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Posts for: October, 2019

By Ko'olau Ear, Nose and Throat
October 22, 2019
Category: Otolaryngology
Tags: Hearing Loss  
Protect your hearingIf you think you might be losing your hearing, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) more than 30% of adults over 65 have some degree of hearing loss. That includes 14% of people between the ages of 45 and 64 have some degree of hearing difficulty.
 
There are many signs and symptoms of hearing loss you should pay attention to, including if you:
  • Hear muffled speech or sounds
  • Have a problem understanding individual words
  • Need people to speak more loudly or slowly
  • Have to turn up the television or radio
  • Withdraw from social events or conversations
There are many causes of hearing loss including aging, continuous exposure to loud noises, heredity, ear infections or damage to your ears from pressure changes, and even a buildup of earwax.
 
The best thing you can do is to prevent hearing loss and damage to your ears. You should:
  • Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs if you are in a loud workplace
  • Have your hearing tested by an audiologist or ENT specialist. Current recommendations are to have your hearing tested at least every 10 years through age 50, and every three years after age 50.
  • Protect your ears from damaging loud noises in your daily activities and recreation, especially listening to rock concerts, shooting guns or riding in loud vehicles.
  • Take breaks from continuous loud noises.
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait until your hearing gets worse! Schedule a hearing test and find out just how many sounds and conversation you might be missing. Hearing screenings are an inexpensive and quick way to give you peace of mind.
 
There are many treatment options available for hearing loss, including several types of hearing aids and cochlear implants. You and your audiologist or ENT specialist can decide which option is best for you depending on the degree of your hearing loss and your individual wishes. Don’t miss out on your life; call today and hear better tomorrow!

By Ko'olau Ear, Nose and Throat
October 07, 2019
Category: ENT
Tags: Swimmer’s Ear  

While swimmer’s ear may sound akin to having a lucky rabbit’s foot, the opposite is actually true. This painful condition, also known as acute otitis externa, causes infection and inflammation of the outer ear. As you may be able to guess from the name alone, this ear infection is often the result of too much water getting into the ears, whether you are an avid swimmer or you just drenched yourself in a hot shower for too long. Of course, there are other reasons why you may be prone to these infections.

Sure, this infection tends to be more common in children and teens, but if you happen to clean your ears regularly with cotton swabs, if you end up damaging or cutting the skin of the ear canal or if you’ve been diagnosed with eczema of the ear canal, then you too could be at risk for developing this type of ear infection.

Once the water is trapped inside the ear canal, it leaves the ear susceptible to bacteria and infection. If you have swimmer’s ear, you most likely know it because the inflammation causes pain. Since it is indeed an infection, it’s important that you turn to your otolaryngologist for proper medical attention. Not only will the treatment help eliminate your pain and discomfort but it will also stop the infection from spreading.

Besides pain, you may also notice that your ear feels as if there's fluid in it, which may also be drained. Since swimmer’s ear is an infection, you may also notice that the lymph nodes around the neck and ears are swollen. Some patients even report minor hearing loss. Of course, a young child can’t often describe their symptoms, but you may notice your little one tugging at their ear, unable to sleep, or more irritable and cranky. If you notice these symptoms then it’s time to take your child to the ENT doctor.

What can happen if swimmer’s ear isn’t treated properly? You may experience chronic or recurring infections. You may find that even if the condition clears up that your hearing loss has not fully returned. There may even be damage to the bones and cranial nerves.

When you come in to see your ENT specialist, they will most likely prescribe eardrops to treat the infection. They may also clean out the infected ear canal. These eardrops will serve to kill the bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to follow the instructions for your medication and continue to use it even once your symptoms have gone away, or according to what your physician has prescribed. This will ensure that all the bacteria are destroyed and that you won’t develop another infection.

Protect the health of your ears. If you think you may have swimmer’s ear, or if you are experiencing any kind of ear pain, it’s a good idea to play it safe and visit an ear, nose and throat specialist right away for care.