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What You Need to Know about Swimmer’s Ear

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ENT doctorTypically, an ENT doctor focuses on disorders that settle around the ear, nose, and throat area. By extension, they can handle conditions relating to surrounding areas such as the neck and head. An ENT doctor can also be referred to as an otolaryngologist and treats disorders like ear infection, tonsil, stuttering, and tinnitus.

Children between two to five years can suffer from developmental stuttering that affects their speech. In such a case, the best-suited medical practitioner would be an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Another illness that is likely to result in a visit to the ENT doctor’s office would be the swimmer’s ear.

The swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is a disorder that occurs in the external ear canal, a section that starts from the eardrum to the surface of your head. Research carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that approximately 2.4 million people in the United States consult doctors annually due to the swimmer’s ear infection. This article highlights the causes, risks, and treatment options for swimmer’s ear.

Causes of Swimmer’s Ear

The infection is a result of bacteria accumulation and occurs typically in children who spend too much time in the water. ENT doctors agree that in dry areas, the ear can shield itself from an infectious disease.

However, when the ear is exposed to damp conditions, bacteria are likely to thrive and cause an infection. Though infections by fungus can happen in the year, studies indicate that close to 98% of swimmer’s ear occurrences in North America are as a result of bacteria. Excessive moisture in one’s ear can be irritating and cause the skin around the canal to break, which causes bacteria to penetrate.

An ear nose and throat doctor will tell you that swimmer’s ear can also be contracted through other ways apart from swimming. Dry skin, excessive use of cotton swabs in the ear, and adding foreign materials such as paper clips can increase your chances of otitis externa. Also, pus accumulated in the inner ear can get to the ear canal using a hole positioned within the eardrum and result in an infection.

Symptoms of the Infection

Ear, nose, and throat doctors categorize swimmer’s ear as mild, moderate, and advanced. In the early stages of the swimmer’s ear, the symptoms are mild and include itching of the ear canal, subtle redness in the ear, and discharge of an odorless fluid. If left untreated, the infection progresses, and the itching intensifies and well as increased pain.

One of the significant signs of this infection is a pain in the ear, which can get severe in case of pulling of pressing of the outer ear. The pain may also make it hard to chew, and occasionally, the pain starts after itching in the ear canal. Swelling could also cause the patient to experience partial blocking and discomfort in the ear.

The exterior part of the ear may appear reddish or swollen while the lymph nodes in the ear get larger and tender. In the advanced stages, ear, nose, and throat doctors caution that the pain is severe and might progress to the neck, face, or part of the head.

Treatment of Swimmer’s Ear

The treatment of the infection varies depending on the level of severity. An ENT doctor may recommend the use of ear drops, which can eliminate the disease. As one package, the ear drops containing can antibiotics can be put together with steroids to curb the swollen ear canal.

If the ENT doctor prescribes ear drops, they are for daily use for a period of 7 to 10 days. In cases where the ear canal is too swollen for the drops to penetrate, a doctor could put a wick, which will act as a passage for the drug into the ear.

You can always schedule a visit for regular ear, nose, and throat check-up. It is best to see an ENT doctor in the early phases before the infection progresses any further.

Everything You Need to Know About Tonsil Removal Surgery

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The human body is intricate and complex. It has many organs and parts, all synchronized to work together. This is why there are specialists for almost every part of your body.

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Ear, nose, and throat doctors have specialized in treating diseases and infections of the ear, nose, and throat. A recent study has shown that 15% of people older than 18 have some form of trouble hearing. and many adults have had to have their tonsils taken out at some point in their lives. Pain on one side of your throat and trouble swallowing could point to a lot of things, but it could also mean you ought to have your tonsils taken out.

Tonsil removal surgery also referred to as a tonsillectomy, is most commonly done on children. However, here are some conditions that may require an adult to undergo the procedure.

1. If You Have Chronic Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that makes them swollen and inflamed. Tonsillitis is accompanied by fevers and a painfully sore throat, making it difficult to swallow. This infection is typically caused by bacteria, although viruses such as herpes simplex and the measles virus may cause tonsillitis.

Sometimes, tonsillitis is dangerous and chronic, forcing you to undergo a tonsillectomy. If you develop more than five infections in one year, it may be time to see an ENT doctor to get your tonsils taken out. Research has proved that people who had their tonsils taken out suffered from fewer sore throats than those who didn’t have the surgery.

2. If You’re Showing Resistance to Antibiotics

If you have an infection in your tonsils that isn’t responding to antibiotics, doctors would recommend getting your tonsils removed. This is also an appropriate option for people that are allergic to antibiotic medicines.

3. If You Have Enlarged Tonsils

Enlarged tonsils can make it difficult for you to swallow. It can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that makes it difficult for you to breathe during sleep. Under such circumstances, ENT doctors ought to take your tonsils ought to remove the obstruction.

However, it is essential to note that enlarged tonsils cause sleep apnea in children more often than they do in adults. Therefore, having a tonsillectomy done will cure sleep apnea in children more effectively than in adults.

4. If You Have Abnormal Growths on Your Tonsils

Cancer of the tonsils is on the steady rise, and this is partly because of its association with the human papillomavirus infection (HPV). HPV causes tumors in the back of the throat, especially the tonsils and at the base of the tongue. Expert ear, nose, and throat doctors would recommend getting your tonsils taken out as a way of getting rid of these tumors.

When Should You See Professional Doctors?

Sore throats aren’t uncommon, and thus it may be challenging to know when exactly you ought to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor for a tonsillectomy. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor.

  • You keep running fevers
  • There is pain on one side of your throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • You keep getting a severe sore throat
  • You have enlarged lymph glands in your neck

About the Procedure

Trained specialists perform tonsillectomies under general anesthesia. Doctors have the option of using one of several techniques, based on their preference, and the entire procedure takes close to an hour.

Adults and children undergo the same procedure, but adults are usually more uncomfortable after the surgery than children. Pain medication and avoiding eating acidic food will help you ease the pain after having your tonsils taken out.

ENT Care and its Implication on a Healthy and Happy Life

Ear, nose, and throat doctors may be trained in other secondary fields such as sleep science, facial reconstruction surgery, and other significant areas. This implies that they have the experience and skills it takes to help you correct your problem, and help you live more comfortably.

Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss, Regardless of Your Age

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Hearing loss is a difficult problem to deal with. Even worse is the fact that so many people think hearing loss only happens when you’re old. Hearing loss takes place slowly over the course of a lifetime. Thankfully, with the proper measures and precautions in place, you can do your part to decrease and prevent hearing loss.

Use earplugs and other forms of hearing protection

Most people only think to use earplugs when they go to a loud rock concert or work in an area that has a lot of heavy equipment. However, using earplugs in your day to day life is never a bad idea. You never know when you might be exposed to unhealthy decibel levels out in the world. For example, loud buses and cars, construction sites, and machinery can all contribute to hearing loss, even when you think you might be safe.

Keep music, movies, and television at a reasonable volume level

Next time you are tempted to blare your music or crank up the volume knob on the TV, remind yourself that exposure to excessive decibels can have enormous consequences on your hearing. For this reason, it is also wise to avoid using earbud-style headphones that are placed inside the ear. This style of headphones can be particularly harmful because it does not offer any layer between the sound and the cochlear structures. ENT doctors advise paying careful attention to the decibel levels that you permit as normal within your car, home, and other listening environments.

Have regular hearing tests

Whether you suspect that you have some level of hearing loss or not, it is important to visit ENT doctors for regular hearing tests. With routine tests, you can get a better picture of the current state of your hearing abilities. When problems are noticed, it reinforces taking the right steps and precautions to avoid further damage.

Even with the expert care and attention of ENT doctors, hearing loss continues to be quite a common occurrence in the United States. One in four people in the U.S. who are 65 and older struggle with disabling hearing loss. When you consider that hearing loss also begins at a much younger age, these figures skyrocket. Informing yourself about the common causes of hearing loss can help you stay on top of your hearing and avoid any unnecessary damage to the tender inner ear structures that maintain healthy, well-functioning hearing.

5 Symptoms Your Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor Should Examine

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ear nose and throat doctorsStatistics from the Department of Health indicate that there are 10,000 cases of vocal cord cancer every year in the United States. Other people are diagnosed with complex ear and nose problems. Therefore, you should see one of your local ear nose and throat doctors when you record the following signs.

Persistent Hearing Loss

If you have already been experiencing hearing loss for more than a week or two, you need to see one of your local ear nose and throat doctors. ENT doctors indicate that temporary hearing loss is likely to occur from time to time, especially if you listen to loud music for a long period. However, when the problem persists, it may be a sign of permanent damage to your ear, and you need to have it checked by a doctor.

Sinus Pain

Sinuses take a significant portion of your face, which means that you will easily detect a problem when they are swollen or inflamed. Ear nose and throat doctors indicate that you should see an ENT specialist if you experience sinus pain that lasts for a few days. Sinus pain is characterized by pain in the nose, upper teeth region, ear, and face. Doctors will find the source of pain and recommend the best possible treatment for you.

Sore Throat

It is common to experience sore throat, which means that you don’t have to ring an ear nose and throat doctor every time you get one. Instead, you should see one of your local ear nose and throat doctors if your sore throat is so severe that drinking water or swallowing saliva becomes a problem. If sore throat persists for an extended period, you have to see an ENT doctor. A thorough throat examination could diagnose something serious like tonsillitis.

Ongoing Nasal Congestion

Do you have clogged up nose all the time? Do you constantly experience a blocked nose? If so, you should book an appointment with ear nose and throat doctors. Persistent nasal congestion is not common and characterizes a sign of a serious issue. Some of the common causes of a blocked nose include a deviated septum, infections, and airborne allergies among others. Immediate examination of the nose will provide an immediate solution before it becomes worse.

Ringing In Your Ears

Tinnitus is an ear condition that is characterized by constant ringing sensation in the ears. Therefore, if you have been experiencing such symptoms, you need an ENT specialist to check the source of the problem. Most of the people diagnosed with tinnitus experience hearing loss later in their lives. It can also be a sign that you have an ear infection that needs to be treated before it gets out of hand.

Be aware of these symptoms that indicate an issue with your ears, nose, or throat. You should immediately seek a medical examination from ear nose and throat doctors after spotting these danger signs. You should react quickly so that you can get treatment before everything goes out of control.

The Importance of Safeguarding Yourself Against Hearing Loss

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ENT doctorDid you know that surveys indicate that approximately 15% of adults aged above 18 years have some kind of hearing problem? According to ENT doctors, the two major causes of hearing loss include aging and noise. As you age, the cells in your inner ear degenerate to a point where they can’t pick sound vibrations. This can reduce your hearing capacity significantly. Similarly, loud sounds can damage these cells and lead to hearing loss. Restoring your hearing capacity is virtually impossible. The only remedial path that your ear nose and throat doctor may recommend is the use of a hearing aid equipment. Read on to get a glimpse of how to prevent hearing loss.

Wear protective equipment

Sometimes you may have to expose yourself to loud sounds. For instance, when using power drills or saws and other loud equipment you have to stay in close proximity to loud sounds. Most ENT doctors recommend that you should wear protective gear over your ears to muzzle the loud sounds and protect your ears from sound-related damage. You could also use ear-muffs or plugs, which reduce loud sounds by 15 to 30 decibels.

Avoid loud noise and music

When referring to loud, you may wonder how loud is too loud? Simply put, if you have to shout when communicating with someone close to you because you can’t hear each other, then that is too loud. As a result, your ears may be getting slowly damaged. Sounds from concert speakers, power drills and saws are often too loud and they should be avoided where possible.

Buy equipment with sound ranges that are ear-friendly

You should consider purchasing electronic devices and appliances with low noise ratings or with silencer enhancements that lower the noise that they produce while in use. If you also visit outdoor places with music you should ask your patrons or hosts to turn down the volume if it’s too loud.

Take care of the medication you use

There are approximately 200 drugs that are known to damage your hearing capacity. The drugs include cancer medication, some antibiotics, and even high doses of aspirin can do some damage. If you have to take a drug that may damage your hearing capacity, you should consult your ENT doctor.

Clean your ears well

If ear wax builds up in your ears, then you may experience a muffling effect. An irrigation kit is the ideal cleaning tool that can soften the wax and help you to gently wash it out. Avoid sharp objects or cotton swabs because they may damage your eardrum if you probe deep into your ear channel. If you’re nervous about cleaning your own ears, make sure you visit your ENT doctor to discuss solutions.

Get an ENT doctor to test your hearing

If you have problems hearing people that speak to you from a close distance or if you hear ringing sounds in your ear, then visit an ENT doctor to get a thorough medical examination.

To preserve your hearing, make sure you keep these tips in mind. Your ears and your ENT doctor will thank you.

Signs that You Should Visit an ENT Specialist

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doctorsMany disorders are treated by Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctors, or ENT specialists. With common afflictions such as ear infections, self-treatment is a common thing among many people in the world. If you want to know if you are suffering from ENT-related disorders, there are several signs that you should be on the lookout for including obstructions in the airway, problems in breathing, worsening pain, and a compromise in the circulatory system. These are problems that can cause your ENT doctor to take drastic steps to save your life.

Otolaryngology is a discipline that deals with conditions and disorders of the throat, ear, and nose, or ENT. The field also focuses on other areas of the brain related to these three senses. These senses are also related to some areas of the neck and the head. Therefore, the organs are vital in how the human brain functions. Whenever you have a problem that is related to your throat, nose or ear, then it is high time you visit an otolaryngologist.

What does an ENT Doctor Do?

An ear nose and throat doctor normally studies for four years in a board certified school besides from graduating from medical school. It is important to see an ENT specialist once you start having persistent problems with areas related to the throat, nose, ears and other areas such as neck and head. Doctors who have specialized in ENT may also be experts in the surgical field, especially in the areas of:

  1. Ear Condition: Doctors specializing in ENT are capable of managing and treating problems that cause impairment in hearing, ear disorders or ear infections. There are also many other conditions that can affect your ears, including tinnitus or ear ringing and pain in the ear. An ear nose and throat treatment doctors can help you when you are suffering from such problems.
  2. Nose problems: Doctors dealing with ENT also treat problems which affect the sinuses, nasal cavity and the nose in general. The best way to know if you have a problem with your nose is noting if it affects your ability to breathe, smell and changes in its physical appearance.
  3. Problems with the throat: Problems with the throat are deadly. You can have problems with eating, swallowing, singing, speech and digestion. Doctors who treat ENT can help in treating in diagnosing and treating this condition.
  4. Head and neck related ENT conditions: ENT specialists go through thorough training which is supposed to make them aware how ENT diseases can lead to other effects, traumas, and defects that can affect the face, neck, and head. They trained on how to perform cosmetic surgery in these areas in case such problems occur.

When do you need an ENT Doctor?

An ENT doctor is supposed to help you with all problems that are related to your throat, ear, and nose. The main question is when you should consult the doctor.

  • Persistent loss of hearing: If you suffer from hearing problems for more than a week, then it is the high time that you should visit an ENT doctor. It is possible to suffer from a temporary loss of hearing when you listen to loud music for long periods, but if the problem continues, then you should visit an ENT doctor to determine if it is a permanent problem.
  • Continuous Nasal Congestion: Waking up with a blocked nose is not unusual when you have a cold. When you feel the same way all the time, then you should get concerned. Persistent nasal congestion is not usual, and this is a sign that you should consult an ENT doctor. A doctor can tell you the cause. In most cases, it is as a result of allergies, deviated septum or infections.
  • Sore Throat: It is common to have a sore throat, and that does not always warrant calling an ENT specialist. However, if the sore throat is persistent and lasts for more than a week, then you should be aware that it is not as common as you might think.

Health matters should not be taken lightly. If you have a persistent sore throat, ringing ears, sinus pain or constant nasal congestion, you should contact an ENT doctor.

Summer Tips ENT Doctors Swear By To Keep Their Patients in Good Health

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Summer was made for embracing the outdoors— or going off on an unexpected adventure or two. It’s the perfect time to go hike, fish, swim, and bask in the sunlight.

So now that we’ve said our goodbyes to winter, it’s important to keep your health into consideration while doing all of your favorite summertime activities. Though exercise and healthy eating can keep your entire body in excellent shape, ENT doctors would argue that there’s a lot more involved than that.

Here are some good habits to implement this summer so you can keep your ears, nose, and throat healthy and avoid having to pay a visit to the ENT doctor nearest you.

Watch where you swim

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal. Bacteria grows in the presence of moisture and can cause mild to intense discomfort and pain. Swimmers ear can also be caused by swimming waters that are contaminated, containing an already high level of bacteria.

To avoid the painful inflammation of swimmer’s ear, stick to swimming in pools and water parks— or any area that uses chlorine to purify the water— and be wary of swimming in lakes and rivers.

Clearing up an infection takes about a week, but it’s best to avoid infected waters completely. ENT doctors would recommend drying your ears right after getting out of the water. You can also go the extra mile and buy some water plugs to ensure your ears stay dry and infection free all summer long.

Limit your intake of alcohol

Drinking the occasional Piña Colada while you’re enjoying a beach vacation is completely acceptable, but heavy drinking can cause serious damage to your thyroid down the line. Think about limiting the amount you’re drinking and consider the negative impact it could have on your entire body. The thyroid gland regulates:

  • your metabolism
  • bone maintenance
  • heart function
  • your weight
  • brain development

ENT doctors warn their patients about serious thyroid problems such as thyroid cancer, and Graves’ disease. So if this worries you, try swapping out that summery drink for something non-alcoholic instead.

Watch the volume

Music festival season is upon us now that the weather is nice and warm. It’s easy to feel carefree while listening to your favorite band live, surrounded by friends. However, please don’t neglect your ears. Common exposure to loud sounds, such as the music found at festivals, can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus— a constant ringing in the ears. 15% of people over the age of 18 have trouble hearing, so with that in mind, take precautions before you leave for the grounds and bring some foam earplugs. Don’t miss out on all the action, but be sure to take breaks in between to give your hearing some TLC.

Shower when you get home

Summer allergies can be brutal. But one thing you can do to help ward off the agonizing congestion, sneezing, and stuffy nose is shower as soon as you get home. Showering helps rinse off the pollen on your body. Change into clean clothes and make a habit of washing your sheets more often. These little things can add up, but if your summer allergies are more severe, consider seeing an ENT doctor in your area.

An ENT doctor is here to help

These are just a few tips to think about while enjoying yourself this summer. But if you run into a serious issue, make an appointment with one of the ENT doctors in your area to address the concern. They are qualified to diagnose and provide treatment if you notice symptoms of a much bigger problem.

But if you feel like you’re in good health and have a long list of summer activities to do this year, remember — enjoy everything in moderation, stay active, and have a happy summer!

 

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.