Frequently asked questions

EAR

Q: Why does the body produce earwax?


A: Cerumen or earwax is healthy in normal amounts and serves as a self-cleaning agent with protective, lubricating, and antibacterial properties. The absence of earwax may result in dry, itchy ears. Earwax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum, but in the outer one-third of the ear canal. So when a patient has wax blockage against the eardrum, it is often because patient has been probing the ear with such things as cotton-tipped applicators, bobby pins, twisted napkin corners or Hearing Aids in the inner canal. These objects only push the wax in deeper.Make an appointment with our Specialist.




Q:Why do children have more ear infections than adults?


A: Children have Eustachian tubes that are shorter, more horizontal, and straighter than those of adults. These factors make the journey for the bacteria quick and relatively easy. A child's tube is also floppier, with a smaller opening that easily clogs.




Q: What is the most common surgical treatment for ear infections?


A: Our doctors will try a special combination of prescriptions first before considering surgery. If this treatment plan does not work then the doctor will, under anesthesia, perform a myringotomy with insertion of tympanostomy tubes (T-Tube). A tube is inserted in the middle ear to allow continuous drainage of fluid., thus releasing pressure.




Q: What are the symptoms of otitis media (inflamamation of the middle ear) in infants, young children, adolescents and adults?


A: In infants and toddlers look for: pulling or scratching at the ear, hearing problems, crying, irritability, fever, vomiting, and ear drainage A: In young children, adolescents and adults look for: ear ache, feeling of fullness or pressure, hearing problems, dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, vomiting, ear drainage and or fever.





NOSE

Q: What is sinusitis?


A: Sinusitis is an inflammation of the membrane lining of any sinus, especially one of the paranasal sinuses. Acute sinusitis is a short-term condition that responds well to antibiotics and decongestants; chronic sinusitis is characterized by at least four recurrences of acute sinusitis. Either medication or surgery is a possible treatment.




Q: What is post-nasal drip?


A: Glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus (one to two quarts a day). Mucus moistens and cleans the nasal membranes, humidifies air, traps and clears inhaled foreign matter, and fights infection. Although it is normally swallowed unconsciously, the feeling of it accumulating in the throat or dripping from the back of your nose is called post-nasal drip. This sensation can be caused by excessively thick secretions or by throat muscle and swallowing disorders.




Q: What is a deviated septum?


A: A "deviated septum" occurs when the nasal septum is severely shifted away from the midline of nose. The most common symptom from a badly deviated or crooked septum is difficulty breathing through the nose. The symtoms are usually worse on one side, and sometimes actually occur on the side opposite the bend. In some cases the crooked septum can interfere with the drainage of the sinuses, resulting in repeated sinus infections. A deviated septum may cause one or more of the following: blockage of one or both nostrils, nasal congestion, frequent nosebleeds, frequent sinus infections, facial pain, headaches, postnasal drip, and noisy breathing during sleep.





THROAT

Q: What are the causes and symptoms of a sore throat?


A: Infections by contagious viruses or bacteria are the source of the majority of sore throats. Viruses: Sore throats often accompany viral infections, including the flu, colds, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, and croup. One viral infection, infectious mononucleosis or "mono" takes much longer than a week to be cured. Bacteria: Strep throat is an infection caused by a particular strain of streptococcus bacteria. This infection can also damage the heart valves (rheumatic fever) and kidneys (nephritis), cause scarlet fever, tonsillitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, and ear infections. Symptoms of strep throat often include fever (greater than 101F), white draining patches on the throat, and swollen or tender lymph glands in the neck. Children may have a headache and stomach pain. Other Causes: Tonsillitis is an infection of the lumpy-appearing lymphatic tissues on each side of the back of throat. Infections in the nose and sinuses also can cause sore throats, because mucous from the nose drains down into the throat and carries the infection with it. The most dangerous throat infection is epiglottitis, which infects a portion of the larynx (voice box) and causes swelling that closes the airway. Allergies due to pollens and molds cause sore throats, irritation caused by dry heat, a chronic stuffy nose, pollutants, chemicals, and straining your voice can also irritate your throat. Reflux, or a regurgitation of stomach acids up into the back of the throat, can cause you to wake up with a sore throat. Tumors of the throat, tongue, and larynx (voice box) can cause a sore throat with pain radiating to the ear and /or difficulty swallowing. Other important symptoms can include hoarseness, noisy breathing, a lump in neck, unexplained weight loss, and/or spitting up blood in the saliva or phlegm.





ALLERGY

Q: What are the Major Food Allergens?


A: A major food allergen is defined as one of the following foods or food groups, or is an ingredient that contains protein derived from one of the following foods or food groups: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts; such as almonds, walnuts and pecans; soybeans; wheat; fish and shellfish, such as crab, lobster, and shrimp.




Q: What are allergy shots?


A: Allergy shots is the term often used for allergen immunotherapy treatment, or allergy vaccination. Allergen immunotherapy involves administering gradually increasing amounts of an allergen to a patient over several months. The injections are first given on a weekly or bi-weekly bsis, and when the maintenance level is reached, eventually on a monthly basis. This process reduces symptoms that are otherwise triggered by allergen exposure . Immunotherapy treatment is the closest thing to a "cure" for allergic symptoms, because once you reach a maintenance dose of allergen vaccine or have finished your course of treatment, your symptoms are typically greatly reduced. We recommend that allergy testing be done every three to five years to check the severity of the reaction, if any.





HEARING

This 3-item questionnaire can be used to screen for hearing loss:


1. Do members of your family complain about having to speak louder or having to repeat themselves? 2. Do many of your friends and family seem to mumble? 3. Do you frequently have difficulty hearing in restaurants or family gatherings?




Q: Can Hearing Aids help me?


A: Yes they can in almost all cases. Typically called "nerve Damage" or nerve Deafness" in the past, almost any loss of hearing sensitivity can be corrected entirely. Any potential medical or surgical treatment options can be discussed with the physician immediately before making any other decisions.




Q: Can hearing aids help me understand in noisy places?


A: Yes they can in almost all cases. All hearing aids offered in our office use digital noise reduction, DNR, and/or directional microphones. Most reliably, the directional microphones automatically amplify speech from in front of you more than noise coming from beside areound and behind you. This produces maximum word recognition improvement in noisy places. DNR from at least 2 separate laboratories also demonstrates significant noise reduction without interfering with speech signals, and in fact, improved word recognition in noise.