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Posts for category: ENT Care

By Christopher J Lee, MD
January 13, 2021
Category: ENT Care
Impacted EarwaxDealing with a buildup of earwax? Find out how earwax impaction can affect your hearing.

Earwax is important for the health of the ear, as it helps trap bacteria and other particles that could affect the health and function of the eardrum. So, while you might think that earwax is simply a nuisance that you need to get rid of, it’s best to leave your ears alone. After all, your ears are self-cleaning. In fact, using Q-tips in your ears can simply just push earwax further into the ear canal, leading to impaction. If you are dealing with impacted earwax you may experience,
  • Muffled hearing
  • A feeling of fullness in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Ear pain
  • Dizziness
If an infection develops you may notice a severe earache, drainage comes from the ear or a fever. If you develop symptoms of an infection, you must see your ENT as soon as possible for treatment.

What should I do if I have an earwax impaction?

If you have impacted earwax you may try over-the-counter kits to rinse out the ears and remove the earwax; however, it’s best to have a qualified ENT doctor examine your ear and not just determine if your symptoms are due to impacted earwax but also to safely remove the excess wax.

If you are dealing with impacted earwax you mustn’t stick a cotton swab or other tools into your ears to try and remove the earwax, as this could damage or puncture the eardrum.

Your ENT doctor has special tools and suction devices to be able to flush out the earwax buildup and to clean out the ears. Some people are prone to earwax buildup, particularly seniors. If this is something that you deal with regularly then your doctor may recommend special ear drops that can break up the earwax.

If you’re having trouble with impacted earwax, or earwax buildup talk with your ENT specialist about safe strategies to keep your ears clean. While there are tools that can be effective and safe, when used properly, you may wish to turn to a qualified doctor to find out the best way to keep your ears clean.
By Christopher J Lee, MD
December 28, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Earwax  
How To Safely Clean Out Your EarwaxDid you know that your ears are self-cleaning? So, if you find yourself reaching for that cotton swab in your bathroom tonight you might want to put it down. Your ears are extremely low maintenance and very rarely need to be cleaned. Of course, older adults may be prone to excessive earwax buildup, which can lead to impaction or obstruction. In these cases, you may want to turn to an ENT doctor to safely clear out impacted wax.
 
If your ears feel a little blocked or your hearing is muffled, then you could have a buildup of wax. This is known as impaction. Impacted earwax can make the affected ear feel full. You may notice changes in your hearing, dizziness, or a ringing in your ears. If so, it’s time to see your ENT doctor.
 
Can I clean out my ears myself?

While there are certain earwax removal kits on the market that you can try, the best and safest way to have wax buildup removed is by seeing a qualified doctor. An otolaryngologist will have the proper irrigation tools to remove the blockage with complications. Of course, if you do choose to clean your ears yourself you may wish to try:
 
An earwax softener: You can pick up these eardrops at your local drugstore. Make sure to follow the exact instructions on the package. Leave the drops in your ears for the amount of time mentioned on the package and then rinse out the ears or simply let the drops drain out.
 
A syringe: Some kits contain little rubber syringes that you can fill with saline or warm water. This over-the-counter irrigation system can take time to soften the earwax, but you may find it helpful with more mild impactions.
 
All we ask is that you do not try and use a cotton swab to clean the inside of your ear, which will only push the wax further and could damage the eardrum. Earwax softeners and these syringe and irritation systems are your best bet if you want to try and remove earwax buildup yourself. If you are prone to earwax buildup you can schedule regular appointments with your ENT doctor to have your ears cleaned properly by a professional.
 
If you have questions about how to safely and properly clean excess earwax an ENT doctor can answer any of your questions.
By Christopher J Lee, MD
October 02, 2020
Category: ENT Care
TonsilsIf you open your mouth, it’s fairly easy to see your tonsils, as they are the two soft-tissue organs that lie on either side of the back of the throat. These structures are great for being able to stop bacteria from getting into the body, and they even act as the body’s first line of defense against germs. Unfortunately, even tonsils can become inflamed and infected; however, if you are dealing with regular or recurring tonsillitis, severe infections, or bleeding of the tonsil, then your ENT doctor may recommend tonsil removal surgery.

How long does a tonsillectomy take?

A tonsillectomy is performed as a simple outpatient procedure, which means that you will be able to go home the very same day. Surgery is done right in our ENT practice under general anesthesia. This means that you will be asleep throughout the entire procedure.

There are a variety of different methods that can be used to remove the tonsils and your doctor will talk to you about which method may be the best option for you. The surgery is quick, only taking approximately 20-30 minutes to remove the tonsils.

What is the recovery process like?

You may experience a sore throat for a few days after surgery so you will want to consume softer foods and more fluids to stay hydrated and to make sure that you are getting proper nutrients while your mouth heals. Resting is also very important, and you should avoid any physical activities for about two weeks.

You may need pain relievers to ease your symptoms during recovery. Your otolaryngologist will also let you know when you can return to work or when your child can return to school after surgery.

Could I benefit from tonsil removal surgery?
 
You may want to talk with your otolaryngologist about whether you could benefit from having your tonsils removed if you are experiencing at least seven cases of tonsillitis in one year or more than five cases a year for two years. If antibiotics do not properly clear up your infection, or if an abscess develops behind the tonsils, then surgery to remove the tonsils may also be recommended.

If you are having issues with your tonsils, you may benefit from removal surgery. Talk with your ENT doctor to find out whether a tonsillectomy is a right choice for you or your little one.
By Christopher J Lee, MD
September 02, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Tonsillitis   Tonsillectomy  
TonsillectomyThe tonsils are two small glands that are found in the back of the throat. They are our body’s first defenses against harmful bacteria and other foreign invaders; however, sometimes even the tonsils can become inflamed and infected. This condition is known as tonsillitis. While dealing with tonsillitis doesn’t require having your tonsils removed, your ENT doctor may recommend getting a tonsillectomy if:
  • You are dealing with seven or more tonsil infections in just one year
  • You have more than five tonsil infections a year for two years in a row
  • You have three infections per year for three years in a row
  • Your infected tonsils are not responding to antibiotics
  • You’re dealing with enlarged tonsils (this can also cause obstructive sleep apnea and issues with breathing while sleeping)
If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to speak with a qualified ENT doctor to find out whether it’s time to consider a tonsillectomy. For many adults, a tonsillectomy is recommended when sleep is affected by inflamed or enlarged tonsils.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Wondering if you or your child is dealing with a case of tonsillitis? It’s possible if these symptoms appear:
  • A severe sore throat
  • White or yellow patches on the throat and tonsils
  • Swollen, inflamed tonsils
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pain or trouble swallowing
  • Fever
What should I expect from a tonsillectomy?

This procedure is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, so you or your child will not be awake during the procedure; however, this is a minor procedure, so patients can go home the very same day. A tonsillectomy takes anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour and the area does not require stitches.

After a tonsillectomy, it is important to take ample time to rest and recover, which can take up to one week before returning to normal activities and up to two weeks before returning to physical activity. Your otolaryngologist will provide you with detailed recovery instructions to follow after your surgery.

If your child is dealing with persistent and severe tonsillitis, or if you’re dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to consult with your ENT specialist to find out if you or your child’s tonsils need to be removed. Schedule an evaluation today.
By Christopher J Lee, MD
August 18, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Tinnitus   Whizzing sound  
Ears Keep RingingIf you’ve ever been to a loud concert then chances are good that you’ve dealt with ear ringing afterward; however, if you’re experiencing ringing in the ears regularly and symptoms seem to appear out of the blue, then you could have a condition known as tinnitus.

Tinnitus is the result of damage to hair cells within the inner ear. Tinnitus is most often characterized as a ringing in the ear, but others may hear a clicking, hissing, or whizzing sound. You may hear it in one ear or both and sometimes it can be loud.

While tinnitus isn’t dangerous it can certainly be annoying, especially if it’s loud or happening regularly. If symptoms are severe it may even affect your quality of life.

What causes tinnitus?

Along with exposure to loud noises (often from occupations in the construction or music industries), there are other causes of tinnitus including:
  • A head injury
  • Impacted wax or wax buildup
  • Caffeine
  • Meniere’s disease (a condition of the inner ear)
  • Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; medication for blood pressure)
Can tinnitus be cured?

If tinnitus is the result of something simple like caffeine or impacted wax, then simply remove the wax or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Sometimes tinnitus will simply go away on its own.

Even though there isn’t anything that can cure tinnitus, your ENT doctor can provide you with a variety of treatment options to make living with tinnitus easier, such as:
  • Adding white noise to your room (e.g. turning on a fan)
  • Altering your medication (if medication is causing your symptoms, talk with your doctor before stopping or replacing medication)
  • Wearing a hearing aid
  • Trying acupuncture or alternative treatments, which may also provide relief
  • Wearing earplugs to protect your hearing from further noise exposure, especially when operating loud machines (e.g. lawnmower; blender)
  • Keeping your ears clean and seeing your doctor regularly if you are prone to ear wax impaction
When should I see a doctor?

If you are experiencing ringing ears that persist for weeks, then it’s time to see a doctor for an evaluation. If you also experience dizziness or hearing loss in one or both ears this could be a symptom of Meniere’s disease, and you should see your doctor right away.

If you are concerned about ringing ears, dizziness, or other problems affecting your ear health, then call an ENT specialist to find out what’s going on and how to best treat it.