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ENT Specialist

When should you see an ear, nose, and throat specialist?

Issues with parts of the body located in the head are quite common. You may have tried over-the-counter drugs to help alleviate your symptoms. But when should you take your treatment to the next step be seeing an ear, nose, and throat specialist? Ear, nose, and throat specialists are trained in both medicine and surgery and treat some very common ailments.

Ear Conditions

Issues with the ear can have a great effect on your everyday life. Some common issues with the ear are infection, hearing loss, or balance issues. Hearing loss is common with about 48 million Americans having lost some hearing. Many times, hearing loss will fade slowly so it is common not to even notice it. Hearing loss is classified in degrees: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Ear, nose, and throat specialists are well equipped to deal with these issues.

Nose Conditions

Conditions with the nose and nasal cavity can include allergies and sinusitis (sinus infection). Triggers for allergies include pollen, mold, animal dander, certain foods, or things that irritate your skin. At least 1 in 5 Americans has one type of allergy. Some allergy symptoms include itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, an itchy, runny nose, and feeling tired or ill. Sinusitis is the inflammation of swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. The sinuses are the hollow spaces within the bone between your eyes. About 35 million Americans have a sinus infection at least once a year. Some symptoms include facial pain or pressure, a runny nose, loss of smell, and cough or congestion.

Throat Conditions

A few throat conditions that ENT specialists address are tonsillitis, difficulty swallowing, and voice issues. Tonsils are the two masses of tissue in the back of your throat. They act of filters by trapping germs they may otherwise enter your body. Sometimes, the tonsils can become swollen or inflamed due to bacteria or viruses. Removal of the tonsils use to be common immediately. However, tonsils are normally removed today only if the conditions are persistent. Symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • Fever
  • Read, swollen tonsils
  • Sore throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Neck pain or stiff neck
  • Scratchy, muffled, or throaty voice

Sleep Issues

A good night sleep is vital to our health and well-being. But issues with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may be limiting the quality of sleep that you (or your partner) are getting. Snoring is noisy breathing and is a common condition that can affect anyone. It also tends to get worse with age. Snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something blocks your upper airway while you sleep. Some symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Headaches in the morning
  • Snoring
  • Waking up suddenly after feeling like you’re gasping or choking
  • High blood pressure
  • Restlessness during sleep

An ear, nose, and throat specialist can conduct a physical exam to diagnose this. You may also do a sleep study by wearing monitors that take measurements on air flow, blood oxygen levels, breathing patterns, and eye movement, just to name a few.

Head and Neck Issues

Ear, nose, and throat specialists also treat infections or tumors of the head and neck, whether they are cancerous or not. The most common symptom of cancer is a swelling or sore that does not heal. It is better to err on the side of caution with a swelling or sore that you cannot explain. A lump or mass on the head or neck area, whether it is painful or not, could potentially be cancerous and. When you make an appointment sooner than later, an ear, nose, and throat specialist can get in front of the issue and increase your chances of a positive outcome if the mass turns out to be something as serious as cancer.

Making the Decision to See an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist

The wide variety of symptoms above shows that depth of knowledge that ear, nose, and throat specialists have in these areas. While you may initially be inclined to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider when facing one of the symptoms listed above, you could save time and money by contacting the ear, nose, and throat specialists at Camellia ENT instead of waiting on a referral. Additionally, ear, nose, and throat specialists are more equipped to not only diagnose but treat the root cause of many of the symptoms above.

 

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