You've heard the joke: "Mom hears just what she wants to hear. She's got selective hearing." However, for people with true hearing loss, the muffled conversations, odd ringing sounds, and impacted social interactions are not funny.
If you or a loved one suspect you have hearing loss, your Cary otolaryngologist, Dr. Pankaj Gupta, can help. From offering complete ear, nose, and throat examinations and audiologic check-ups to fitting with the latest in hearing aids, the staff at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists will work to improve your daily function and quality of life.
Symptoms of hearing loss
A full 15 percent of adults in the United States have some degree of hearing difficulty, says the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. What does hearing loss in Cary sound like? What does it look like? How does it impact the sufferer and those around them?
To answer these questions, take a look at the symptoms of hearing loss:
- Sounds and voices are muffled (especially when high-pitched or soft).
- Patients experience tinnitus, a buzzing or ringing in one or both ears, and dizziness.
- Conversations are difficult to decipher in a crowded room.
- Television, radio, computer, or phone volume must be increased.
- Family members complain their loved one cannot hear them.
- Words are misinterpreted.
- Sufferers withdraw from social interactions such as parties and dinner table conversations.
- Patients depend on friends and loved ones for interpretation of sounds and interactions.
Hearing loss happens due to a variety of factors: age, occupation (noisy environments harm hearing), ototoxic drugs (some chemotherapies and antibiotics), and genetics. Viral infections, tumors, autoimmune conditions, and head trauma cause hearing problems, too.
Deciphering hearing loss
At Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists, Dr. Gupta carefully examines his patients who may have hearing loss. He looks for anatomical malformations or damage, impacted ear wax, infection, and other possible physical or pharmacological causes. Additionally, his office is fully equipped and staffed for audiologic examinations which screen for perception and interpretation of sounds and words of various pitch and volume.
If needed, your otolaryngologist and audiologist delivers a range of hearing aids custom-fitted for your specific ear anatomy. Today's digital technology allows these experts to program hearing aids to your preferences and lifestyle. For instance, if you enjoy attending local symphony orchestra concerts, your devices may be tuned for best reception and perception of those wonderful musical notes.
Hearing loss really is a serious matter, and you need to deal with it. Fortunately, you can receive kind, compassionate and reliable help from your friends at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists. For your hearing consultation, in Cary, NC, please contact our office team at (919) 851-5636.
For those who deal with sinusitis, or a sinus infection, symptoms usually go away in a week or so. Unfortunately, sometimes this infection can last 12 weeks or longer, resulting in chronic sinusitis. If you are dealing with severe or chronic sinusitis and symptoms don’t go away with at-home treatment then it might be time to discuss with your otolaryngologist whether you could benefit from balloon sinuplasty, a simple non-surgical treatment.
Balloon sinuplasty is a great option for someone dealing with chronic sinusitis that isn’t responding to other treatment options but doesn’t want to immediately turn to traditional sinus surgery. Balloon sinuplasty treats the symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis without incisions or needing to cut the bone or tissue within the nasal cavity.
Instead of making an incision, your ENT doctor will place a small flexible tube with a deflated balloon at the end into the sinus cavity. Once inside, the balloon is carefully inflated until it opens up the inflamed or blocked sinus, allowing it to properly drain. A special saline solution will also be sprayed into the nasal cavity to remove any mucus buildup. Once the sinuses are completely clear your doctor will remove the system. Even once the system is removed the once inflamed and blocked cavity will stay open. This procedure can be performed right in your ENT specialist’s office and you can go home right after.
Unlike traditional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty is minimally invasive and doesn’t require extensive downtime. In fact, most patients were able to return to work and their daily activities within 2-3 days. Since there is no cutting or incisions required with balloon sinuplasty, you will also experience less bleeding and fewer post-treatment side effects.
So, how do you know whether or not balloon sinuplasty is the right way to handle your chronic sinus issues? If you’ve been dealing with a sinus infection that has lasted more than 12 weeks and isn’t responding to other treatment options then it might be time to weigh the pros and cons of treatment. You may want to consider this sinus treatment if you are dealing with severe or persistent:
- Facial pain and pressure
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of or reduced smell
Those dealing with recurring sinus infections throughout the year should also consider getting balloon sinuplasty to reduce the likelihood for future sinus infections. Many people who’ve gotten this sinus treatment are still experiencing relief two years after their balloon sinuplasty. If you are dealing with chronic or severe sinus infections regularly it’s time to turn to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Ear infections can be quite the nuisance, particularly if it’s something that your little one deals with often. While anyone can develop ear infections, babies and young children are at an increased risk for ear infections. Since children’s Eustachian tubes (a structure that connects the middle ear with the pharynx, the cavity that lies behind the nose and mouth) aren’t fully developed it makes it easier for factors such as a common cold to lead to blocked Eustachian tubes and ear infections.
If there is a family history of ear infections, if your child is exposed to secondhand smoke or if your child develops colds and flus regularly then they may be at an increased risk for an ear infection. The most common types of ear infections are a middle ear infection, swimmer’s ear (which affects the outer ear canal), and labyrinthitis (causes inflammation of the inner ear or nerves of the inner ear).
Of course, babies and toddlers won’t be able to tell you that they are experiencing ear pain; however, there are other signs to look out for, including:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Drainage coming from the ear
- Increased irritability or crying more often
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Increased fussiness or clinginess
- Lack of energy
If your child is displaying any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to take them in to see their pediatrician. Of course, if your child is often dealing with recurring or severe ear infections, visiting an otolaryngologist might be the best medical professional to help you figure out what’s causing these frequent infections and how to put a stop to them.
Of course, adults may also face ear infections. You may wake up in the middle of the night with an ear that is throbbing and painful. If this is the case, turning to an ENT doctor can help alleviate your symptoms. Depending on the type and severity of you or your little one’s ear infection, an ENT specialist will tell you whether or not antibiotics will be necessary for fighting the infection.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying a warm compress to the ear can also help you manage your discomfort until the ear infection goes away. Leaving an ear infection untreated is never a good idea, as it can lead to complications such as hearing loss. This is why it’s important that you or your child receive the proper medical attention necessary if you suspect an ear infection.
At some point in your lifetime, you may end up dealing with symptoms or issues that affect your ears, nose or throat. While some people may exhibit obvious symptoms this doesn’t mean that everyone will. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s going on with your ear, nose and throat health. Here are just some of the most common ENT problems and how they are addressed.
This is by far the most common ENT problem that a doctor will diagnose and treat. While ear infections are more likely to develop in young children, people of all ages can develop this infection. One of the classic symptoms of an ear infection is ear pain, discharge, muffled or reduced hearing, and a red, inflamed ear. If you are experiencing an earache, it’s important that you visit your otolaryngologist. Not treating an ear infection could lead to serious long-term complications.
Many people will face a sinus infection at some point during their lifetime, but most of the time it will be completely innocuous and self-limiting. Of course, you may need help managing your symptoms or making sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are truly due to a sinus infection and not something else.
While a sinus infection can easily be diagnosed just by going through the symptoms you are experiencing, we may also need to perform an endoscopy to be able to look inside the nasal passageways to determine if there is a blockage. While sinus infections will often go away on their own, there is the possibility that you may face chronic sinusitis (which lasts more than 12 weeks and doesn’t respond to self-care measure). If this happens it’s important that you turn to your doctor for help.
This infection leads to painful, inflamed tonsils (the tissue in the back of the throat). While a sore throat may also be the result of a viral infection, if you are faced with a severe sore throat that doesn’t go away, it’s important that you visit an ENT doctor who can provide a proper diagnosis. Just by swabbing the back of the throat and looking for the presence of streptococcal bacteria, an ENT specialist can easily diagnose strep throat. If we detect strep throat, you will be prescribed a round of antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria.
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially dangerous sleep condition that causes a person to stop breathing many times while asleep. Some people can experience hundreds of breathing cessations throughout one evening. Those with sleep apnea find themselves extremely exhausted when first waking up (even if they got enough sleep) and may struggle to get through the day. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or stroke if left untreated. If you are a loud snorer if you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, if you wake up with headaches or if you find yourself feeling excessively tired throughout the day then it’s time to see a specialist.
Whether you are experiencing symptoms or you just have questions about ENT health, it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can answer all of your questions and prevent, diagnose and even treat a host of ENT issues.
Maybe you didn’t even notice it but other members of your family pointed out the fact that you need to blast the TV in order to hear it or that you have to asked people to repeat themselves quite often. If people often sound like they are mumbling or difficult to understand then you could be dealing with hearing loss. Approximately 48 million Americans deal with some degree of hearing loss. If you are part of this statistic then it’s important that you turn to an otolaryngologist you can trust.
While you may not realize it, an ENT doctor is exactly the specialist you want on your side to not only diagnose your hearing loss but also to provide the hearing aid you need to improve your hearing. While a hearing aid is not designed to restore hearing it can help amplify certain sounds to make hearing much easier.
There are a variety of different hearing aid options available to you, and the style you choice will really depend on your goals, lifestyle, degree of hearing loss, budget and any special features you are looking for. Common hearing aids styles include:
Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC): Just as the name suggests, this style of hearing aid is placed deep within the ear canal so it’s completely invisible. It’s a great option for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Completely-in-Canal (CIC): Also good for mild-to-moderate hearing loss, this style will allow the hearing aid to be completely invisible within the ear canal. The only difference is that a clear tab on the hearing aid is used to place and remove it.
In-the-Canal (ITC): A small portion of this hearing aid is visible but it is flesh-colored so it won’t be obvious to those around you. It’s a great style for those dealing with mild to severe hearing loss.
In-the-Ear (ITE): This style is also capable of handling a wide variety of hearing loss, from mild to severe. This hearing aid is custom-made to fit the outer area of the ear rather than sitting within the ear canal.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC): This allows the speaker to sit within the ear canal where it is out of sight; however, the speaker is connected to the amplifier (which sits behind the ear) by wires rather than tubing. It’s a discreet option for those with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE): This type of hearing aid allows the speaker to lie hidden within the ear canal. The speaker is attached to a clear, thin tube that is connected to the amplifier, which sits behind the ear. This is a great option for those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.
It’s important to find the right hearing aid to fit your unique needs, and an ENT doctor can provide you with the quality hearing aid you’re looking for so that you can be part of the conversation again.
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