A recent poll of parents found that over 80% say they are concerned that misuse of personal audio technology is damaging the hearing of children. Hearing loss can result from too much exposure to sound from any source that is above 85 decibels. Many new technologies such as stereo systems, handheld listening devices and even televisions can produce sound well above the level to be able to cause damage.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can be either a sudden or a gradual decrease in your ability to hear. Depending on the cause it can either be mild or severe and temporary or permanent. Many individuals who have hearing loss may not even realize it because it happens gradually over time.
How Do I know if I’m Experiencing Hearing Loss
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you should contact a doctor. Common symptoms may include:
- Feeling as if your ear is plugged, similar to having water in your ear.
- Difficulty listening to things in your environment such as individuals speaking, a radio or television.
- If you notice that you tend to listen to the television or a stereo at a higher volume then you previously used to.
If these symptoms are left unchecked they can lead to more severe symptoms and conditions such as:
- Ringing of the ears, known as Tinnitus
- Any uncomfortable feelings from irritation to severe pain
- Symptoms of Vertigo (feelings as if your surroundings are spinning)
How to Prevent Hearing Loss
Follow these basic steps to avoid and damage to your ears:
- Avoid loud noises in your environment such as motorcycles, loud music, or industrial machines.
- When you cannot avoid loud noises in your environment, make sure to wear hearing protection.
- Lower the volume of what you listen to.
- Limit the amount of time that you spend listening to music or television.
- Wear headphones that go completely around or deep inside the ear in order to limit outside noise. By limiting outside sounds it will reduce the need to increase the volume of what you are listening to.
Everybody has dealt with the pain and discomfort caused by ear infections. Though ear infections are harmless a majority of the time, it’s important to have all the facts to properly diagnose and treat ear infections.
More often than not, ear infections affect the middle ear where the eusthachian tubes connect to the back of your nose to your ears. During an ear infection, these small tubes become blocked, causing a build-up in the middle of the ear.
What are the Symptoms of Ear Infections?
Some people may not have obvious symptoms when an ear infection occurs. However, the most common ear infection symptoms include:
- Ear Pain
- Muffled Hearing
- Ear Pressure
Treating Ear Infections
It’s vital to treat ear infections as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can lead to a more severe ear infection, permanent hearing loss and problems with speech development in children. Treatment options for ear infections include:
- Antibiotics (Most common treatment option)
- Pain medications
- Prescription ear drops
If you suspect you may have an ear infection, consult your physician.
If you deal with constant runny noses and congestion, you may have more than the common cold.
Nasal polyps are benign tumors that grow in your nasal passages. If the polyps grow large enough, they can cause blockages in your airways. They are often a side effect of another health condition like allergies or an infection. Though nasal polyps are possible in everyone, they most commonly form in people with:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Sinusitis (Chronic sinus infections)
- Cystic fibrosis
Symptoms of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps are often ignored due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to the common cold. Symptoms often include:
- Sinus pressure
- Runny nose
- Decreased sensitivity to taste and smell
- Chronic sinus headaches
- Chronic nasal congestion
Can Nasal Polyps Be Treated?
Yes, nasal polyps can be treated with several different options, including nasal sprays, oral medications, nasal polyp surgery and antibiotics. Though these treatment options may decrease the effects of nasal polyps, polyps usually come back.
For more information about nasal polyps, consult your physician.
Swallowing is so simple to a majority of people. However, an estimated 15 million people in the United States suffer from Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing.
What are the Kinds of Dysphagia?
There are two kinds of Dysphagia:
Esophageal Dysphagia – Esophageal dysphagia is caused by the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach, being damaged. Common symptoms of esophageal dysphagia include:
Lack of interest in food
Pain in the chest after swallowing
Excessive coughing in the middle of the night
Nausea after swallowing
Oropharyngeal Dysphagia - Oropharyngeal dysphagia is caused by an abnormality affecting the throat or mouth. Symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia include:
Taking a long time to chew food
Getting food stuck in the throat often
Lack of interest in food
Difficulty breathing while eating
Frequent coughing while eating
Treatment Options for Dysphagia
Treatment options for dysphagia depend greatly on the type of dysphagia you are suffering from and what is causing the dysphagia. Common treatment options for dysphagia include:
Exercises for swallowing muscles. These often include retraining muscles to work together to help you swallow.
Changing your diet. Your doctor may give you specific foods you are able to eat that make swallowing easier.
Medicines. If your dysphagia is related to GERD or heartburn, your doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent stomach acid from entering the esophagus.
If you believe you may have dysphagia, consult an ENT.
Everyone has gotten a headache at some point in their lives. However, do you know what kind of headache you’ve had? It’s important to get the proper diagnosis for sinus headaches so you can properly treat the problem.
Symptoms of a Sinus Headache
Sinus headaches are caused by a blockage of normal sinus drainage. The obstruction causes mucus to build up and get trapped in your sinuses. Some of the symptoms of a sinus headache are:
Pain and pressure in the front of your face
Pain and pressure behind your eyes
Sore throat due to mucus build up
These symptoms are often intensified by damp, cold weather if it’s a sinus headache.
Effective Treatments for Sinus Headaches
The most important thing to keep in mind when looking to treat sinus headaches is to figure out what is causing it. Is it caused by allergies? Congestion?
Treatment options can include:
Try a Nasal Spray – Nasal sprays can reduce swelling and relieve sinus congestion for sinus headaches that are caused by infection or allergies.
Antibiotics – If the sinus infection is caused by infection, antibiotics can treat the problem.
Sinus Surgery – There are sinus surgery options to open the blockage, therefore reducing the amount of sinus headaches.
If you think you suffer from sinus headaches, consult your ENT.
Eighty percent of people suffer from a misalignment of the nasal septum. However, most don’t even know it!
A deviated septum is a common condition where the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity are off center and/or crooked.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
So, how do you know if you have a deviated septum? The most common symptoms of a deviated septum include:
Nasal congestion, with one side being more congested than the other.
Recurrent sinus infections
Localized facial pain, typically occurring above the eyes
Snoring during sleep
What Causes a Deviated Septum?
A deviated septum can occur for many reasons, the most common of which being impact trauma, such as a blow to the face. Other causes for a deviated septum include a congenital disorder and the bone shifting during puberty.
Treating a Deviated Septum
In some cases, deviated septum symptoms can be fixed with medications, such as decongestants and nasal sprays. However, more serious cases require a surgery, known as a septoplasty. A septoplasty is performed quickly and patients usually recover within two days to four weeks.
Consult your ENT doctor today for more information on fixing a deviated septum.
There are certain surgical procedures that may not be as invasive as others or they may have a shorter recovery time where you are up and walking around within hours. Often, these types of procedures are performed at an outpatient facility. These facilities specialize in certain types of procedures. When you use such a facility, you do not have to deal with overnight stays. Instead a few hours after your procedure, you are able to go home to recover in the comfort of your own bed.
Many people fear that the treatment they receive will not be as high in quality or the procedure could be more dangerous. However, this is not actually the case. If you have never been to an outpatient center or have never had treatment in one, there are some things you should know.
You Will Be Less Exposed to Infection
When you have a surgical procedure in a hospital facility, there is always a risk of infection no matter how careful the staff is and how clean the hospital is. There are many, many sick people in a hospital and one sneeze or cough could spread infection. However in an outpatient facility, things are quite different. Here only people that need certain procedures will be there and they will not be spreading those dangerous infections. You will be much safer from infection by having your procedure in one of these facilities.
More Attention and Less Crowding
In a hospital, the doctors, nurses, and techs must spread their attention in about 100 different directions – toward the patients already there, to new patients coming in through the emergency room, and to the families of the patients. Because of this, they are often busy and cannot give you as much attention as you would like. Additionally, you may have to wait hours to get certain tests and procedures you need during your stay. In an outpatient facility, there is no emergency room and no constant influx of patients. Your doctors and nurses will be able to spend much more time giving you direct attention during your stay.
You Will Not Be Moved from Place to Place
One of the best things about an outpatient facility is that you will not have to deal with the frustration of being moved from place to place for tests, your procedure as well as your recovery. In an outpatient facility, you have your procedure and recover all in the same place. This will make things much less of a hassle for you and you will not have to be moved until you are ready to go home.
No one wants to find out that they need surgery. There can be many scary unknowns. However, there are times when an operation is an absolute must to relieve pain, cure conditions, and restore health. If you have come to that point and your doctor has just informed you that you need surgery, you may feel a little overwhelmed or afraid.
Although your doctor may be 100% right that you need a surgical procedure, there is always room for human error or opinion-based decisions. There are times when a second opinion should not be just thought of as an option—it should be considered a must. How do you know when it’s the right idea to get a second opinion?
There is No Rule
There is no specific rule that gives you a clear-cut line when you should get a second opinion. However, there are some things you should discuss with your doctor or research on the Internet. Asking the right questions will tell you a few things.
- Why do you think I need this operation?
- Are there other alternative options to surgery to consider?
- What would happen if I chose not to have surgery?
- What are the risks and dangers of this surgery?
- Will the operation completely improve my condition or will I still have problems?
- Will there be negative changes to my body as a direct result of the surgery?
- Are you 100% confident that surgery is my only option?
If you can, get these answers from your doctor.
It is Your Decision
The bottom line is, it is your decision. Even if you cannot find any other option but surgery, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion to ensure that it’s the right option for you. Often if you are having trouble committing to the surgery, then hearing the same advice from another expert can confirm what you know and help you go ahead with that decision.
When should you get a second opinion? Often, you will want to consult another professional if there is any waver or if there are any other treatment options. Bottom line – it is your decision.
The sinuses are a series of inter-connected, hollowed spaces in the skull. Their walls are lined with mucus-secreting membranes. Small hairs sweep the mucus out of the sinuses so it can drain out through your nose. These mucus membranes may become infected or inflamed because of a cold or allergies, and can swell up and block the nasal passages so that fluid from the sinuses can’t drain. Buildup of fluid in the sinuses causes pressure and pain. Doctors call this sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis comes on quickly and then leaves. With chronic sinusitis, people have symptoms virtually all the time, and take many courses of medications such as antibiotics to treat the inflammation. Severe sinusitis may require surgical opening of the passageways with rigid steel instruments placed up through the nostril to remove bone and tissue blocking the drainage.
To learn more, check out our section on [Balloon Sinuplasty].
If your doctor has scheduled you for an operation, you are probably already wondering what’s it like to have surgery?
For most people, just the thought of having surgery can be stressful. You can reduce much of your anxiety by learning what to expect both during surgery and recovery afterwards.
- Inpatient surgery: Done in a hospital, inpatient surgery requires you to stay overnight for one or more days to allow the doctors and nurses to monitor your condition.
- Outpatient (also known as ambulatory) surgery: This is done in an outpatient clinic or hospital. You will be able to go home on the day of the surgery.
In general, when you have surgery, you can expect the following steps, although outpatient surgeries may not involve all of these.
When you arrive at the hospital or clinic for your surgery, you will be asked to provide information about your:
- health insurance
- medical history
- current pain or symptoms.
A nurse will take your vital signs, such as your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. You may also need to have other tests, like X-rays or blood tests.
You will be given a paper or plastic bracelet to wear that allows hospital staff to identify you easily.
Often, you will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for several hours before you have surgery. Food or liquid in your stomach can increase the risk of complications, or cause vomiting during or after surgery.
For most surgeries, some type of medicine (anesthesia or anesthetics) is used to make you fall asleep or to numb part of your body so you don’t feel it during surgery.
These medicines are given before your surgery, and include:
- General anesthesia: This will make you unconscious during the surgery. If this is used, an anesthesiologist (a doctor or nurse) will monitor you during the surgery and adjust the medicines, if needed.
- Local anesthetic: These are used to numb the area of the body where the surgery will be done. You may also be given a drug that doesn’t put you to sleep but will make you drowsy.
The hospital staff will prepare (also called “prep”) you for having surgery. This includes:
- Cleaning or shaving (if needed) the part of your body that will be operated on.
- Asking you to remove your jewelry, hair ties and contact lenses.
- Providing you with a hospital gown to wear (instead of your clothing).
- Having an IV (intravenous) line inserted in your arm by a nurse. This is attached to a bag of fluid and is used to give you anesthetics, fluids or medicines needed during surgery.
- Hooking you up to equipment that monitors your blood pressure and heart rate.
In the operating room, you may notice that the doctors and nurses are all wearing protective clothing. This includes masks, gowns, caps, booties and plastic eyeglasses. These are worn to reduce your chance of getting an infection during surgery.
In some hospitals or clinics, medical or nursing students may be present in the room during your surgery. They are there to watch and learn the procedure.
Recovery After Surgery
After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room (also known as the postoperative room, or post-op). Your condition will be monitored by nurses for up to a few hours, depending upon the type of surgery.
When you wake up from the general anesthesia, you may feel confused, groggy, nauseated, chilly, or even sad. When you are fully awake, the surgeon will meet with you to tell you how the surgery went.
If you experience any pain after surgery, you will be given pain medications (either pills or in your IV line). You may also be given antibiotics to reduce your chance of infection.
If you are staying overnight in the hospital, you will be brought to a hospital room, where nurses will monitor your condition until it is time for you to leave.