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Posts for category: ENT Conditions

By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
June 11, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
 Itchy EarIf you are someone who swims regularly or lives in a warm climate, then you may be at an increased risk for developing a fungal infection in the ear that’s known as otomycosis. This fungal infection can impact one or both ears. Some signs that you could be dealing with otomycosis include itchy, flaky, swollen, and red skin of the ear. You may also experience ear drainage, fullness, or a loss of hearing. Discharge is incredibly common with fungal infections. If you notice these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see an ENT doctor.
 
How can you get otomycosis?

Your environment, your lifestyle, and your habits can play a role in whether you may be more at risk for developing otomycosis. As you know, fungus is everywhere, and it can be easy to pick up a fungal infection in warm or tropical climates. This is why your ENT doctor also sees a rise in fungal ear infections during the summer months.

If you swim in water that is contaminated, you could also leave with a fungal infection. Those with chronic health problems, eczema, or a weak immune system are at a much higher risk for developing otomycosis. If you develop itchy, red skin of the ear, or you notice changes in hearing or fullness in the ears, you must see a qualified ENT doctor as soon as possible. After all, fungal infections will not usually go away on their own without treatment.
 
How is a fungal ear infection treated?

First, we will need to examine the inside of your ear using an otoscope. We may also need to swab the area to determine whether the infection is bacterial or fungal. This is important as this will determine which medication will be most effective. We will also ask you questions regarding your symptoms, when they started, and your medical history.

Once we have determined that the ear infection is fungal, we will clean out the ears and then prescribe an antifungal medication. This medication may be in the form of a pill, ointment, or eardrops. While eardrops and ointment are more common treatment options, your otolaryngologist might prescribe an oral antifungal if you have a more severe or unresponsive fungal infection.
 
Since fungal ear infections have the ability to become chronic, you must turn to an ENT doctor right away to find out the best way to treat this infection.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
May 26, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Hearing Aids   Hearing Loss  
Hearing LossYou used to love going out to dinner with your friends but now you find that it’s tough to follow their conversations. You often resort to reading lips and you have trouble hearing them over loud restaurant acoustics and other lively conversations at surrounding tables. If dining out has gone from being enjoyable to being miserable, you could be dealing with hearing loss. Fortunately, an ENT and audiology team can diagnose and treat your hearing loss.

You say “huh” a lot

Do you often need people to repeat themselves? Has the word “huh” suddenly become your word of the day, every day? Having people repeat themselves is often a sign of hearing loss. Instead of assuming that everyone around you has suddenly started mumbling, it might be time to have your hearing checked by an audiologist.

You don’t hear certain sounds

Surprised to know that there was someone at the door? Did your son, daughter, or grandchild have to tell you that the kitchen timer’s been going off? Certain sounds such as a doorbell, phone ringing, or timers are often more difficult to notice if you are dealing with hearing loss. If others hear sounds clearly that you don’t, it’s time to see your doctor.

You turn the volume up

Much to your family’s chagrin, you just can’t seem to hear the TV or the radio unless you turn the volume way up. You may even notice that other members of your family have no trouble hearing the TV when you do. Again, these are signs that you shouldn’t ignore. Additionally, having to turn the volume up on your headphones or the TV can also be dangerous to your hearing and lead to more severe hearing loss down the road.

You need to look at someone while they’re talking

Do you find that you need to be looking directly at someone to understand what they are saying? Do you have trouble understanding people who are talking to you but might be standing behind you? People with hearing loss often need to look at faces to understand what a person is saying. That’s because they are usually reading lips. If you find yourself staring at people’s lips while talking to them this could be a sign that your hearing isn’t what it used to be.

An ENT doctor is going to be key to detecting and treating your hearing loss, but it’s important to turn to a doctor as soon as possible. They can provide you with hearing aids and implants that can treat everything from mild to profound hearing loss. If you want to be part of the conversation again turn to an ENT doctor today for a hearing evaluation.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
April 21, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Swimmer's Ear  
Swimmer's EarIf you or your child loves to swim, then at some point you or they may develop Swimmer’s ear, an outer ear infection that can lead to itching, redness, and pain. Of course, it can be challenging to differentiate Swimmer’s ear from other types of ear infections. An ENT doctor can happily answer any questions you may have regarding Swimmer’s ear.

What are the signs of Swimmer’s ear?

Since this infection impacts the outer ear canal, you’re more likely to experience,
  • Itchy skin, particularly inside the ear
  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain or pressure that gets worse when tugging on or pulling on the ear
  • Drainage from the ear
Symptoms associated with Swimmer’s ear are typically localized to the ear, as compared to middle ear infections, which may also lead to dizziness, nausea, or fever.

What Causes Swimmer’s ear?

Despite the name, you don’t have to be a swimmer to be at risk for developing this common ear infection. In fact, risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing Swimmer’s ear include,
  • Living in warm, humid climates
  • Excess ear wax or ear wax buildup
  • Sustaining an injury to the ear canal
  • Dry skin within the ear canal
If you are someone who cleans out their ears with cotton swabs, you are also at great risk for Swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria get inside the ear canal; therefore, trauma, cuts, or injuries to the ear can increase the risk for a bacterial infection. Hearing aids and headphones can also increase your risk for Swimmer’s ear if you don’t clean and disinfect these items regularly.

How is Swimmer’s ear treated?

Since Swimmer’s ear is due to bacteria, you’ll need to see a doctor for treatment. This type of ear infection will not go away on its own. Your ENT doctor can prescribe antibiotic ear drops that you’ll need to use daily for up to 10 days. You may also be prescribed pain medication or steroid ear drops to reduce swelling. It’s important to follow the instructions for each of these medications to ensure that the infection doesn’t return.

If you or your child is dealing with an ear infection that is causing significant pain, swelling, or changes in your hearing, it may be prudent to see an ENT doctor right away to find out the best course of action. After all, some ear infections will require antibiotics. Schedule your evaluation with an ear, nose, and throat doctor today.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
April 08, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Dizziness   Vertigo  
Vertigo and DizzinessAs kids, most of us loved putting out our arms and spinning and spinning until we fell dizzy. Of course, experiencing a spinning world around us when we are planted firmly on earth or aren’t on an amusement park ride, can feel incredibly scary. Welcome to the world of those with vertigo. Vertigo is a condition that makes you feel off-balance, lightheaded, and perhaps a bit disoriented. If this is happening to you here’s what you should know.

Vertigo and dizziness are different

Vertigo makes you feel as if you are moving even though you are standing still. The room around you may spin. You may feel nauseous, or you may even vomit if the vertigo is severe. Dizziness, on the other hand, occurs when you simply feel off-balance or lightheaded. Vertigo truly makes you feel as if you are spinning.

Vertigo is typically the result of a health problem

Vertigo is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition that impacts the function of the inner ear. How do we know that? Within our inner ears lie our vestibular system, which helps us stay oriented and balanced. Every day, an ENT doctor diagnoses and treats a variety of conditions and diseases that impact the vestibular system and cause vertigo. Some of the most common causes of vertigo include,
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Head injuries
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Colds
Vertigo may be acute and simply go away on its own, while other causes will require treatment from an ear, nose, and throat doctor. If your vertigo is severe, is persistent, or is accompanied by hearing loss or vision changes, you must see your doctor immediately.

There are many ways to treat vertigo

It’s important for an ENT doctor to first determine the cause of your vertigo before prescribing any medications or treatments. We need to treat the underlying cause effectively to get rid of your vertigo. Some of how we may treat your vertigo include,
  • Medications: Antibiotics or steroids are prescribed to treat infections or inflammation, while other medications may help alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo
  • Vestibular rehabilitation: If you deal with chronic or recurring bouts of vertigo your ENT may recommend vestibular rehab to help retrain the vestibular system to be able to better recognize the spatial orientation
  • Canalith repositioning maneuvers: This technique is most often used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and uses certain head movements to reposition calcium deposits within the canal of the inner ear
If vertigo or dizziness is happening to you or a loved one, an ENT doctor may be the perfect doctor to turn to for answers and an evaluation. Don’t ignore your symptoms of lightheadedness and dizziness. An ENT professional can help.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
March 10, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Postnasal Drip  
Postnasal DripWe’ve all experienced it: that nasty feeling when mucus drains down your throat. This problem is known as postnasal drip and it can also kick-up a variety of other unpleasant symptoms. While our throat and nasal passages are always producing mucus to protect against foreign invaders and to fight infections, sometimes the body produces too much mucus, which results in postnasal drip. Find out what causes postnasal drip and how an ENT doctor can help you manage this unpleasant symptom.

What are the signs of postnasal drip?

Along with extra mucus draining from the nose into the back of your throat, other signs of postnasal drip include:
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent cough, often worse at night
  • A need to constantly clear your throat
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Painful ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea (due to mucus going into the stomach)
What causes postnasal drip?

So, what is triggering all that unwanted and excess mucus that’s now draining down your throat? There are a few possible reasons such as:
  • A cold or flu
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Dry, cold air
  • Changes in weather
  • Deviated septum (a common malformation in the nasal wall that separates the two cavities)
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications (e.g., blood pressure medication; birth control)
  • Chemicals and environmental irritants (e.g., perfumes; smoke)
How is postnasal drip treated?

At-home care and over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines may alleviate your postnasal drip, especially if it is caused by allergies. Saline nasal sprays and neti pots can also provide moisture to the nasal passages. Sleep with your head slightly propped up and make sure that you are staying hydrated throughout the day.

If you’re dealing with recurring postnasal drip, postnasal drip that lasts more than 10 days, or postnasal drip that’s accompanied by fever or green discharge (signs of a bacterial infection), you must turn to an ENT doctor for the appropriate medication and treatment. If a bacterial infection is present, your ENT will prescribe a round of antibiotics. Structural issues such as a deviated septum can only be corrected through surgery.

If other conditions such as acid reflux could be to blame, a doctor can run the right diagnostic tests to determine the cause and to provide you with a custom treatment plan to get your postnasal drip in check.