Do You Have Tinnitus?

tinnitus in AtlantaTinnitus is a symptom that associated with some forms of hearing loss, and it can be a sign of other health issues as well. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 12 million Americans are sufferers. For some, the roaring, clicking, hissing, or ringing sound in their ears interferes with their daily activities, including sleep.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Loud noise. Too much exposure to loud noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

Medicine. More than 200 medicines can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.

Hearing loss. Doctors and scientists have discovered that people with different kinds of hearing loss also have tinnitus.

Other health problems. Allergies, tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.

What to Do If You Think You Have Tinnitus

If you suspect you have tinnitus, see your Atlanta ENT doctor. Your doctor will try to get to the bottom of what is causing it.

Your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an audiologist.

There is no cure for tinnitus, but one of the following treatments might be recommended for you, depending on what is causing it:

  • Hearing Aids. Many people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid makes it easier for some people to hear the sounds they need to hear by making them louder. The better you hear other people talking or the music you like, the less you notice your tinnitus.
  • Maskers. Maskers are small electronic devices that use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Maskers do not make tinnitus go away, but they make the ringing or roaring seem softer. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it. Some people sleep better when they use maskers. Listening to static at a low volume on the radio or using bedside maskers can help. These are devices you can put by your bed instead of behind your ear. They can help you ignore your tinnitus and fall asleep.
  • Medicine or drug therapy. Some medicines may ease tinnitus. If your doctor prescribes medicine to treat your tinnitus, he or she can tell you whether the medicine has any side effects.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy. This treatment uses a combination of counseling and maskers. Otolaryngologists and audiologists help you learn how to deal with your tinnitus better. You may also use maskers to make your tinnitus less noticeable. After a while, some people learn how to avoid thinking about their tinnitus. It takes time for this treatment to work, but it can be very helpful.
  • Counseling. People with tinnitus may become depressed. Talking with a counselor or people in tinnitus support groups may be helpful.
  • Relaxing. Learning how to relax is very helpful if the noise in your ears frustrates you. Stress makes tinnitus seem worse. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sound.

To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-740-1860. We have offices all over the Atlanta area, from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

What is an ENT Doctor?

Can an ENT doctor help me?

ENT DOCTOR

Most people ask this question regularly, because a good portion of the population is not quite sure what an ENT doctor is or what one can do. That is perfectly fine! ENT stands for ear, nose and throat, and ENT doctors are also referred to as otolaryngologists. While this might seem like a scary word, it makes perfect sense if you break down the Latin.

Oto- Ear
Rhino- Nose
Laryngo- Throat
logy- The study of

(See! That wasn’t so bad.)

We will take the time to explore the more common reasons patients go see an ENT specialist, and we will also look into more obscure territories.

  • The Ear: You would see an ENT doctor if you have hearing loss, hearing impairments (such as tinnitus), ear infections, and also hearing issues since birth. ENT doctors also remove excess earwax build-up, which is a dirty job but someone has got to do it.
  • The Nose: The most common nose-related issues that ENT doctors are seen for are sinus related. Most people do not realize that ENT doctors are the sinus experts of the medical field, and they are most likely not getting the expert help they need from general practitioners. ENT doctors also perform cutting-edge procedures to cure sinus conditions; from sinus surgery to balloon sinuplasty, an ENT doctor can improve the lives of sinus sufferers. ENT practices also are known for treating allergy issues. The ENT Institute for instance has in-office allergy testing, and also has many options for allergy treatments that can be picked up right at the office.
  • The Throat: Disorders that affect speech, singing, eating, swallowing, and digestion can also be investigated by an ENT doctor. While it might not be common knowledge, many famous singers have an ENT doctor on speed-dial to help them with their vocal issues when they arise. A more common reason for visiting an ENT doctor is when you are suffering from acid reflux or GERD.
  • Some conditions of the head and neck: ENT doctors can also take care of diseases, tumors, and trauma of the head, neck, and face. Some ENT doctors are even trained to perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in these areas.

We hope this helps clear up what an ENT doctor actually does, and also shows that ENT doctors do not get the credit they deserve. Hopefully, next time you have to make a medical decision, you will know when seeing an ENT doctor is the right call.
Schedule an appointment at The ENT Institute

Hearing loss cure being studied

Hearing loss is a terrible disease that destroys quality of life. As of 2013, As many as 48 million people in the U.S. alone have been affected by hearing loss to some degree. But hearing loss may no longer be a problem as recent studies have created solutions. Could there finally be a hearing loss cure?

Man with hearing lossMore specifically, a study published by Dr. Albert Edge discovered a revolutionary way to repair damaged ear cells. Tested in mice, this method proved to be a successful treatment to hearing loss. Although human advances have not been made, a company by the name of “Audion Therapeutics” have taken a step forward by starting clinical human trials. Their research could prove to end hearing loss and create a better future. But Audion Therapeutics is not the only one in the market as another company named “Frequency Therapeutics” have filed for a patent treating hearing loss in the middle ear.

Where is a hearing loss cure for humans?

As of right now… this treatment only works in animals. So, what is needed to cure hearing loss in a person other than hearing aids?
Something called a hair cell needs to be regenerated in order for this to happen. A link to see more about these cells can be found here http://www.neurophys.wisc.edu/auditory/johc.html. Doctors believe that they are close to performing this in humans, but need to make sure no unwanted side-effects, like tumors, occur as a result of the treatment. There has been major headway in the field though, because in 2015 there was a research team led by Dr. Rocha-Sanchez that found a way to manipulate the gene that causes hearing loss without any adverse side-effects.

Even though this treatment is exciting, it seems as though this treatment will not be perfected on humans for another 10-20 years according to speculations by experts. And even though this seems like a long time, it does not discredit the fact that researchers are fighting this great battle against such a terrible disorder.

Until the cure happens, you can Schedule an appointment atThe ENT Institute

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Notch%20inhibition%20induces%20cochlear%20hair%20cell%20regeneration%20and%20recovery%20of%20hearing%20after%20acoustic%20traumahttp://www.masseyeandear.org/research/investigators/e/edge-alberthttp://www.science20.com/news_articles/blocking_notch_pathway_to_help_restore_hearing-151951

Hearing Loss Brings Additional Dangers

Man with hearing loss

Hearing loss causes more problems than anyone thought

Everyone knows hearing loss can cause life to be difficult. Not being able to hear your loved ones clearly, having to turn the T.V. way up, not hearing certain sounds that might prevent an accident from happening. The list can go on and on…. but what if I told you early treatment of hearing loss could help prevent serious health issues? Not many people understand this, so they go way too long with hearing aids (Sometimes because it makes them look old) only to age faster because they did not.

We understand, there is definitely a social taboo associated with wearing hearing aids, but that mindset is causing health issues in Americans. According to studies, most people do not correct their hearing impairments until 10 to 20 years after they notice there might be an issue. Other studies are also showing there is a link between hearing loss and brain functionality. These studies show that if your brain has to work to understand what you are hearing, then it does not give the same effort into the cognitive processes (what your brain does to learn and memorize information). Experts believe this may be leading to an earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia for people who ignore their hearing problems. These studies show why the “hearing aids are only for very old people” stereotype needs to stop, because they are actually keeping people’s brains healthier, younger, and more sharp.

Signs of Hearing Loss

The signs of hearing loss can be subtle and emerge slowly or early signs of hearing loss can be significant and come about suddenly. Either way, there are common indications and hearing impaired signs. You should suspect hearing loss if you experience any of the signs below.

 

Socially:

  • Require frequent repetition.
  • Have difficulty following conversations involving more than two people.
  • Think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling.
  • Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms.
  • Have trouble hearing children and women.
  • Have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume.
  • Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations.
  • Have ringing in your ears.
  • Read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when they speak with you.

Emotionally:

  • Feel stressed out from straining to hear what others are saying.
  • Feel annoyed at other people because you can’t hear or understand them.
  • Feel embarrassed to meet new people or from misunderstanding what others are saying.
  • Feel nervous about trying to hear and understand.
  • Withdraw from social situations that you once enjoyed because of difficulty hearing.

Medically:

  • Have a family history of hearing loss.
  • Take medications that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs).
  • Have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems.
  • Have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period or single exposure to explosive noise.

To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-406-6587 if you are in the Atlanta area, including East Cobb and Buckhead.

Swimmer’s Ear Again

Are you ready to battle swimmer’s ear?

Swim season is here, which usually mean lots of fun, but could also lead to lots of aches and pain because of swimmer’s ear. Most people do not realize how delicate their ears are and that they should be protected while in water. Swimmer’s ear is also known as acute external otitis since it occurs in the outer ear canal. When water gets stuck in this area of your ear after swimming (or even if you get bacteria in there from sticking your finger or a cotton swab inside), bacteria can grow out of control and make for a painful infection.

Smart kid avoiding swimmer's ear

You will normally be able to tell on your own if you are developing a case of swimmer’s ear Swimmer’s ear symptoms are usually mild at first, but they may get worse if your infection isn’t treated or spreads. Doctors often classify swimmer’s ear according to mild, moderate and advanced stages of progression.

Mild signs and symptoms

Itching in your ear canal

Slight redness inside your ear

Mild discomfort that’s made worse by pulling on your outer ear (pinna, or auricle) or pushing on the little “bump” (tragus) in front of your ear

Some drainage of clear, odorless fluid

Moderate progression

More intense itching

Increasing pain

More extensive redness in your ear

Excessive fluid drainage

Discharge of pus

Feeling of fullness inside your ear and partial blockage of your ear canal by swelling, fluid and debris

Decreased or muffled hearing

Advanced progression

Severe pain that may radiate to your face, neck or side of your head

Complete blockage of your ear canal

Redness or swelling of your outer ear

Swelling in the lymph nodes in your neck

Fever

If you or your child is prone to getting swimmers ear, wear earplugs when you swim a lot. Simply shaking the water out of your ear, by hopping up and down with your head tilted as to let the water out of your ear, may also help. Often it will wiggle itself out and you will have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Treatment for swimmer’s ear is not difficult if caught within a reasonable amount of time. Normally, you can pick up a bottle of eardrops from your pharmacy with a simple prescription. Prompt treatment of swimmer’s ear can help prevent progression and complications. However, if you ever do experience a problem with this, there are no better people to go to for assistance than The ENT Institute, with 14 Metro Atlanta locations!

To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-406-6587 or click here.