If you suddenly notice hearing loss or discharge draining from the ear this can be rather unnerving. If you notice these symptoms it’s important that you visit an otolaryngologist right away, as you might be suffering from a cholesteatoma, a serious ear problem that can cause some long-term and serious complications if left untreated.
This condition causes a benign growth to form within the middle of the ear right behind the eardrum. While this can occur at birth, it most often appears in those who experience multiple middle ear infections throughout their life. Besides hearing loss and drainage (which typically omits a bad odor), you may also notice issues with balance or even paralysis of certain facial muscles. If you are experiencing any of the classic signs of a cholesteatoma it’s important that you seek proper medical attention right away and from a medical specialist like an ENT doctor who will know exactly how to diagnose and treat your ear condition.
Leaving a cholesteatoma untreated is not an option, as it will continue to grow and damage the eardrum, which will cause permanent hearing loss. The cyst will continue to grow and may even spread to the face, where you could also develop serious life-threatening conditions like meningitis or an abscess in the brain.
The best way to determine whether or not you have a cholesteatoma is to visit your ENT doctor who will be able to examine the inside of the ear with special instruments. In some cases, imaging tests may need to be performed, particularly if you are dealing with muscle paralysis or vertigo.
The only way to properly treat a cholesteatoma is with surgery where our otolaryngologist will carefully remove the growth from the ear. This is the only way to prevent it from growing any larger. Once we have determined that your symptoms are due to a cholesteatoma, we will provide you with antibiotics, ear drops and other medications that will help to reduce swelling and pain and also treat the infection prior to your surgery.
Cholesteatoma surgery is an easy outpatient procedure and it’s performed under general anesthesia so you will be asleep throughout the surgery. After we have removed the cyst you will still need to come in for another surgery so that we can repair any damage that was done to the ear and to make sure that the entire cyst was successfully removed. Even once the follow-up surgery is complete, you will want to keep up with regular visits to see your otolaryngologist to make sure the cholesteatoma doesn’t return.
While hearing loss—to some degree—is fairly common as we get older, it doesn’t mean that younger adults can’t also experience some form of hearing loss. Whether you are concerned that your hearing is declining or you are trying to prevent hearing loss from happening to you, here are some reasons why this problem can occur earlier on in life.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
One of the most common reasons people develop hearing loss is exposure to loud and harmful noises. A lot of these noises are present in our environment such as the construction happening right outside our apartment or the traffic jam you always seem to get stuck in at rush hour. Repeated exposure to these harmful elements can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIFL). Everyone from children and teens to adults can develop this form of hearing loss.
In some cases, NIFL is caused by exposure to one extremely loud sound (e.g. explosion), while other times it’s due to repeated, long-term exposure to harmful noises. Everything from hunting to using a lawnmower can put your hearing at risk.
Luckily, NIFL is preventable. It’s important to understand that certain noises can be dangerous to your hearing. By incorporating more hearing-friendly practices into your day-to-day life you could reduce your risk of hearing loss. Besides knowing what sounds are harmful to your ears, it’s important that you consider wearing some kind of protection (e.g. ear plugs) when exposed to these noises. If you don’t have protection and can’t reduce the sound, try to stay as far away from it as possible.
Injuries the eardrum, sudden changes in pressure or even loud noises can cause the eardrum to rupture. Sometimes an undetected ear infection can also cause this problem. As a result, hearing can be affected.
While sometimes hearing loss after a ruptured eardrum is only temporary if the eardrum doesn’t heal properly or isn’t treated this could lead to repeated ear infections which, over time, could cause permanent hearing loss. If you are someone who is prone to infections, or if you think your eardrum has ruptured, it’s important that you turn to an ENT doctor right away.
If you aren’t able to hear people as clearly as you once did it’s important that you get a hearing screening as soon as possible. The sooner you seek care the sooner you can get the treatment you need to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse. Turn to an otolaryngologist today.
At some point in your lifetime, you may end up dealing with symptoms or issues that affect your ears, nose or throat. While some people may exhibit obvious symptoms this doesn’t mean that everyone will. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s going on with your ear, nose and throat health. Here are just some of the most common ENT problems and how they are addressed.
This is by far the most common ENT problem that a doctor will diagnose and treat. While ear infections are more likely to develop in young children, people of all ages can develop this infection. One of the classic symptoms of an ear infection is ear pain, discharge, muffled or reduced hearing, and a red, inflamed ear. If you are experiencing an earache, it’s important that you visit your otolaryngologist. Not treating an ear infection could lead to serious long-term complications.
Many people will face a sinus infection at some point during their lifetime, but most of the time it will be completely innocuous and self-limiting. Of course, you may need help managing your symptoms or making sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are truly due to a sinus infection and not something else.
While a sinus infection can easily be diagnosed just by going through the symptoms you are experiencing, we may also need to perform an endoscopy to be able to look inside the nasal passageways to determine if there is a blockage. While sinus infections will often go away on their own, there is the possibility that you may face chronic sinusitis (which lasts more than 12 weeks and doesn’t respond to self-care measure). If this happens it’s important that you turn to your doctor for help.
This infection leads to painful, inflamed tonsils (the tissue in the back of the throat). While a sore throat may also be the result of a viral infection, if you are faced with a severe sore throat that doesn’t go away, it’s important that you visit an ENT doctor who can provide a proper diagnosis. Just by swabbing the back of the throat and looking for the presence of streptococcal bacteria, an ENT specialist can easily diagnose strep throat. If we detect strep throat, you will be prescribed a round of antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria.
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially dangerous sleep condition that causes a person to stop breathing many times while asleep. Some people can experience hundreds of breathing cessations throughout one evening. Those with sleep apnea find themselves extremely exhausted when first waking up (even if they got enough sleep) and may struggle to get through the day. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or stroke if left untreated. If you are a loud snorer if you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, if you wake up with headaches or if you find yourself feeling excessively tired throughout the day then it’s time to see a specialist.
Whether you are experiencing symptoms or you just have questions about ENT health, it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can answer all of your questions and prevent, diagnose and even treat a host of ENT issues.
While it might not seem like there is a purpose behind why your ear produces earwax, there most certainly is. Even though a lot of people try to clean out their ears on their own, it’s important to remember that ears are self-cleaning. This means that the earwax will typically just come out on its own. Of course, there are times when earwax can become impacted or blocked, which can temporarily cause muffled hearing and discomfort.
Why does impacted earwax happen? There are a few things that could be to blame but one of the most common causes is at-home ear cleanings. While it might seem rather unhygienic, you don’t need to clean your ears, and should never place a cotton swab into the ear canal as you risk damaging or injuring your ear. One look at the package of cotton swabs and you’ll see that it states that you should never place it in your ear. Plus, these swabs can end up just pushing earwax deeper into your ear, which can lead to pain and other problems.
If you have a narrow ear canal or if you are older you may be more prone to earwax impactions. If this is the case, you may want to visit an ENT doctor rather regularly for proper earwax removal. You may also find that you are prone to earwax buildup if you constantly place things in your ears, whether you often use headphones or a hearing aid.
Fortunately, an otolaryngologist will often treat earwax impaction through prescription-strength eardrops that will successfully breakup the wax. Of course, if this treatment doesn’t work then you may need to come in so that we can safely and effectively wash out your ears and dislodge the earwax completely.
Remember to never try to remove the earwax buildup yourself, as they could just end up causing more issues in the long run. While there are kits that you can use at home to help irrigate and clean out the ears, if you aren’t noticing a change in your symptoms after three days it’s a good idea to visit your otolaryngologist for care.
There are several techniques for removing wax, from irrigating the ear to using a painless suctioning device. The earwax treatment we recommend for you will depend on several factors such as health and structure of your ear.
If you are dealing with earwax impaction then it’s time you turned to an otolaryngologist who can safely remove the buildup.
Has the quality of your hearing decreased? Our Fairfield, OH, ENT, Dr. George Bauer, shares a few steps you can take if you have hearing loss.
Maintain eye contact
Watching expressions and mouth movements may help you decipher words that are a little difficult to hear. When you're speaking to a friend, family member or co-worker, ask the person to maintain eye contact at all times.
Take advantage of closed captioning
Closed captioning can help you follow your favorite TV shows or enjoy a movie at a local theater. Many people who have hearing loss respond to difficulty hearing the television by turning up the volume. In addition to irritating your family or roommates, increasing the volume may not be helpful. If you have difficulty distinguishing dialogue from background music, volume may not make a difference. Reading the dialogue at the bottom of the screen, in addition to listening to it, can be helpful.
Send follow-up communications
If you're not sure that you understand the point that your spouse or boss was trying to make, it's a good idea to send follow-up emails or texts. Because it's easy to miss crucial words during a conversation when you have hearing loss, confirming what you thought you heard can help you avoid problems.
See an ear, nose and throat doctor
Determining the source of your problem is the key to finding a solution that will help you hear better. Damage to the hair cells in the ear is a common cause of hearing loss. Changes to your hair cells may happen as you grow older or can be caused by medication side effects, exposure to loud noises or may happen if you've had certain diseases.
Fortunately, hearing devices offer an effective solution if your hearing loss is caused by hair cell damage. Although raising the volume of the world around you is an important function of the devices, they also help you filter out extraneous noises.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, you'll receive a thorough examination and in-depth hearing evaluation when you visit our Fairfield office. Based on the results of your examination and evaluation, we'll recommend the best type of hearing device for your needs.
Hearing loss doesn't have to completely change your life. If you've been having trouble hearing, call our Fairfield, OH, ENT, Dr. Bauer, at (513) 860-4771 to schedule an appointment.
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