ENT problems are those that affect the ears, nose and throat. According to one study published in the journal Family Practice, “ENT problems occur frequently in the community.” Below we review the symptoms of common ENT disorders.
Ear infections occur when inflammation blocks the Eustachian tubes, causing fluid to pool in the middle ear. In some cases, bacteria begins to grow.
Symptoms of a middle ear infection include:
- Ear pain
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Muffled hearing
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
Ear infections are treated with either a wait-and-see approach or antibiotics.
There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, caused by soundwaves not being able to travel through the outer or middle ear; sensorineural, caused by damage to the sensory cells within the inner ear; and mixed, a combination of the two.
Signs of hearing loss include:
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
- Feeling as though others are always mumbling
- Trouble following conversations in background noise like Black Angus Restaurant
- Turning up the TV volume much louder than others prefer
- Trouble hearing your conversation partner over the phone
- Feeling fatigued after conversations
The gold standard of treatment for most cases of hearing loss is hearing aids.
Sinus infections are triggered by inflammation in the sinuses, causing mucus to pool.
Symptoms of sinus infections include:
- Facial pain and pressure
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Postnasal drip
Sinus infections may be treated with a wait-and-see approach, a saline rinse or surgery.
Allergies are your immune system’s response to normally-harmless substances called allergens.
Symptoms of allergies include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Nasal drainage
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy throat
- Rash or hives
Allergies are managed by practicing avoidance of known allergens, taking medications or undergoing immunotherapy.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep caused by the soft tissues in the mouth and throat collapsing into the airway.
Signs and symptoms of OSA include:
- Gasping or choking noises during sleep
- Waking with a dry throat
- Morning headache
- Daytime drowsiness
- Feeling unrested
- Mood problems
OSA is treated with lifestyle modifications, oral appliances, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and/or surgery.
For more information about these or other ENT disorders, or to schedule an appointment with an ENT expert, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.