Hearing loss affects about 15 percent of American adults and school-aged children according to the Hearing Loss Association of America and the National Institutes of Health. Many people ignore hearing loss, and unfortunately, it often progresses causing serious issues when they are seniors. Here are a few of the possible causes of hearing loss and advice for how a Greer and Spartanburg, SC ENT can help you restore your hearing.
Exposure to Loud Noises
Many people report hearing loss after going places where there is loud music or fireworks. That includes concerts, parties, and Independence Day festivities. The loud sounds can do damage to the inner parts of the ear, especially when in close proximity to a speaker. Listening to loud music while using earphones can also be a problem. In some cases, the hearing loss can be temporary and go away on its own. But if it is prolonged or a ringing sound in the ears persists, you should see a Greer and Spartanburg, SC ENT for a checkup.
Ear Infections or Waxy Buildup
An ear infection is a condition that is common in children and also in people who swim often. Sometimes an untreated ear infection can cause hearing loss. In other cases, there may be water trapped inside of the ear or a build-up of ear wax in the ear canal that is making it difficult to hear. Some patients have growths inside of the ear that aren’t visible to the naked eye but are affecting their ability to hear clearly.
Aging or Genetics
The loss of hearing ability is common in senior citizens because of the aging process. Parts of the inner ear, including the nerves and cochlea, can become damaged over time. Hearing loss can also be a birth defect. The National Institutes of Health estimate that about two or three children out of 1,000 are born with a hearing problem.
Treating Hearing Loss
There are ways that a Greer and Spartanburg, SC ENT doctor can treat you for hearing loss, no matter the cause. Early intervention is best. Call 864-582-2900 for Spartanburg or 864-699-6970 for Greer, SC.
Ear infections are common in children, but adults are not immune. Bacteria is a common culprit, but the symptoms will depend on the part of the ear that is affected by the infection (outer, middle, or inner ear). The ear, nose and throat specialists at Spartanburg & Greer ENT in Spartanburg & Greer, SC advise parents to monitor a child's symptoms. Many pediatric ear infections often clear up on their own within a few days but should be examined by a doctor if there additional symptoms like difficulty hearing, fever, or discharge from the ear. Adults are advised to seek prompt treatment for symptoms of an ear infection to rule other problems.
Ear Infection Diagnosis and Treatment in Spartanburg, SC
An earache is the most common symptom of an infection. Other symptoms vary depending on the part of the ear in which the infection is located:
Outer ear infection (otitis externa) symptoms include:
- Itchy rash
- Pain and tenderness
Middle ear infection (otitis media) symptoms include:
- Fluid buildup with potential draining
- Temporarily muddled hearing
Inner ear infection symptoms include:
- Pain and inflammation
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Colds and respiratory conditions can often trigger middle ear infections, especially in children who are more susceptible to clogging and fluid buildup in the eustachian tubes (children's eustachian tubes are smaller than adults). Inner ear infections can be caused by inflammation or an underlying health condition.
Also known as swimmer's ear, outer ear infections develop when moisture or damage to the outer ear causes bacteria buildup. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics and cleaning out the ear.
If the symptoms do not clear up on their own within a few days or are accompanied by a fever, seek treatment right away.
Find an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor in Spartanburg, SC
In addition to being incredibly painful, ear infections can potentially damage your hearing if left untreated. For more information on the symptoms and treatment options for ear infections, contact Spartanburg & Greer ENT to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors by calling 864-582-2900 for Spartanburg or 864-699-6970 for Greer, SC.
What's preventing you from getting a good night's sleep? Do you wake up frequently and suddenly during the night? Is daytime fatigue and foggy thinking occurring more often? These symptoms and others could signal one of the most common sleep disorders--sleep apnea. Often life threatening, sleep apnea may be successfully treated by the caring ear, nose and throat physicians at Spartanburg & Greer, SC, ENT.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition affecting approximately 18 million adults in the United States, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While this sleep disorder tends to happen with overweight males over the age of 40, sleep apnea appears across the population--even in children.
Its main symptom is exceptionally loud and persistent snoring. Additionally, patients with sleep apnea experience:
- Repeated periods of breathing cessation (apnea) lasting 10 seconds or more
- Startled awakening
- Gasping for air
- Dry mouth
- Decreased libido
- Poor concentration
- Memory problems
- Fatigue and drowsiness
Most people with sleep apnea have OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax and cover the airway. Others suffer from CSA, or Central Sleep Apnea, in which the brain does not tell the respiratory system to keep breathing. Some individuals have a combination of the two kinds.
Unfortunately, this sleep disorder contributes to systemic health issues, too, such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. In short, sleep apnea must be diagnosed and treated.
How Spartanburg & Greer ENT can help
Drs. Foster, Butehorn, Weir, and Steiniger see many patients with a variety of sleep disorders in their office, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. To pinpoint why an individual is experiencing sleep difficulties,
the physician may recommend an in-office or at-home sleep study.
For instance, a polysomnogram measures the individual's vital signs, body movements, and oxygen levels while he or she sleeps. This test gives the doctor valuable information to understand the sleep problem.
With a diagnosis in hand, the doctor may prescribe one or more treatment modalities. For sleep apnea, the two most common treatments are:
- CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure This bedside apparatus delivers a steady stream of oxygen through a facial mask. The airflow keeps the throat open, stopping snoring and sleep apnea.
- Oral appliance therapy Worn nightly, a customized mouth guard puts the tongue and jaw in more forward positions, opening the airway so oxygen moves freely.
Some patients benefit from a combination of CPAP and an oral appliance. Additionally, the highly skilled doctors at Spartanburg & Geer ENT can use lifestyle modifications (such as weight loss) and some specialized surgeries to modify the soft tissues of the mouth and throat to keep the airway open.
Is your sleep disturbed?
Whether you are snoring, experiencing insomnia, have restless legs or other sleep problems, please contact Spartanburg & Geer, SC, ENT for a personal consultation. They'll help you achieve a good night's sleep and better overall well-being.
Chronic sinus and allergy problems are more than annoying. They can adversely affect your quality of life. If you suffer from chronic sinus or allergy symptoms that show little improvement with over-the-counter medications, there are alternative therapies that can help. Your sinus and allergy doctors at Spartanburg & Greer ENT in Spartanburg and Greer, SC, offer a variety of sinus and allergy therapies, including balloon sinuplasty, allergy shot therapy, endoscopic sinus surgery and at-home, painless allergy drop therapy.
For patients with chronic sinusitis, surgical sinus therapies can provide long-term relief. Two common surgical sinus therapies are endoscopic sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty. Endoscopic sinus surgery is performed by inserting a nasal endoscope inside the nose so that the doctor can view the sinuses and remove blockages, such as excess tissue or polyps. Following the procedure, patients experience improved breathing, better drainage and better airflow through the nose.
Balloon sinuplasty involves the insertion of balloons into the sinuses using a flexible catheter. Once in place, the balloons are inflated to expand the sinus pathways. The expanded sinus passages are then sprayed with saline to flush out mucus and other materials that might be clogging them. Once the sinus pathways are clear, the balloon and catheter are removed. Following the procedure, the sinuses passageways should remain open and clear for easier breathing and better drainage.
Many people with allergies successfully treat them with antihistamines, nasal sprays or other over-the-counter medications. For individuals with more severe allergy symptoms, alternate allergy therapies are needed. These can include allergy shots or allergy drops. Allergy shot therapy and allergy drop therapy are both immunotherapy treatments. They help the immune system become less sensitive to allergens and better tolerate them. A long-term goal of these therapies is to reduce the need for allergy medications over time.
Both allergy shot therapy and allergy drop therapy reduce sensitivity to allergens by exposing the patient to small amounts of the allergen. This exposure helps the immune system build up a greater tolerance to the allergen(s). Allergy shot therapy involves administering shots containing small doses of the allergen, which can also be referred to as an antigen. Allergy drop therapy exposes patients to small doses of the allergen through drops placed under the tongue. Your Spartanburg and Greer area allergy doctor can determine which therapy is right for you.
Sinus and allergy problems affect many people and can have an adverse impact on their quality of life. When over-the-counter medications and therapies are ineffective, alternate sinus and allergy therapies can help. For treatment of sinuses or allergies, contact Spartanburg & Greer ENT. To schedule an appointment, call (864) 582-2900 for the Spartanburg office or (864) 699-6970 for the Greer office.
Find out whether you might need a hearing aid in order to improve your ability to hear those around you from your Spartanburg and Greer, SC, otolaryngologists.
It might seem like a silly question to ask yourself since it might seem obvious whether you might need a hearing aid or not, but it’s not always as clear cut as it seems. This is when it’s time to turn to your Spartanburg and Greer, SC, otolaryngologists, who will be able to determine whether hearing aids are right for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself; they may help you determine whether you might benefit from wearing a hearing aid.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it sound like people around you mumble?
- Do you have to turn the volume up on the TV or radio in order to hear it?
- Do you need people to repeat themselves often?
- Is it difficult to understand people on the phone?
- Do you find yourself withdrawing from conversation, particularly in a group or in noisy settings?
- Do you find yourself reading lips or really focusing on someone when they speak?
If you said yes to some of these questions then you could certainly be dealing with some form of hearing loss. One fairly common type of hearing loss is being able to hear people in a normal pitch but not being able to heard higher-pitched sounds.
Before getting a hearing aid it’s important to note that unlike glasses, which can correct visual impairments, hearing aids are not able to fully restore your hearing back to normal. However, a hearing aid can amplify voices and sounds to make it easier to hear them. Wearing a hearing aid can make it easier to join in and hear normal conversations. Some advanced features also offer amazing technology to make it easier to communicate in a noisy setting. Some hearing aids can also be used to amplify high-pitched sounds.
Since there are so many different technologies, styles and features when it comes to getting a hearing aid in Spartanburg and Greer, SC, it’s a good idea to talk to us about what is right for you. We can perform hearing tests to determine the extent of your hearing loss and the cause. Turn to Spartanburg & Greer ENT today!
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