Posts for category: Hearing Problems
Otitis media—that's the medical term for a middle ear infection. While the ailment more commonly plagues young children, ear infections can impact teens and adults, as well, with tobacco smoke, having a cold or flu, and being prone to allergies all being risk factors for repeat episodes. At Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West, AZ, your team of four otolaryngologists work with patients to diagnose, treat, and prevent this uncomfortable problem. Read below to learn more about ear infections!
Symptoms of ear infections
Ear infections vary widely in intensity and in the symptoms they create. Signs may include:
- Sore throat
- A feeling of fullness in the affected ear
- Drop in hearing
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Perforation of the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, in severe cases
Diagnosing ear infections
Your ear doctors in Sun City West, AZ, have the expertise to recognize otitis media, and they can make the latest in treatment options available for you. When you come to Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, your doctor will review your health history and symptoms, as well as examine your ear with a lighted otoscope. This instrument enables the doctor to see into your ear canal and to observe any inflammation, drainage, and bulging of the eardrum. They may also blow a gentle puff of air onto the ear drum or perform a painless test called a tympanogram to note how well your eardrum moves.
Treating ear infections
With a confirmed diagnosis, your treatment may include:
- Antibiotics and pain medication
- Decongestants and/or steroidal medications (to reduce inflammation)
- Tympanostomy tubes to relieve pressure behind the ear drum (used for chronic otitis media)
Ear tubes, while more common for children, may also help adults who have repeated ear infections. These super-thin plastic tubes create an opening in the eardrum which alleviates pressure build-up due to fluid. Adults and teens may be able to have these placed in the office, but children require hospital placement and anesthesia.
Preventing ear infections
Frankly, some people get more ear infections than others do. Additionally, children, with their frequent colds and more horizontally-oriented eustachian tubes (an anatomical canal between the middle ear and the throat), get ear infections more easily.
While it can be difficult to avoid all ear infections, you may try these strategies to decrease how many you or a loved one get:
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Control your allergies
- Get treatment for a suspected infection as soon as possible
At Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, we want you to know that otitis media can be treated successfully and if chronic, managed properly to avoid sick days away from school or work, as well as prevent more serious health complications (such as hearing loss). If you think you have an ear infection, please call one of our two offices right way for an appointment: For Sun City, call (623) 972-2961, and for Sun City West, phone (623) 975-1660.
Are you worried that your ear pain could be a sign of an infection? Ear infections are very common and can be caused by viral and bacterial infections. Ralph E. Bassett, MD, is here to explain ear infection symptoms and treatment options. Dr. Bassett, your ear doctor in Sun City West, and his colleagues, Drs. Sanford Hoffman and Paul Borgesen, treat ear infections and other ear, nose and throat problems.
What is an ear infection?
An ear infection also called acute otitis media, causes inflammation in the middle ear, which is located behind the eardrum. Fluids normally drain out of your ear through the eustachian tube, a passage that leads to the upper throat and back of the nasal cavity. If you have a viral or bacterial infection, the eustachian tube lining starts to swell and fills up with mucus, which prevents drainage and causes pain and pressure.
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
Pain is the primary symptom of an ear infection, although you may also notice trouble hearing, pressure in the affected ear and fluid drainage from the ear. Children are more prone to developing ear infections because they have shorter eustachian tubes. Common symptoms of ear infections in young children, in addition to pain, include:
- Pulling on the ear
- Trouble sleeping
- Balance issues
- Drainage from the ear
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty hearing
- Fever of 100 or higher
How is an ear infection treated?
Many ear infections improve on their own in a week or two. In some cases, antibiotics can be helpful. When your doctor makes the decision to prescribe antibiotics, they'll consider a variety of factors, including age, duration of the symptoms and the presence of a fever. As you or your child recover from an ear infection, using warm compresses and taking over-the-counter pain medications can help reduce pain. If your child suffers from chronic ear infections, your doctor may recommend ear tubes. These tubes help prevent fluid from accumulating in the ear.
Concerned about ear pain or another ear, nose and throat issue? Call Ralph E. Bassett, MD, your Sun City West ear doctor, at (623) 975-1600 and schedule an appointment today.
While visiting Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West for hearing aids is a great way to reverse the effects of hearing loss, an even better solution would be to avoid the hearing loss in the first place. While not all instances of hearing loss are avoidable, many are. Here are six common causes of hearing loss that we see at Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians all the time.
No one know for sure why hearing declines over time, but doctors do know that age is one important risk factor for hearing loss. In fact, as many as half of all people over age 75 have some form of hearing loss. Hearing loss isn't limited to the elderly, of course, but they are at a higher risk for it.
Another population at high risk for hearing loss includes those individuals who are frequently exposed to loud noises. This includes construction workers, musicians and concertgoers, airport staff, military personnel, factory workers, and motorcycle riders, among others. Hearing loss that occurs as the result of loud noises is generally irreversible, but it can be overcome with hearing aids from a Sun City West provider.
Certain Illnesses or Infections
Ear infections aren't just painful. If they are left untreated, they can even cause hearing loss. Illnesses such as meningitis, Otosclerosis and Ménière's disease can cause hearing loss as well, as can other health conditions including heart disease, allergies and diabetes.
Medications come with a wide variety of side effects, and unfortunately, hearing loss is just one of them. Check the labels on your prescriptions and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. He or she may be able to find a different medication that is just as effective, but with fewer side effects.
Few things can eliminate your hearing as quickly as trauma can, and the worst part is that it is often unavoidable. Other than taking all of the necessary safety precautions and being aware in dangerous environments, there is often little you can do to avoid accidental trauma.
Sound needs to be able to get into your ears in order for you to hear anything. This is why, if your ear is blocked with ear wax or a foreign object, you may not be able to hear well at all. If this happens, don't try to remove the object yourself. You may just end up pushing it in further. Visit a professional at Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians instead.
Once it is too late to prevent hearing loss, your next best alternative is likely to visit Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West for hearing aids. While the process can be intimidating at first, it can make a world of difference! Call and schedule an appointment today
Hearing loss can be a complicated and devastating condition. At our Sun City West ENT office, we provide hearing aids to patients to help them improve their hearing whenever possible.
To provide the appropriate intervention for hearing loss, our doctors first aim to determine why a patient has experienced hearing loss. Sometimes hearing loss can be genetic, passed down from a parent. Other common causes include:
- Acoustic neuroma: This condition occurs when a tumor causes hearing loss or ringing in the ears.
- Aging: Throughout your lifetime, you can be exposed to loud noises that damage your nerve cells or hairs in the ears responsible for transmitting hearing messages. The effects can be you may have greater difficulty distinguishing between a person speaking and background noise.
- Excess earwax: Sometimes earwax can physically block the ear canal, keeping you from hearing your best. We can remove the excess earwax at our Sun City West office, helping to improve your hearing.
- Otosclerosis: Otosclerosis is a condition that affects the ear’s ability to move sound messages through to the brain. This condition typically occurs in early adulthood and is treatable through surgical interventions.
- Physical injury: Trauma to the head can damage the eardrum, brain and/or middle ear, all of which can affect hearing.
Sometimes temporary conditions, such as allergies, ear infections or a foreign object in the ear, can result in temporary hearing loss. If you are experiencing difficulty hearing, we recommend making an appointment for an evaluation. The earlier we can intervene to slow your hearing loss, the better your outcomes are likely to be.
To learn more about interventions that can help you regain or improving your hearing, including hearing aids at our Sun City West ENT’s office, please call (623) 975-1660.