septum
Unfortunately, there are countless people around the world dealing with these problems, and these chronic sinus problems have even been linked to a higher rate of depression. This is why it’s so important to have an otolaryngologist by your side that can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms and improve how your sinuses feel and function.
Millions of Americans deal with acute sinus infections each year. While they can be a nuisance, they usually don’t cause much harm and will often just run their course without treatment. In the meantime, you can ease your symptoms by applying warm facial compresses, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, staying hydrated and using nasal sprays, if necessary. Symptoms of acute sinusitis usually go away within one month.
Unfortunately, there are some people who deal with chronic sinusitis, in which symptoms last more than three months and don’t seem to respond to at-home care. When this happens it’s important that you seek medical care from a qualified ENT doctor who can provide you with more aggressive options for handling the infection.
In the past, the only treatment option for severe or chronic sinus infections was t surgery; however, now ENT doctors offer a minimally invasive treatment known as balloon sinuplasty, which is quick and easy to perform, doesn’t require any incisions or bone removal, and boasts a very fast recovery period. Balloon sinuplasty can be a great alternative to traditional sinus surgery.
A lot of people have a deviated septum but might not even realize it. If it isn’t giving you any problems then it’s not something to worry about; however, if you are dealing with severe or chronic nasal congestion, particularly on one side, this could definitely be alerting you to the fact that you have a deviated septum. Those with a deviated septum are also more likely to develop nosebleeds or recurring sinus infections. Surgery is often required to repair the septum.
Allergies are another common issue that people deal with, particularly during certain times of the year. If you find yourself fighting back sneezing and congestion rather frequently then you could be allergic to pollen, pet dander, or dust mites. Other allergy symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sinus pressure
- Itchy eyes
- Postnasal drip.
There are a variety of medications and lifestyle modifications that can keep your allergies in check. It’s important that you seek the care of an ENT specialist, as untreated allergy symptoms can often get worse.
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