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Posts for category: ENT Conditions

By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
July 14, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Nasal Polyps  
Nasal polyps are benign growths that develop within the lining of the nasal cavities. There are many reasons why someone may develop polyps, from chronic inflammation to allergies. It is believed that anywhere from 4-40 percent of the US population has nasal polyps, with it impacting men 2-4 more often than women. This condition is also seen more often in young adults and middle-aged adults. While small nasal polyps often don’t cause issues, it’s when they get larger that an ENT specialist sees more patients coming in complaining of pain and other problems.

What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?

Nasal PolypsNasal polyps are typically to blame for chronic inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity. People with nasal polyps may not realize that they have them, but they may be more likely to deal with other problems such as chronic sinusitis.

Chronic sinusitis and other nasal issues are typically what bring people into our ENT practice in the first place. From there, we can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to see if you could be dealing with nasal polyps.

Other warning signs include:
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Referred pain in the upper teeth
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Headaches
  • Recurring nosebleeds
When should I see an ENT doctor?

If you are dealing with nasal symptoms that last more than 10 days, then it’s a good idea to see your otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on. After all, these symptoms can also be caused by other respiratory conditions that may require treatment or special care, and it’s important to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms so we know how to best treat them.

How are nasal polyps treated?

Medication is typically the first line of treatment for managing symptoms of nasal polyps. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
  • Antibiotics
  • Antileukotrienes to reduce inflammation
  • Antihistamines
  • Immunotherapy
Patients may also benefit from simple drug-free treatment options such as using a Neti pot or salt water rinse to clean out the nasal passages daily. If you are still dealing with symptoms despite medication and other treatments, your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to remove the polyps. While polyps will eventually come back, it can take months or even years for this to occur.

If you are battling symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you could actually be dealing with nasal polyps. Any sinus or nasal symptoms that last for weeks on end should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
June 25, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Perforated EardrumA perforated or ruptured eardrum occurs when a hole or tear develops in this flap of skin in the ear. Since a perforated eardrum can lead to hearing loss or leave your ear susceptible to infection, you must be able to recognize the signs of a perforated eardrum so you can turn to an ENT doctor right away. While a perforated eardrum will often heal on its own without treatment, it is still best to see your doctor.
 
What causes a perforated eardrum?
 
One of the most common causes of a perforated eardrum is a middle ear infection, which can cause the eardrum to rupture due to a buildup of fluids that puts pressure on the eardrum. Sometimes a ruptured eardrum can occur due to pressure changes in the atmosphere as compared to the air pressure in your ear. When there is a severe imbalance, such as can happen while flying in an airplane or scuba diving, the eardrum may rupture.
 
Head trauma, injury or objects being placed in the ear, and even loud noises also have the ability to rupture an eardrum.
 
What are the warning signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum?
 
If you have an ear infection chances are fairly good that you are dealing with a lot of pain, pressure, and fullness in the ear. You may even have muffled hearing as a result. If the pressure builds up and you don’t see a doctor for treatment this can cause the eardrum to burst. When the eardrum bursts you may notice instant relief from pain. You may also notice that the pressure goes away and that the ear starts to drain. There may even be pus present in the fluid that’s draining from the ears. Sometimes there is blood.
 
It is not uncommon to have changes in hearing as a result of the ruptured eardrum; however, with the proper care and treatment, the hearing should return once the eardrum has fully healed.
 
How long does a perforated eardrum take to heal?
 
It can take a couple of weeks and even up to a couple of months for the eardrum to heal. Certain factors may slow the healing process. It’s important not to get the ear wet and to protect it from further injury while it is healing. You may also need to visit your ENT doctor regularly for checkups until the eardrum has fully healed.
 
If you are showing signs of a perforated eardrum, don’t wait to turn to your ear, nose, and throat doctor for care. Protect your hearing and your health by turning to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who can determine the best course of action.
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.