Our team of specialists and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you. Or, for a more comprehensive search of our entire Web site, enter your term(s) in the search bar provided.
As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.
What are signs of enlarged tonsils or adenoids?
Typical signs of enlarged tonsils or adenoids include constant mouth breathing, snoring at night, noisy breathing during the day, muffled voice or pauses in breathing during snoring (apnea).
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is inflammation or infection of the mucous membrane lining the nasal sinuses (air-filled cavities in the bones surrounding the nose, eyes, cheekbone and forehead).
What symptoms can be associated with sinusitis?
- Pressure and pain in the sinus cavities
- Nasal Congestion
- Nasal Drainage
- Bad Breath
- Low-grade Fevers
- Loss of sense of smell
How common is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is one of the most common medical problems affecting approximately 30% of the population at some point. Acute sinusitis commonly follows a cold and typically lasts for up to three weeks. After three weeks it becomes defined as a chronic sinusitis and may become much more difficult to treat.
Why do ears have wax?
Cerumen (ear wax) is a body defense mechanism. Its presence in the outer ear canal is supposed to trap dust and dirt particles in order to keep them from reaching the ear drum.
My doctor says my child needs “ear tubes”?
When ear infections occur too frequently or are never completely resolved, we may recommend the placement of temporary ventilating tubes in children. They are placed in children under a brief general anesthetic and usually fall out by themselves within 12 to 18 months.
Do I have a cholesteatoma?
A cholesteatoma is a skin growth that occurs abnormally behind the ear drum in the middle ear. With time, the continued growth can lead to destruction of the surrounding structures in the middle ear. Symptoms include hearing loss, drainage, dizziness or even facial nerve paralysis.
What are some of the more common causes of hoarseness?
- Vocal Cord Polyps, Nodules or Cysts
- Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
- Vocal Misuse
- Vocal Cord Paralysis
- Laryngeal Cancer
Can allergies cause hoarseness?
Absolutely. Nasal allergies specifically can result in a chronic laryngitis from persistent post-nasal drip and cough. Some of the same allergy-mediated swelling can also occur in the vocal cords resulting in hoarseness.
Do I have a swallowing disorder?
Common symptoms of swallowing disorders include the feeling of food or liquid getting stuck in the throat, the sensation of a lump in the throat, coughing or choking with swallowing, discomfort in the throat or chest with swallowing, phlegm and saliva overproduction, weight loss and inadequate nutrition.
What are some signs of cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract?
No one symptom signifies an underlying cancer. People who have a history of chronic tobacco or alcohol use are at a higher risk of developing upper aerodigestive tract malignancies, but the use of tobacco or alcohol is not mandatory to develop such cancers. Recent research has also suggested an association of certain head and neck cancers with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). Patients presenting with malignancies may have symptoms such as:
- pain or difficulty swallowing
- hoarseness or voice changes
- spitting or coughing up blood
- throat tightness or difficulty breathing
- foreign body sensation in the throat
- ear pain with swallowing
- unintended weight loss
- neck mass
Timely evaluation and early diagnosis of symptoms can often result in higher cure rates and survivals.
What is a PET scan?
PET stands for positron emission tomography. This an innovative imaging technique we sometimes obtain that uses positively charged particles (radioactive positrons) to detect subtle changes in the body's metabolism and chemical activities. PET scans can be used to detect cancerous tumors, to determine the extent of its spread and to judge the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
Is snoring dangerous?
Snoring can be associated with periods of complete obstruction, known as apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea can result in poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and long-term detrimental effects on the heart and lung.
My doctor said I need a sleep study. What does that involve?
A sleep study, or polysomnogram, is a diagnostic test which measures various vital parameters during a patient’s sleep. These include the stage of sleep, blood oxygen level, chest movement, air flow through the nose, heart rhythm and rate, eye movements and muscle tone. Multiple dips in oxygen level and peaks in pulse rate are found in people with sleep apnea.
What is CPAP?
CPAP is an abbreviation of continuous positive airway pressure. This is common treatment option for patients with sleep apnea. A nasal mask is worn during sleep which provides continuous air pressure specifically set to each person's needs to prevent collapse of the airway or throat. The pressure varies according to how severe the sleep apnea is and how much pressure is needed to prevent collapse.
My doctor said I broke my nose. What should I do?
A broken nose is the most common type of facial bone fracture after an injury. The ideal time to see someone is 3-5 days after the injury in order to see the nose after the swelling resolves. If the fracture needs to be fixed (closed reduction), it is important to do this procedure within 2 weeks of the injury.
What preventative measures can I take to reduce my risk of facial trauma?
Safety equipment is vital to preventing maxillofacial trauma from automobile accidents and sports. Here is a partial list of equipment people should always use:
- automobile air bags
- approved child safety seats
- helmets for riding motorcycles or bicycles, skateboarding, snowboarding, and other sports
- safety glasses for the job, yard work, sports
- other approved safety equipment for sports such as mouthguards, masks, and goggles
Hearing loss has a lot of different causes and manifestations. It can be sudden or gradual. It can occur in one ear or both ears. It can be temporary or permanent. It happens to people of all ages and is associated with the aging process. Before discussing causes and treatments for hearing loss, it is important to understand how hearing works.
How We Hear
There are three sections of the ear: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Each section helps move sound through the process of hearing. When a sound occurs, the outer ear feeds it through the ear canal to the eardrum. The noise causes the eardrum to vibrate. This, in turn, causes three little bones inside the middle ear (malleus, incus, stapes) to move. That movement travels into the inner ear (cochlea), where it makes tiny little hairs move in a fluid. These hairs convert the movement to auditory signals, which are then transmitted to the brain to register the sound.
Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss occurs when sound is blocked in any of the three areas of the ear. The most common cause of hearing loss — and one of the most preventable — is exposure to loud noises. Infections, both of the ear or elsewhere in the body, are also a major contributor to hearing loss.
- In the Outer Ear: Earwax build-up, infections that cause swelling, a growth in the ear canal, injury or birth defects can restrict hearing in the outer ear.
- In the Middle Ear: Fluid build-up is responsible for the most common infections and blockages in the middle ear. Fluid in the middle ear prevents the bones from processing sounds properly. Tumors, both benign and malignant, can also result in hearing loss in the middle ear.
- In the Inner Ear: The natural process of aging diminishes hearing from damage to the cochlea (mechanism for converting sound vibrations to brain signals), vestibular labyrinth (which regulates balance), or the acoustic nerve (nerve that sends sound signals to the brain). Additionally, inner ear infections, Meniere’s disease and other nerve-related problems contribute to hearing loss in the inner ear.
Other causes of hearing loss include:
- Presbycusis: Age-related hearing loss, such as having difficulty hearing in noisy places, having trouble understanding what people are saying or not registering softer sounds.
- Heredity and Genetic Causes: There is a wide variety of diseases and syndromes that are either genetic or hereditary that can cause hearing loss. Some, like rubella (German measles) occur when a pregnant mother has the disease, which causes hearing loss in the baby. Other, rarer types of hereditary and genetic causes include CHARGE Syndrome, Connexin 26 disorder, Goldenhar Syndrome,Treacher Collins Syndrome, Usher Syndrome, Waardenburg Syndrome and otosclerosis (growth of spongy bone tissue in the middle ear).
Most causes of outer ear hearing loss can be remedied. But problems of the middle and inner ear can lead to permanent hearing loss, which is why it is important to seek medical attention quickly if you are experiencing a problem hearing.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are five types of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss: Caused by conditions that block the transmission of sound through the outer ear and eardrum to the middle ear.
- Sensorineural hearing loss: Inner ear damage that occurs as part of the natural process of aging.
- Mixed hearing loss: Mixed hearing loss refers to people who have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Most people experience more than one type of hearing loss.
- Central hearing loss: This occurs when the central nervous system fails to send a readable signal to the brain, which is called a central auditory processing disorder. People with central hearing loss generally can hear all sounds, but can’t separate or process them.
Hearing loss is measured in four degrees: mild, moderate, severe or profound. The degree of hearing loss drives the selection of the best form of treatment on a case-by-case basis.
Hearing Loss Treatments
The location, type and degree of hearing loss impact the choice of treatments for any hearing problem. The most common treatment options include:
- Antibiotics, decongestants and pain medication to overcome ear infections.
- Myringotomy, a piercing of the eardrum to allow for fluids to drain out of the outer ear.
- Insertion of a tube into the Eustachian tube (part of the anatomy that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat) to keep it open and allow for normal fluid drainage. This technique may be recommended for people who get frequent ear infections.
- Hearing aids.
- Surgery to remove benign or malignant tumors or correct bone- or nerve-related problems.
If you experience sudden or prolonged hearing loss with dizziness, fever or pain, please contact our office right away and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists. We'll conduct a physical examination as well as a hearing test to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss. We'll then recommend the best treatment.