Posts for: August, 2020
Tinnitus is the result of damage to hair cells within the inner ear. Tinnitus is most often characterized as a ringing in the ear, but others may hear a clicking, hissing, or whizzing sound. You may hear it in one ear or both and sometimes it can be loud.
While tinnitus isn’t dangerous it can certainly be annoying, especially if it’s loud or happening regularly. If symptoms are severe it may even affect your quality of life.
What causes tinnitus?
Along with exposure to loud noises (often from occupations in the construction or music industries), there are other causes of tinnitus including:
- A head injury
- Impacted wax or wax buildup
- Meniere’s disease (a condition of the inner ear)
- Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; medication for blood pressure)
If tinnitus is the result of something simple like caffeine or impacted wax, then simply remove the wax or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Sometimes tinnitus will simply go away on its own.
Even though there isn’t anything that can cure tinnitus, your ENT doctor can provide you with a variety of treatment options to make living with tinnitus easier, such as:
- Adding white noise to your room (e.g. turning on a fan)
- Altering your medication (if medication is causing your symptoms, talk with your doctor before stopping or replacing medication)
- Wearing a hearing aid
- Trying acupuncture or alternative treatments, which may also provide relief
- Wearing earplugs to protect your hearing from further noise exposure, especially when operating loud machines (e.g. lawnmower; blender)
- Keeping your ears clean and seeing your doctor regularly if you are prone to ear wax impaction
If you are experiencing ringing ears that persist for weeks, then it’s time to see a doctor for an evaluation. If you also experience dizziness or hearing loss in one or both ears this could be a symptom of Meniere’s disease, and you should see your doctor right away.
If you are concerned about ringing ears, dizziness, or other problems affecting your ear health, then call an ENT specialist to find out what’s going on and how to best treat it.
We use our sense of hearing on a daily basis, often without even thinking about it. That is why hearing loss can have such a significant impact on how we experience the world around us. Hearing loss can occur with age or can be due to other factors. Fortunately, many types of hearing aids are available to help you regain the ability to hear better. The experienced ear doctors at Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West can recommend the right type of hearing aid to meet your needs.
Types of Hearing Loss
There can be many causes of hearing loss. It can naturally occur as we get older. Hearing loss can also be the result of an injury, infection, or illness. Exposure to extremely loud noises can cause hearing loss, as well. For some individuals, their hearing loss is hereditary. Just as there can be various causes of hearing loss, there are also different types of hearing loss.
Types of hearing loss:
- Central: Sometimes referred to as central auditory processing disorder, this type of hearing loss is caused by the failure of the central nervous system to send the brain recognizable signals.
- Conductive: Associated with damage to the eardrum, middle ear, or ear canal, which can be the result of ear fluid in the middle ear, a punctured eardrum, an ear infection, allergies, or congenital abnormalities in the ear.
- Sensorineural: Associated with damage to the inner ear and auditory nerve, which can be due to aging, a viral infection, head injuries, disease, genetics, or exposure to loud noises.
- Mixed: Associated with damage to the inner, middle, or outer ear, which results in both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are devices worn in or around the ear to improve an individual’s ability to hear. Several types of hearing aids are available and the one that is right for you can depend on several factors, such as your personal preferences and the type of hearing loss you have. Types of hearing aids include:
- Behind the ear (BTE)
- In the ear (ITE)
- In the canal (ITC)
- Completely in the canal (CIC)
- Receiver in canal
Some hearing aid models are worn inside the ear or ear canal. These hearing aids tend to be more discreet than other types that are worn behind the ear. However, models worn behind the ear sometimes offer greater volume control than the ones worn inside. Each type of hearing aid has distinct benefits and advantages. An ear doctor at our office in Sun City West can help you select a hearing aid best suited to your particular needs and preferences.
Hearing loss can occur for a variety of reasons, but it does not have to stop you from continuing to participate in and enjoy all your favorite activities. There are many types of hearing aids to improve hearing and we can help you find the one best suited to your needs. To schedule an appointment with one of our skilled ear doctors, call Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West at (623) 975-1660. You can also contact our practice in Sun City at (623) 972-2951.
- Pressure or fullness in the ears
- Muffled hearing
- Pain in the ears
- Ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus)
- Issues with balance
- A popping or clicking sensation in the ears
Children are often more at risk for developing Eustachian tube dysfunction because these tubes are shorter than they are in adults. This means that it’s easier for bacteria or fluid to get trapped within the middle ear. The good news is that these symptoms usually go away on their own and typically without treatment. There are things you can do such as chewing gum to help make the issue go away. If the problem persists then it’s time to see an otolaryngologist.
Once your ENT doctor has conducted a thorough examination of you or your child’s ears there are several approaches for alleviating the symptoms of eustachian tube dysfunction:
- If Eustachian tube dysfunction is due to an allergic reaction then your doctor may prescribe decongestants or antihistamines, which can reduce swelling and target the body’s response to the allergen.
- A minor procedure can be performed in which an otolaryngologist makes a small incision in the eardrum to remove the fluid that’s trapped in the middle ear. The eardrum will then heal in a couple of days.
- Sometimes implants are placed into the eardrums to help drain the fluid and to prevent fluid from building up. This is a recommended treatment for children who develop frequent ear infections due to eustachian tube dysfunction.
- A special balloon catheter procedure (similar to the one used to treat chronic sinusitis) can be directed into the nose and into the eustachian tube, where it opens up the tubes to help them drain properly.