Archives: Services

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Dizziness

Dizziness can also be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, such as high or low blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, tumor, medication side effect or metabolic disorders. Therefore you should always seek medical attention if you experience ongoing or repetitive dizziness.

Common causes of dizziness

Acoustic Neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is a benign growth on the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the ears loosen and begin moving about the wrong part of the ear. It is characterized by sudden, short bursts of dizziness that happen most often as a result of head movement. There is no known cause for BPPV. It usually resolves itself in a matter of days.

Inflammation of the Inner Ear

Dizziness may be one symptom of an inner ear infection.

Inflammation of the Inner Ear

Meniere’s Disease is characterized by long periods of dizziness, lasting from 30 to 60 minutes or more.
It is accompanied by symptoms such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear. There is no known cause or cure for Meniere’s Disease, although medication and behavior changes can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Migraines

Some migraines (vestibular migraines) can cause a feeling of imbalance and vertigo. This may be accompanied by ringing in the ears or hearing loss. Migraine-related vertigo may occur in conjunction with or separate from the migraine headache.

If you’re experiencing any form of repetitive or chronic dizziness, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Ear Infections

OUTER EAR INFECTION (Otitis Externa)

Also known as Swimmer’s Ear, outer ear infections result from an inflammation, often bacterial, in the outer ear. Generally, they happen when water, sand or dirt gets into the ear canal. Moisture in the air or swimming makes the ear more susceptible to this type of ear infection. Symptoms include: severe pain, itching, redness and swelling in the outer ear. There also may be some fluid drainage. Often the pain is worse when chewing or when you pull on the ear. To reduce pain and prevent other.

MIDDLE EAR INFECTION (Otitis Media)

Middle ear infections can be caused by either bacterial or viral infection. These infections may be triggered by airborne or foodborne allergies, infections elsewhere in the body, nutritional deficiencies or a blocked Eustachian tube. In chronic cases, a thick, glue-like fluid may be discharged from the middle ear. Treatment is contingent on the cause of the infection and ranges from analgesic eardrops, medications to the surgical insertion of a tube to drain fluid from the middle ear or an adenoidectomy.

INNER EAR INFECTION (Otitis Interna)

Also known as labyrinthitis, inner ear infections are most commonly caused by other infections in the body, particularly sinus, throat or tooth infections. Symptoms include dizziness, fever, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss and tinnitus. Always seek medical attention if you think you may have an inner ear infection.
If you suspect you or your child may have an ear infection, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Hearing Solutions

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 Solutions

Hearing Loss Solutions occurs when sound is blocked in any of the three areas of the ear. The most common cause of Hearing Loss Solutions — 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 Solutions.

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 Solutions 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 Solutions in the inner ear.

Other causes of Hearing Loss Solutions include:

Presbycusis: Age-related Hearing Loss Solutions, 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 Solutions. Some, like rubella (German measles) occur when a pregnant mother has the disease, which causes Hearing Loss Solutions 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 Solutions can be remedied. But problems of the middle and inner ear can lead to permanent Hearing Loss Solutions, which is why it is important to seek medical attention quickly if you are experiencing a problem hearing.

Types of Hearing Loss Solutions

There are four types of Hearing Loss Solutions:

Conductive Hearing Loss Solutions: Caused by conditions that block the transmission of sound through the outer ear and eardrum to the middle ear.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Solutions: Inner ear damage that occurs as part of the natural process of aging.

Mixed Hearing Loss Solutions: Mixed Hearing Loss Solutions refers to people who have both conductive and sensorineural Hearing Loss Solutions. Most people experience more than one type of Hearing Loss Solutions.

Central Hearing Loss Solutions: 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 Solutions generally can hear all sounds, but can’t separate or process them.

Hearing Loss Solutions is measured in four degrees: mild, moderate, severe or profound. The degree of Hearing Loss Solutions drives the selection of the best form of treatment on a case-by-case basis.

Hearing Solutions Treatments

The location, type and degree of Hearing Loss Solutions impact the choice of treatments for any hearing problem. The most common treatment options include:

Medication: 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 Solutions 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 Solutions. We’ll then recommend the best treatment.

Audiologist:

An audiologist is a trained professional who measures hearing loss and can fit hearing aids. An audiologist has at least a Masters degree specializing in hearing loss, and many now also have an AuD (Doctorate) degree, too.
An audiologist is also trained and certified to perform other evaluations and treatments. Some audiologists work in research or educational fields, and others work with patients (typically in a clinic, an ENT office or in their own private practice) measuring hearing loss, fitting hearing aids and performing other related tests. Those certified to work in clinical situations with patients, will have a title of “Certified Clinical Competence Audiologist (CCCA) after their names.

Purchasing a Hearing Aid:

Being fitted with the right hearing aid is critical to success with hearing aids. Hearing aids are an important investment in your quality of life. We can guide you through the hearing aid selection and buying process.
The cost range of hearing aids is as wide as the products available. What will suit you depends on the extent of your hearing loss, the style you prefer, and the technology it features. Cost also varies depending on the brand and provider. Newer models rely on more advanced forms of technology for optimal hearing and such improvements come at a cost. As a consumer, you will need to decide what instrument you want based on your own very individual needs, circumstances and of course on your budget. Please know that financing is available at Associated Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists.
You deserve to hear the best you can and a hearing solution can add value to your experiences. Imagine being able to enjoy an active everyday life at work, when eating out, going on holidays and participating in social gatherings and family occasions without the worry of missing out. Why should you compromise on your hearing when hearing gives you access to the world around you, allowing you to get the best out of life?

Please Contact Us:

We invite you to call Associated Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists at 860-586-2111 with any questions or concerned you might have about your hearing issue, or the hearing issue of a loved one. You can also request a hearing test or a hearing aid evaluation. Our Audiologists will be happy to work with you towards a custom hearing solution.

Mouth Sores

Cold Sores

Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that form on the lips or around the mouth. Cold sores are usually caused by the herpes simplex virus, and are both contagious and painful. Fever, sunburn, trauma, hormonal changes or emotional upset can trigger their appearance. While there is currently no cure, cold sores can be treated with prescription ointments to help alleviate the pain.

It is also important to wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing personal products to help prevent the spread of the infection to other people.

Candidiasis

Also known as oral thrush, this mouth sore is caused by a fungal infection. Painful red and cream-colored patches form on moist areas of the mouth. Candidiasis can cause difficulties with swallowing and taste. It is most commonly seen by denture wearers or people who have problems with their immune systems. Sometimes it occurs as a result of an unrelated antibiotic treatment, which can decrease normal bacterial development in the mouth. Saliva substitutes and antifungal creams are used to treat candidiasis.

White Patches

Chronic irritations inside the mouth, such as cheek chewing, dentures or braces, sometimes cause benign white patches to form inside the mouth. The treatment is to alleviate the irritation to allow for natural healing.

Leukoplakias

Leukoplakias consist of thick, white lesions that most commonly form beneath or around the tongue, cheeks or gums. Leukoplakias are painless, but can become cancerous over time. These mouth sores are most often seen in tobacco users. A biopsy may be needed to accurately diagnose leukoplakias.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancers appear as red or white patches of mouth tissue or small ulcers that look like a canker sores, but are painless. Oral cancers usually form on the tongue or floor of the mouth, but can occur on any tissue in and around the mouth. This includes cancers of the tonsils, adenoids, uvula (soft palate), roof of the mouth (hard palate), inside the lining of the cheeks, the gums, teeth, lips, the area behind the wisdom teeth and salivary glands. Some of these lesions may be benign, others may be malignant, and still others are precancerous. The most common type of precancerous cells in the mouth are:

Leukoplakias: Leukoplakias consist of thick, white lesions that most commonly form beneath or around the tongue, cheeks or gums. These mouth sores are most often seen in tobacco users.

Erythroplakias: These lesions appear as a red, raised area in the mouth and have a higher incidence of becoming malignant than leukoplakias.

A biopsy is often needed to diagnose leukoplakias and erythroplakias.Squamous cell carcinomas are the most common type of oral cancer. Less common are lymphoma and salivery gland cancers. Most oral cancers occur in people age 45 and older. When cancers of the mouth do metastasize, they are most likely to spread to the lymph nodes in the neck.

If you have a mouth sore that won’t heal, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Neck Pain

Mild neck strains or sprains can be treated with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. More severe cases may require prescription medication, physical therapy and, in the most severe cases, surgery.The neck houses and protects the top portion of the spine, known as the cervical spine.

It is possible to fracture or dislocate bones in the cervical spine through injury or trauma, which can lead to paralysis. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention.

If you’re suffering from chronic neck pain or have had a neck injury, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Breathing Problems

Allergies

When an allergen enters the body, the immune system kicks in to counter to the effects. In most cases, the immune systems produces histamine, which causes the symptoms typically associated with allergies and hay fever:

headaches, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, nasal congestion and scratchy throat. Allergic substances range from pollens to environmental and chemical pollutants. Smoking can also contribute to nasal congestion. To treat allergies, most people need to reduceg exposure to the allergen and take medication, often antihistamines and nasal decongestants. For more severe cases, allergy shots may be needed to build up the body’s immune response to the allergen over time.

Deviated Septum

The septum is the vertical structure that divides the two nasal passages in the nose. When the septum is crooked or bent, it is called a deviated septum, which can block the flow of air through the nose. If the constriction is serious, an outpatient surgical procedure can straighten out the septum and open the nasal airways.

Environmental Factors

Molds, dust and dry air are the most common culprits of environmentally induced allergies. These can be assessed by your doctor through physical examination and skin tests. If the allergic response is severe, your doctor may recommend allergy shots to build up an immunity to the allergens and alleviate your symptoms.

Lung Diseases

Certain lung diseases can also cause breathing problems, including asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis).

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus tissue behind the upper cheeks on both sides of the nose, between the eyes and above the eyes. It is characterized by congestion and a feeling of pressure, sometimes in response to moving up and down. Sinus pressure can also cause watery eyes. Many over-the-counter medications suffice in treating mild sinusitis. For more serious cases, prescription medications may be required to alleviate the pain and pressure and open up the nasal passages. Occasionally, surgery is required to remove chronically inflamed sinus tissue.

If you’re experiencing persistent breathing problems, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Snoring Problem

Snoring can also be a sign of a more serious problem, known as obstructive sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, the relaxed muscles at the back of the throat cause the throat to close, which stops breathing, typically from 20 seconds to up to three minutes. Most sleep apnea sufferers experience this cycle of snoring, apnea and awakening five or more times a night.

Sleep apnea has a higher incidence among people age 40 and older, people with a family history of snoring and in postmenopausal women.

Because it disrupts the normal sleep pattern, sleep apnea makes you feel tired, slows your reaction time and can lead to confused thinking and memory loss. Other complications of sleep apnea can be high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, anxiety and depression.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a physical examination with particular emphasis on weight, blood pressure and airway constriction in the nose, throat and lungs. In many cases, a sleep test will be recommended at a sleep laboratory. The sleep test monitors 16 different body functions while you sleep and can help identify the exact cause and severity of the sleep apnea.

Simple techniques for alleviating mild apnea are to sleep on your sides (not on your back) and avoid alcohol or sedatives before bedtime. In mild cases, treatment may consist of nasal decongestants, inhaled steroid preparations or oral mouth devices that force the jaw forward to prevent the tongue from falling back and constricting the throat. For more difficult cases, your doctor may prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This device straps onto your face and generates pressurized air, which helps keep your airway open during sleep. In severe cases, surgery may be called for to open the airway, including a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or deviated septum repair.If you suffer from debilitating snoring or think you may have sleep apnea, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Sore Throat

Inflamed Tonsils and Adenoids

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils located in the back of the throat on both sides of the tongue. Tonsils are part of the body’s natural immune system. This tissue captures bacteria and viruses to either prevent them from entering the body or trigger the appropriate immune response. The back of the throat may appear red or swollen or have a white or yellow coating covering the tonsils. The adenoids (tissue high in the throat behind the nose and soft palate) may also be inflamed and swollen, impeding swallowing and/or breathing. Symptoms include a severe sore throat, painful or difficult swallowing, coughing, headache, fever, chills and swelling of the cheeks and neck. Tonsillitis may also be caused by strep throat. Antibiotic medication is generally prescribed to treat the inflammation (usually penicillin). Tonsillitis usually resolves in four to seven days if caused by a virus. Chronic cases of repeated tonsillitis may require surgical removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids (tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy). An adenoidectomy may also be recommended for children experiencing chronic ear infections.

Laryngitis

The larynx allows air to pass in and out of the lungs while preventing solids (food) and liquids from entering the lungs. The larynx also contributes to sound production by the vocal cords. Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, the top portion of the windpipe (trachea). It is characterized by hoarseness, coughing, difficulty in breathing for some children and, occasionally, loss of voice. In addition to an infection, laryngitis may be caused by acid reflux or nodules, polyps or nerve damage on the vocal cords. Laryngitis usually heals by itself within two weeks with the help of increased air moisture, drinking plenty of fluids and resting the voice.

Pharyngitis

The pharynx is tissue that resides behind the mouth an soft palate and acts as a pathway for food and liquids to enter the esophagus and air to enter the lungs. An inflammation of the pharynx is called pharyngitis. Painful swallowing is the most common symptom. Pharyngitis may also occur along with laryngitis. Again, the inflammation usually heals by itself with rest, fluids and air humidity.

Epiglottitis

The epiglottis is a flap of tissue at the base of the tongue that keeps food from going into the windpipe when swallowing. Epiglottitis occurs when this tissue becomes inflamed and infected. The swelling of the epiglottis can block the tongue and result in a medical emergency. In addition to infections, epiglottitis can be caused by chemicals (illicit drugs), severe heat damage (thermal epiglottitis) or trauma. If you experience a sore throat that hampers your ability to swallow, seek immediate medical attention.

If you have a sore throat that causes pain or won’t heal, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

Head and Neck Cancers

Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Malignant tissue in the bottom part of the pharynx is called hypopharyngeal cancer. The pharynx is a tube-like structure that goes from the back of the nose down to the windpipe and esophagus. Symptoms include sore throat and ear pain. Hypopharyngeal cancer is usually diagnosed through a physical examination, CT scan , MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), chest x-ray, esophogus x-ray or biopsy.

Most hypopharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas – thin flat cells that line the inside of the organ. Unfortunately, this cancer tends to be detected in later stages because early symptoms are rare. This cancer typically requires surgery to remove the malignant tissue, followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment.

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer occurs when there is malignant tissue in the larynx. Symptoms include pain swallowing, trouble breathing, ear pain, a lump in the neck, persistent coughing, hoarseness and/or a change in voice. Over 90 percent of laryngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which respond well to surgery and radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Oral Cancer

Leukoplakias:

Also known as Swimmer’s Ear, outer ear infections result from an inflammation, often bacterial, in the outer ear. Generally, they happen when water, sand or dirt gets into the ear canal. Moisture in the air or swimming makes the ear more susceptible to this type of ear infection. Symptoms include: severe pain, itching, redness and swelling in the outer ear. There also may be some fluid drainage. Often the pain is worse when chewing or when you pull on the ear. To reduce pain and prevent other.

Erythroplakias:

Also known as labyrinthitis, inner ear infections are most commonly caused by other infections in the body, particularly sinus, throat or tooth infections. Symptoms include dizziness, fever, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss and tinnitus. Always seek medical attention if you think you may have an inner ear infection.
If you suspect you or your child may have an ear infection, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.