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Posts for category: ENT Health

By North Texas Ear Nose and Throat
September 18, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Deviated Septum  
Deviated SeptumThe septum is a thin wall of cartilage that separates the two nasal cavities of the nose. If the septum is crooked or leans more to one side, this is known as a deviated septum. A deviated septum is quite common, and many people don’t even realize that they have one. That’s because this condition is usually rather minor and doesn’t cause serious symptoms; however, if you’re experiencing difficulty breathing through your nose you may want to see your ENT doctor for an evaluation.

If your deviated septum symptoms are mild, then your ENT specialist may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications that can help reduce inflammation within the nasal tissue to help improve airflow. Common medications used to treat a deviated septum include:
  • Antihistamines: May be effective for treating congestion or a runny nose caused by this structural abnormality
  • Nasal sprays: Most nasal sprays contain steroids, which can greatly reduce inflammation
  • Decongestants: Milder symptoms may respond to simple medications such as decongestants, which can help break up mucus and reduce inflammation within the nasal tissue
Of course, more moderate to severe symptoms may require surgery to fix the underlying problem. Symptoms of a deviated septum include:
  • Nasal obstruction or full blockage of a nasal cavity
  • Severe facial pain and pressure
  • Frequent headaches
  • Snoring
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Severe swelling
Your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to correct the abnormality if you have a fully blocked nostril or you are dealing with recurring or chronic bouts of sinusitis.

What should I expect from surgery?

If your otolaryngologist recommends surgery to correct the deviated septum, this type of surgery is known as a septoplasty. During surgery, an ENT specialist may need to remove some tissue or cartilage to make it easier to straighten the septum. In some instances, this procedure is performed along with a rhinoplasty to improve the overall shape of the nose. A septoplasty is usually only recommended if people are having significant trouble or cannot properly breathe out of their nose.

If you are unable to breathe through your nose fully or properly, we understand just how disconcerting this can be. An otolaryngologist can provide you not just with the answer you’re looking for but also comprehensive care. Find out the best way to manage your deviated septum symptoms. 
By North Texas Ear Nose and Throat
July 17, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Ear Tube Surgery  
Ear Tube SurgeryMiddle ear infections (known as otitis media) are quite common in young children, and while they are usually nothing to worry about it, it can become a problem if your child is dealing with frequent ear infections. If your child has the occasional ear infection, then you probably won’t need to consider ear tube surgery; usually, your otolaryngologist can treat the problem through antibiotics or other types of non-surgical procedures. While ear tube surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed on children each year, having a couple of ear infections throughout the year usually isn’t enough to warrant surgery.

You may want to speak with an ENT specialist about the benefits of ear tube surgery if your child has experienced at least three ear infections within the last six months. Also, if your child is dealing with muffled hearing or any hearing loss due to fluid build-up in the middle ear, then ear tubes may be beneficial. It's important to treat this quickly, as hearing problems can delay speech. Another situation that may warrant this surgery is if your child has a collapsing eardrum (known as atelectasis).

Your doctor can tell you whether or not your child could benefit from ear tube surgery. The purpose of the procedure is to place ear tubes into the ears to drain the fluid from the middle ear. This will serve two purposes:
  • To prevent future ear infections (or, at the very least, make future infections milder)
  • To improve hearing in your child
This procedure is performed by a qualified ear, nose, and throat surgeon and is performed under general anesthesia (this means your child will be asleep during the procedure). The surgery is fairly simple: a small hole is made in each eardrum to help drain the fluid. Then, once the fluid is properly drained, the surgeon will place these small tubes into the holes of the eardrums so that any fluid continues to drain properly. The surgery itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and children can get home the very same day.

Ear tubes typically stay in the eardrums for about 18 months, depending on the type of tube that was placed; however, if the ear tubes do not fall out on their own within a couple of years then an ENT surgeon may need to surgically remove them.

If your child is dealing with severe and recurring ear infections, you must see an ENT doctor right away to find out what’s going on and to make sure that they are getting the treatment they need. Ear tube surgery isn’t for every child, so talk with your qualified medical provider before deciding whether this is the right decision.
By North Texas Ear Nose and Throat
June 01, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Dysphagia  
You may take it for granted, but swallowing water, food, or saliva is actually a very complicated process. It requires vast systems of nerves and muscles working together. Patients that struggle to swallow normally have what is known as Dysphagia. This is not a stand-alone condition but a symptom of something else. It’s why you need to schedule an appointment with an Ears, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT) right away. The elderly are especially at risk and can end up aspirating. 
 
The Swallowing Process
There are four distinct stages of swallowing. You do this hundreds of times every day without even realizing it. 
  • The oral preparation stage is where the food or liquid is made ready for swallowing. In terms of food, this means chewing your food. 
  • Next is the oral stage where the tongue moves food or liquid to the back of the mouth. This starts the swallowing process.
  • Then comes the pharyngeal stage, where the contents of the mouth go through the pharynx, throat, and esophagus. 
  • Last is the esophageal stage, where it transfers from the esophagus into your stomach. 
Symptoms of Dysphagia
Pay attention to these symptoms if dysphagia is suspected:
  • A constant feeling of something, either water or liquid, being stuck in the throat.
  • Problems controlling saliva production, i.e. drooling.
  • The sensation of a lump in the throat.
  • Discomfort in the chest or throat.
  • Coughing or choking when trying to swallow, drink, or eat. This is due to substances being pulled into the lungs. 
  • Difficulties sustaining a normal weight caused by swallowing interfering with nutritional intake. 
What Is Causing My Dysphagia? 
The most common cause is Gastroesophageal Reflux. This is a GI condition where stomach acid travels up the esophagus and pharynx. Other possibilities include: 
  • Tonsillitis or throat infections
  • Scarring or damage to the esophagus
  • Medication side effects 
  • Tumors in the lungs, esophagus, or throat
  • Nerve diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
What to Expect With Treatment
Your ENT specialist works with you to determine the cause of your dysphagia. Addressing the underlying condition can start a path to recovery. 
 
In some cases the cause is unclear. Your ENT will do everything possible to determine what is behind your dysphagia. They will ask you about the history of this problem and examine your throat. They might recommend a swallow test or various types of laryngoscopy. 
By North Texas Ear Nose and Throat
May 15, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Cholesteatoma  
CholesteatomaCholesteatoma is when this excess amount of earwax creates a skin cyst on the eardrum or eardrum retraction pocket.
 
The Causes Behind Cholesteatoma
 
Cholesteatoma develops for a few different reasons. The most common one is bad ventilation in the eustachian tube. This connects the middle ear to your throat, nose, and sinuses. It’s what controls the pressure behind your eardrum. When it fails to work correctly, it doesn’t drain the middle ear, retracting the eardrum and collecting earwax and skin cells. Allergies and colds can heighten your risk of developing cholesteatoma, as these can lead to eustachian tube dysfunction.
 
Symptoms of Cholesteatoma
 
Most of the time, patients don’t realize that what they are experiencing is a cholesteatoma. The condition is not painful unless an infection occurs. Patients should expect cholesteatoma if they experience these symptoms: 
  • Frequent earache
  • Dizziness
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Drainage of foul liquid from the ear, possibly bloody
  • Hearing loss
  • Ear feelings stuffy or full
If any of these sound familiar, let your ENT doctor know right away. 
 
Treating Cholesteatoma
 
The only way to treat cholesteatoma is by removing the cyst from the ear. This is accomplished through surgical intervention. The location of the cholesteatoma determines the type of surgery. The patient undergoes testing before anything is scheduled. An examination of the ear can reveal the cholesteatoma, but not to its full extent. The patient needs a CT scan to provide precise imaging of the ear anatomy. The ENT doctor will also perform an audiogram, known as a hearing test. This indicates how much damage the cholesteatoma has caused. 
 
Before surgery, follow any advice given by the ENT. The patient may receive medications that hinder the drainage, along with antibiotics to treat the infection. The procedure is typically performed in an outpatient facility. The surgery removes the skin and infection, along with reconstructing either the eardrum or hearing bones. 
 
If you think you may be dealing with cholesteatoma, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your Ears, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor right away. 
By North Texas Ear Nose and Throat
May 01, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Hearing Aids  
Hearing loss is a widespread problem that affects large groups of people. It isn’t just caused by age, with younger people and children also being affected. It comes on gradually, with your hearing getting worse and worse. At a certain point, you need to consider investing in hearing aids. Before you talk to your Ears, Nose, and Throat specialist, educate yourself on the common signs of hearing loss. 
 
Do I Have Hearing Loss?
 
In most cases, the people around you will notice your hearing loss before you do. This is because you’ll start needing the things around you to be louder. The TV may sound quiet to you, but to others, it might be unnecessarily loud. They might also notice that they need to speak louder for you to understand them. 
 
Here are a few other common signs of hearing loss: 
  • People seem to be talking very quietly all the time
  • You find it difficult to follow along in conversations
  • Higher pitched sounds, like alarm clocks or birds, are harder to hear
  • Words with higher frequency consonants like f, t, s, p, and h are difficult to distinguish
  • You frequently ask people to repeat themselves
If you are experiencing any of these, schedule an appointment with an ENT. A hearing test can get you started on the right path. After taking the test, your doctor can determine what is causing your hearing loss and recommend hearing aids. 
 
Should I Get A Hearing Aid?
 
Hearing aids take normal sound and amplify it so that you can hear it. You’ll notice a major improvement in your ability to understand and converse with other people. 
 
Depending on your hearing test results, you may require one or two hearing aids. Binaural hearing is the ability to hear out of both ears. Sound reaches your ears at different times, letting you locate where a noise is coming from. You need binaural hearing to live a successful life. If both ears are showing lower levels of hearing, your ENT may recommend two hearing aids. Even if one ear hears better than the other, using two hearing aids improves the quality for the more affected ear. 
 
Contact a Professional Ears, Nose, and Throat Specialist Today
 
If any of the above experiences sound familiar to you, contact your local Ears, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist today. They can help evaluate your hearing and find a solution that works for you.