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What Exactly Is Swimmer’s Ear?

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An earache is one of the most painful things that you can become ill with. They often happen suddenly and out of the blue. They can be so incredibly painful that you will want to run and see your doctor right away. But did you know that not all earaches are the same? They can come in many different forms. The ear infections that you got as a kid are not the same as swimmer’s ear, for example. Most children suffer from ear infections that happen in the inner ear. When someone suffers from swimmer’s ear, they have an ear infection in their outer ear.

What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

Basically, Swimmer’s Ear is an infection of the ear canal. Despite its name, it is not only caused by swimming in the pool or an ocean. It can happen when you develop a certain type of virus or fungus. It can happen to anyone at any time, unfortunately. But if you find yourself constantly suffering from ear infections, pick up the phone and call your doctor. They may refer you to an ear nose and throat doctor. They are also called an ENT. The ENT Doctor will be able to see if there is an undiagnosed cause of the common infections.

The Symptoms

So, your ear is throbbing and now you’re wondering if you could have swimmer’s ear. You may be sitting there and wondering “What are the symptoms of swimmer’s ear?” One of the first symptoms might be an itchy inner ear. You may also experience trouble hearing and fluid or pus draining out of your ear. It is said that swimmer’s ear clears up within 7 to 10 days. If this isn’t the case for you, pick up the phone and call your doctor. Leaving an ear infection untreated can result in permeant hearing loss or damage. This common practice could be why it is believed that one in four people in the United States that are 65 and older struggle with hearing loss. You do not want to be in that 25%.

So always remember that doctors are your friend and are there to help you. There is no need for you to sit there in pain from these miserable ear infections. There are treatments and help that you can receive when you reach out for help. Don’t let the choices you make today be ones that you have to suffer from tomorrow.

Adult Tonsillectomy: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

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ent doctorTonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils, which are two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat. This procedure was once very common and used to treat tonsil infections and inflammations — especially in children. Whenever children get their tonsils out, they get to take a break from school, have plenty of ice cream, and relax for a few days. When adults need a tonsillectomy, however, it’s a little more serious.

Here are some frequently asked questions about adult tonsillectomies:

  1. What are the main reasons to get a tonsillectomy? — A tonsillectomy is needed in order to treat chronic or severe tonsillitis, enlarged tonsils, bleeding tonsils, or other rare diseases of the tonsils. Additionally, this procedure can be used to treat sleep-disordered breathing issues.
  2. What is the recovery time for a tonsillectomy? — Recovery time for a tonsillectomy is usually between at least 10 days and two weeks. You could lose your voice for a little bit after the surgery, as well, but it should return to normal in two to six weeks. With proper care and rest, an adult should be able to bounce back after the procedure within the two-week timeframe.
  3. Are there any risks to tonsillectomies? — Like all surgeries, there are a few risks involved, including certain reactions to anesthetics, swelling of the tong and soft palate, bleeding during surgery or healing, and various infections.
  4. How can I prepare for a tonsillectomy? — Your best bet is speaking with ear nose and throat doctors (ENT). ENT doctors can help you prepare for any upcoming tonsillectomy and will help ease your nerves and anxieties, as well. Keep in mind, you’ll have to provide ENT doctors with a list of all the medications you regularly take, personal history of reactions to anesthetics, bleeding disorders, and known allergies.
  5. Is there anything I shouldn’t do before my tonsillectomy? — You should not take aspirin or other medications at least two weeks before your surgery. Additionally, try not to eat anything at least 12 hours before your tonsillectomy.

If you want to learn more about tonsillectomy or talk to experienced ENT doctors in Plano, Texas, give Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of Texas, P.A. a call today!

Can You Repeat That? 3 Types Of Hearing Loss Explained

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Hearing loss affects approximately 15% of adults aged 18 and older, although not in the same way. While there are varying degrees of hearing loss which impact your level of impairment, there are also different typesof hearing loss. Only a visit to your local ear nose and throat doctor (ENT) will be able to explain which one you or your loved one is suffering from. Let’s take a look.

  • Conductive Hearing Loss: There are three main parts to your ear: the inner, the outer, and the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds cannot get through the outer and middle ear, and are generally caused by physical problems. This could mean that your eustachian tube did not form correctly, you have a hole in your eardrum, or you’re suffering from some type of blockage (such as earwax). Medicine or surgery can often fix these diagnoses.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when your sensitive inner ear becomes damaged. In addition to sensory nerve problems (which may be genetic), various illnesses, blows to the head, and even certain medications can trigger SNHL. Unfortunately, this is the most common type of permanent hearing loss; though medicine or surgery cannot fix SNHL most of the time, hearing aids may be an option.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: If you experience conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss at the same time, you’re facing mixed hearing loss. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear, in the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain, or both. As a result, anything that can cause SNHL or conductive hearing loss can lead to a mixed diagnosis. Treatment options depend on your unique case, and are at the discretion of your ear nose and throat doctor.

People make appointments with ear nose and throat doctors for a variety of reasons. Many have to do with one-off problems, such as swimmer’s ear (a painful outer eardrum infection that generally clears up within seven to 10 days). However, hearing loss requires routine visits to ensure your condition isn’t worsening; if you think you might be experiencing one of the types listed above, call an ear nose and doctor to get it checked out.

Ear Drum Damage: What ENT Patients Need to Know

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entAbout 15% of adults ages 18 and older have some form of trouble hearing, making it no surprise that hearing problems come in a wide variety of forms. Ear drum damage, however, can be very serious and is best treated by a professional ear nose and throat doctor. Here’s what all patients should know about the causes and treatments of ear drum damage.

Causes of Ear Drum Damage

Contrary to popular belief, ear drum damage doesn’t always occur as a result of a loud sound or blast. It can be caused by a middle ear infection, which involves an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear. It can also occur as a result of barotrauma — changes in barometric pressure that cause eardrum imbalances. This is often the case for patients who sustain damage while flying in an airplane, scuba diving, or taking a direct blow to the ear.

Ear drum damage can also occur when foreign objects are stuck in the ear canal. Severe head trauma has also been determined as a cause in rarer cases.

Ear Drum Damage Diagnosis and Treatment

In most cases, professional ear nose and throat doctors can determine whether or not you have ear drum damage simply by examining your ear with an otoscope (lighted instrument). In some special cases, your ear nose and throat doctor may order additional testing, which may include a tuning fork evaluation, lab testing, tympanometry (a device that measures the ear drum’s slight changes to pressure), and other audiology exams. Usually, a torn or ruptured ear drum will heal on its own without other treatment. That being said, if your ENT detects an infection, they may prescribe antibiotic ear drops. And in the most severe cases, an ENT specialist may apply an eardrum patch intended to stimulate growth. For chronic issues or when all other treatment options have been exhausted, your ENT may provide a tympanoplasty, a surgery that involves closing the hole in the ear with a graft of your own tissue. This is typically an outpatient procedure.

Ultimately, ear problems come in many different forms, and if you experience anything unusual or any level of hearing loss, it’s best to seek professional ENT treatment as soon as possible.

Top Signs and Symptoms of Strep Throat

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Throat and vocal cord issues come in both common and rare forms. For example, about 10,000 cases of vocal cord cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States. However, strep throat is much more common issues that are easier to treat. Here’s what patients should know about diagnosing and treating strep throat.

What is strep throat?

First, it’s important to have a general idea of what strep throat actually is so that you can understand and recognize its most common symptoms:

“Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. This common condition is caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat can affect children and adults of all ages. However, it’s especially common in children between the ages of 5 and 15. Sneezing and coughing can spread the infection from one person to another,” writes Valencia Higuera on Healthline.

Symptoms of sore throat

Symptoms of a sore throat also overlap with symptoms of other health issues, like the common cold. For example, a fever that’s 101 degrees F or higher indicates an infection, and the throat gets very sore and covered with white patches. Patients are also likely to experience a headache, a loss of appetite, chills, and trouble swallowing if they have a sore throat. Fortunately, ear nose and throat doctors can diagnose and treat the issue easily.

When to Call ENT doctors

While it’s never a bad idea to call an ENT doctor to discuss your symptoms, there are several symptoms that do indicate the need for professional evaluation. Call your ear nose and throat doctor if you experience a sore throat that lasts two or more days, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, or red and white patches on the throat, tonsils, and/or top of the mouth.

Ultimately, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified ear nose and throat doctor to gain more insight about whether or not the symptoms you’re experiencing are consistent with those of strep throat. If so, rest assured that the issue is normally cleared up within a week or two. For more information about ear nose and throat doctors in McKinney, contact Ear Nose and Throat Associates of Texas PA.

How To Protect Your Ears When You Travel This Winter

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As countless people travel for the holidays, many will experience bitingly cold weather. If you’re one of the many people who enjoy the snow, here’s how to keep your ears safe from the cold.

Know how to recognize an infection

The cold can often result in feelings of pain in the ear, especially if you don’t wear a hat or earmuffs outside. Sometimes, however, the pain in your ear can be a result of the cold, an infection, or even both.

Ear infections become more common in the winter thanks to the higher levels of moisture that trap bacteria. If you experience pain or hearing loss after playing in the cold, visit your local ENT doctors in Plano TX quickly for treatment.

What is surfer’s ear?

When your ear is aggravated by the cold, ear ringing and hearing loss become more common. This is because of exostosis, otherwise known as surfer’s ear. Exostosis occurs when bone grows on top another bone in order to protect the inner ear from cold and wind. This can result in pain, tinnitus, and even hearing loss. Though it’s common among surfers who develop this condition to protect against cold water, anyone traveling in cold weather can develop exostosis. This differs from swimmer’s ear which typically clears up in seven to ten days. Often, the exostosis must be surgically removed by an experienced ENT doctor.

How to protect my ears this winter

You can protect your ears by wearing protective gear in the cold. Even though Texas is nice and warm, you should still keep a thick hat or pair of earmuffs in your closet in case you need to travel. You can supplement these items with a warm scarf. Keep these items as dry and clean as possible to avoid the accumulation of mildew and bacteria.

That means leaving moist hats out to dry and cleaning them often. Avoid tucking hats in the back of your closet and invest in a few different options to go with every outfit. When you have stylish options to choose from, you’re more likely to remember to wear it outside.

You should also visit a doctor the moment you experience issues with your hearing. Whether you’ve traveled somewhere cold for the holidays or you suspect something else is damaging your hearing, the ear nose and throat doctors in McKinney TX, Plano TX, and Frisco TX are here to help. Visit ENT Tex today.

These Common Symptoms May Actually Indicate an Underlying Vocal Cord Problem

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doctor in mckinneyAbout 10,000 cases of vocal cord cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States. And while vocal cord cancer is a relatively rare issue, vocal cord issues as a whole are actually relatively common. Fortunately, an ENT doctor in McKinney can help diagnose and treat any issues you feel may be related to your vocal cords. Here are just a few common symptoms that may indicate a more serious underlying vocal cord health issue.

 

Chronic Vocal Fatigue

 

Vocal fatigue can happen to anybody, but it typically occurs in individuals who use their vocal cords too often or too much without resting them. Singers, teachers, and call center employees may be particularly susceptible to chronic vocal fatigue. Experts recommend resting your voice for 10 minutes after using it for 90 minutes. If you have ever ‘lost’ your voice after using it for too long, you’ve likely experienced chronic vocal fatigue. Fortunately, an ENT doctor can help.

 

Throat Pain/Discomfort

 

It’s one thing to experience a sore throat as a symptom of a common cold, but if you frequently get a sore throat after using your voice normally, it could be a red flag. This is typically a result of the muscles in the neck getting strained with voice use due to improper technique. Fortunately, voice therapy and ENT doctor consultation can help to get to the root of the issue and form a treatment plan.

 

Voice Change/Persistent Hoarseness

 

Finally, keep an eye — or rather, an ear — on how your voice sounds on a day to day basis. If you notice over time that your voice is persistently hoarse or changing in some way, it could be cause for concern. This is another common side effect of overusing your voice, and it may require a special procedure that involves vocal cord examination. If you notice that your voice starts to sound raw and not normal, it’s always best to make an appointment with an ENT doctor you trust.

 

Ultimately, don’t hesitate to contact an ENT doctor in McKinney if you’re experiencing any of these or other similar vocal cord symptoms. For more information about ENT doctors, contact Ear Nose and Throat Associates of Texas PA.

Suffering From Fall Allergies? Here’s What You Need to Know

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doctors in mckinneyMany people are quick to assume that springtime is the only time of year that makes seasonal allergies flare up. But this is far from the truth — in fact, many people start coming down with allergy symptoms during the fall months as well. Here’s what you need to know about the most common signs of fall allergies as well as how to most effectively treat them.

Signs of Fall Allergies

Most doctors in McKinney will tell you that fall allergies present themselves with a number of different symptoms. Sneezing and congestion are quite common, as is fatigue, coughing, and post-nasal drip. You may also experience an itchiness in your eyes, nose, and throat. Those who are particularly prone may suffer from asthma attacks. Experts say these symptoms could persist all the way until the first freeze arrives at the beginning of winter. Fortunately, all it takes is a visit to a reliable ear nose and throat doctors to provide the proper treatment and get you back on the road to wellness.

Fall Allergy Prevention and Treatment

If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms listed above as a result of fall allergies, visiting one of the knowledgeable ear nose and throat doctors in McKinney should be your first course of action. Fall allergies have a number of causes, including ragweed pollen, dust mites, weed pollen grains, and mold spores, which are typically found on wet, damp leaves outside. Your doctor can suggest a number of different treatments, including allergy shots or allergy drops. And as always, try to avoid your allergy triggers whenever possible, although it can be difficult. If you’re suffering from allergy symptoms and can’t get to a doctor right away, you can find some temporary relief using over the counter decongestants and nasal sprays. But don’t use these temporary remedies as a substitute for long-term treatment.

The likelihood that allergic rhinitis or asthma will spontaneously go away is approximately 1% per year. With this in mind, it’s worthwhile to understand how to combat the symptoms associated with fall allergies. For more information about ENT doctors in McKinney, contact Ear Nose and Throat Associates of Texas PA.

Bell’s Palsy and Facial Paralysis: 3 Important Questions

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ENT doctorsPartial or full-face paralysis can be frightening, especially if symptoms develop rapidly. Facial weakness and drooping can be a sign of serious medical conditions, but can also result from a less dangerous condition, Bell’s Palsy. Although you may be worried, understanding what could be causing facial paralysis and what to expect for treatment are essential to a speedy and low-stress recovery.

Is It Bell’s Palsy or a Stroke?

Bell’s Palsy occurs when facial muscles become paralyzed, most often resulting in temporary drooping and weakness on one side of the face. Although doctors are still unclear on the exact cause, viral illnesses that swell the facial muscles (like meningitis or the flu) can disrupt nerve function and lead to paralysis.

In contrast, stroke is a medical emergency caused by a blood clot or rupture that prevents proper oxygenation of the brain, causing cells to die. Common warning symptoms include paralysis and weakness in one side of the body.

In both conditions, symptoms can develop rapidly, and it is important to get medical help quickly to rule out stroke. If the paralysis is limited to the face area only, the condition is likely Bell’s Palsy.

How Long Does Bell’s Palsy Last?

Bell’s Palsy is temporary in most cases, but recovery time can vary greatly depending on the cause of the condition and the extent of nerve damage. Doctors may use blood tests to check for diabetes or infection that could be causing the paralysis and influencing how long healing will take. ENT doctors (ear, nose, and throat specialist) will use an electromyography (EMG test), MRI, or CT scan to evaluate nerve damage.

Recovery begins between two weeks and six months after the first onset of symptoms. Often, return of full normal function comes between three and six months. In a few cases, symptoms never fully disappear. In rare and unusual cases where atypical symptoms are present, such as pain, general physicians refer their patients to ENT doctors.

Will I Need Surgery?

Most likely, no. Mild cases improve on their own, and other cases improve with treatment of the underlying cause, such as infection. Steroids have also been used to reduce swelling, and facial exercises and massage can help with muscle strengthening. However, in some cases where symptoms linger, ENT doctors will evaluate patients to see if reanimation surgery is necessary. Botox injections are also occasionally used to help with relaxing tight facial muscles.

Even though patients can expect several weeks of facial weakness, which influences social interactions and can be very uncomfortable, in general, the prognosis for Bell’s Palsy is positive. Very few individuals require surgery, but specialists have a variety of effective methods to speed along a full recovery.

Swimmer’s Ear: Exploring Causes and Proper Treatment

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doctor in planoEar infections come in many different types and severities, but one of the most common types of infections is swimmer’s ear. Typically, swimmer’s ear clears up within seven to 10 days, but the key to a swift recovery is recognizing when there’s a problem as soon as possible and proceeding to seek proper care. Here’s what you need to know about the causes of swimmer’s ear as well as its treatment process.

Causes

Swimmer’s ear occurs when water essentially gets trapped within the ear canal. This, in turn, causes bacteria and/or fungus to multiply and infect the opening of the ear. While swimming in a pool or any body of water is the most probable cause, the condition can also arise after taking a shower or soaking in a bath or hot tub. However, contrary to popular belief, water isn’t the only cause of the condition — it can also result from irritation relating to a wound within the ear.

“Sometimes swimmer’s ear develops not from trapped water but from a cut or scrape just inside the ear canal. Overly aggressive cleaning with cotton swabs tends to cause it; if the swab scratches the skin inside the ear, bacteria can thrive and trigger an infection. People with excessive ear wax or the chronic skin condition eczema, which causes itching and redness, are also more likely to develop swimmer’s ear, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,” writes Cathie Ericson on Health.

Treatment Plan

Swimmer’s ear may resolve itself on its own in minor cases, but if irritation persists for more than a few days, it’s important to see an ENT to get a proper diagnosis and receive antibiotics, which may be administered through eardrops or tablets. If you can’t get to a doctor right away, you can treat the pain temporarily with an over the counter pain reliever like Ibuprofen. But make sure to take some course of action, as the pain can be excruciating in severe cases.

Ultimately, understanding this vital info about swimmer’s ear can help you seek proper treatment from an ENT doctor in Plano and make a swift recovery. For more information about finding the right ear nose and throat doctor in Plano, contact Ear Nose and Throat Associates of Texas PA.