- You are dealing with seven or more tonsil infections in just one year
- You have more than five tonsil infections a year for two years in a row
- You have three infections per year for three years in a row
- Your infected tonsils are not responding to antibiotics
- You’re dealing with enlarged tonsils (this can also cause obstructive sleep apnea and issues with breathing while sleeping)
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
Wondering if you or your child is dealing with a case of tonsillitis? It’s possible if these symptoms appear:
- A severe sore throat
- White or yellow patches on the throat and tonsils
- Swollen, inflamed tonsils
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Persistent bad breath
- Pain or trouble swallowing
This procedure is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, so you or your child will not be awake during the procedure; however, this is a minor procedure, so patients can go home the very same day. A tonsillectomy takes anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour and the area does not require stitches.
After a tonsillectomy, it is important to take ample time to rest and recover, which can take up to one week before returning to normal activities and up to two weeks before returning to physical activity. Your otolaryngologist will provide you with detailed recovery instructions to follow after your surgery.
If your child is dealing with persistent and severe tonsillitis, or if you’re dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to consult with your ENT specialist to find out if you or your child’s tonsils need to be removed. Schedule an evaluation today.
Tinnitus is the result of damage to hair cells within the inner ear. Tinnitus is most often characterized as a ringing in the ear, but others may hear a clicking, hissing, or whizzing sound. You may hear it in one ear or both and sometimes it can be loud.
While tinnitus isn’t dangerous it can certainly be annoying, especially if it’s loud or happening regularly. If symptoms are severe it may even affect your quality of life.
What causes tinnitus?
Along with exposure to loud noises (often from occupations in the construction or music industries), there are other causes of tinnitus including:
- A head injury
- Impacted wax or wax buildup
- Meniere’s disease (a condition of the inner ear)
- Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; medication for blood pressure)
If tinnitus is the result of something simple like caffeine or impacted wax, then simply remove the wax or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Sometimes tinnitus will simply go away on its own.
Even though there isn’t anything that can cure tinnitus, your ENT doctor can provide you with a variety of treatment options to make living with tinnitus easier, such as:
- Adding white noise to your room (e.g. turning on a fan)
- Altering your medication (if medication is causing your symptoms, talk with your doctor before stopping or replacing medication)
- Wearing a hearing aid
- Trying acupuncture or alternative treatments, which may also provide relief
- Wearing earplugs to protect your hearing from further noise exposure, especially when operating loud machines (e.g. lawnmower; blender)
- Keeping your ears clean and seeing your doctor regularly if you are prone to ear wax impaction
If you are experiencing ringing ears that persist for weeks, then it’s time to see a doctor for an evaluation. If you also experience dizziness or hearing loss in one or both ears this could be a symptom of Meniere’s disease, and you should see your doctor right away.
If you are concerned about ringing ears, dizziness, or other problems affecting your ear health, then call an ENT specialist to find out what’s going on and how to best treat it.
- Pressure or fullness in the ears
- Muffled hearing
- Pain in the ears
- Ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus)
- Issues with balance
- A popping or clicking sensation in the ears
Children are often more at risk for developing Eustachian tube dysfunction because these tubes are shorter than they are in adults. This means that it’s easier for bacteria or fluid to get trapped within the middle ear. The good news is that these symptoms usually go away on their own and typically without treatment. There are things you can do such as chewing gum to help make the issue go away. If the problem persists then it’s time to see an otolaryngologist.
Once your ENT doctor has conducted a thorough examination of you or your child’s ears there are several approaches for alleviating the symptoms of eustachian tube dysfunction:
- If Eustachian tube dysfunction is due to an allergic reaction then your doctor may prescribe decongestants or antihistamines, which can reduce swelling and target the body’s response to the allergen.
- A minor procedure can be performed in which an otolaryngologist makes a small incision in the eardrum to remove the fluid that’s trapped in the middle ear. The eardrum will then heal in a couple of days.
- Sometimes implants are placed into the eardrums to help drain the fluid and to prevent fluid from building up. This is a recommended treatment for children who develop frequent ear infections due to eustachian tube dysfunction.
- A special balloon catheter procedure (similar to the one used to treat chronic sinusitis) can be directed into the nose and into the eustachian tube, where it opens up the tubes to help them drain properly.
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
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.
- A continuing cough
- Hoarseness of voice
- Unexplained and significant weight loss
- Trouble swallowing easily (dysphagia)
- Pain in the jaw or ear
- White or red patches or sores in the mouth which do not heal
- Nose bleeds
- Swollen tissues anywhere in the head/neck area
- Numbness in the mouth and especially the tongue
- Continual nasal congestion
- Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco
- Excessive alcohol consumption (more than two drinks daily if you a man and more than one a day for women)
- HPV exposure (Human Papilloma Virus) through oral sex
- A diet low in vegetables and fruit
- GERD, or acid reflux disease, in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus
- Trouble with breathing and speaking
How to beat it
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