August is wellness month, and a resource to help you in your overall wellness is an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, or ENT. An ENT specializes in all ailments of the ear, nose and throat, and can help you with the following eight conditions.
#1 Hearing Loss
If you feel like your hearing has gotten worse, or if you often find yourself turning up the volume on your devices, it may be time to seek hearing help from an ENT. Your ENT can work with an audiologist to uncover the cause of your hearing loss. Causes range from a buildup of earwax or an ear infection, to a ruptured eardrum or inner ear damage.
#2 Chronic Ear Infections
Ear infections are infections of the air-filled space behind the eardrum. Most commonly affecting children from ages six months to two years, ear infections can cause congestion, swelling, fever, headache, impaired hearing and loss of balance.
If your child is consistently developing ear infections, it’s a good idea to talk with an ENT specialist. Ear infections can impact their ability to hear clearly, and recurrent infections can cause speech, social and developmental delays.
The most common treatment for chronic ear infections are inner ear tubes that help ventilate the ear and prevent any future fluid buildups.
#3 Tinnitus or Ringing in the Ear
Tinnitus or ringing in the ear, refers to head or ear noise from no external source that persists for longer than five minutes and occurs more than once per week. For many patients, tinnitus is incredibly bothersome and can affect their ability to go about their daily lives. Though there is no cure for tinnitus, an ENT can help you with strategies to decrease your perception of the ringing.
Vertigo, or chronic dizziness, is most commonly caused by dislodged calcium crystals in your inner ear. It can sometimes be a short-term issue, like when you stand up too quickly, have a migraine or are taking certain medication. Over 30% of Americans have reported experiencing vertigo at some point in their lives. If you have chronic vertigo, especially when moving your head by rolling over, looking up or bending down, an ENT can help you with strategies to manage this problem.
Chronic stuffy nose, or sinusitis, occurs when your sinuses are inflamed and swollen. The swelling interferes with your nasal drainage, causing a stuffy nose. Patients with sinusitis may find it difficult to breathe through their nose, have tenderness around their eyes, and/or have a discolored discharge from their nose. Chronic sinusitis is marked by a history of sinus infections that don’t respond to typical treatment. An ENT can help determine the cause of your sinusitis and develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
#6 Swollen Lymph Nodes
Your lymph nodes play a key role in helping your body ward off infections. You have many lymph nodes in your head and neck that can become swollen or tender due to infection.
Most swollen lymph nodes get better on their own; however, if they are persistent for more than two weeks, get bigger, feel hard or rubbery, or are associated with fever, night sweats and weight loss, you should seek the help of an ENT immediately.
#7 Chronic Tonsillitis
If you have a chronic sore throat, or your tonsils are constantly inflamed, your ENT can help diagnose your symptoms and help determine a treatment plan. Common symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, tender lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing.
#8 Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition characterized by patients who stop breathing or experience shallow breath patterns during sleep. When this occurs, you may snore loudly or make choking sounds as your brain tries to regulate your breathing. More than 18 million Americans are living with sleep apnea, but many go undiagnosed.
An ENT can perform a sleep study to measure your oxygen levels. Treatment is important as sleep apnea can cause your brain to be oxygen deprived during sleep, causing restlessness and chronic fatigue.
At Townsen Memorial, our family of hospitals are equipped with the latest in ENT technology and specialists. If you’re suffering from any of the conditions above, we can help.
We strive to provide the best patient experience across all Townsen Memorial affiliated sites. Our standard of high-quality care starts at our Emergency Room and carries on through our Imaging Centers, Surgery Centers, and through our Hospital. Our medical sites are located in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas, to provide the best care to patients in and around Harris County. To learn more, visit townsenmemorialhospital.com or call 1-877-494-9487.