Speech Pathologists Provide Services for Disorders of the Voice

mother and daughterAt the ENT Institute, we are proud to include fully licenses speech pathologists on our staff for those with voice, swallowing, and speech/communication disorders. Our goals are to help patients communicate more clearly, easily, effectively, and confidently; and/or swallow (eat/drink) more easily, confidently, and safely. We understand the fears and frustrations that may coincide with these types of disorders, and we are here to help you.

We recognize that even the minor symptoms you experience can be irritating and possibly interfere with daily life. Your concerns and questions are taken very seriously, no matter how small or large they might seem. The speech pathology approach here at the ENT Institute involves consistent communication with you in order to arrive at an individually tailored treatment plan together that can easily fit into your daily life.

Give us a call if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • voice changes lasting longer than two weeks (especially if you smoke)
  • pain in your throat when talking that is not from a cold or flu
  • a severe change in your voice (or complete loss of voice) lasting longer than a few days that is not associated with a cold or the flu
  • persistent voice changes that inhibit your ability to do your normal activities
  • vocal fatigue
  • hoarseness or other change in the pitch/timbre or quality of your voice
  • a loss in a portion of your speaking or singing range
  • tightness/discomfort or burning sensation in your throat
  • a sensation of something stuck in your throat
  • difficulty making your voice sufficiently loud or soft
  • breathlessness when you speak
  • tremor quality or abrupt starts and stops of your voice that you have difficulty controlling
  • a feeling of the need to cough or clear your throat frequently

To learn more about our Atlanta speech services or to schedule an appointment if you are in the Atlanta area, from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta, give us a call at any of our offices!

Treating Your Sleep Disorder—Sleep Apnea

sleep disorder treatment in AlpharettaMore than 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, and many of the sufferers are completely unaware of it.

If you have been told you have sleep apnea, you have likely heard of CPAP therapy as one of the most effective ways to treat sleep apnea.

Is it the right option for you?

There are some difficulties that come with CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It requires people to wear a mask while they sleep, and many people find this difficult.

CPAP therapy can make traveling inconvenient because it needs to be packed and brought wherever you go.

Don’t Leave Sleep Apnea Untreated

If you have sleep apnea, it might be tempting to leave it untreated. But if you do that, you are opening yourself to serious health risks, such as heart problems, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure.

If you don’t want CPAP therapy, there are other possibilities you can explore for sleep apnea treatment.

Other Ways to Treat Sleep Apnea

None of these will provide a quick fix to your sleep apnea, but you can try lifestyle changes to help lessen the severity of your sleep apnea. These include:

  • A different sleep position—especially if you have milder sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side can help. You can look into sensor technology for this—or simply sew a tennis ball on the back of your pajamas to keep you from lying on your back.
  • Weight loss—even losing 10 pounds can help. The less fat you have on your neck, the better your airways are unobstructed.
  • Exercise—better muscle tone can help lessen the severity of sleep apnea.
  • Throat exercises.

Find Out More About Treating Sleep Apnea

Talk to your doctor at ENT Institute about which treatment options for snoring or sleep apnea would be best for you if you are in the Atlanta area, from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta.

Chronic Sinusitis From a Deviated Septum?

deviated septumIf you are suffering from chronic sinusitis, it could because of the shape of your nasal cavity. It is commonly believed that 80 percent of all nasal septums are off-center, a condition that is generally not noticed. A deviated septum occurs when the septum is severely shifted away from the midline.

The most common symptom from a badly deviated or crooked septum is difficulty breathing through the nose. The symptoms are usually worse on one side, and sometimes actually occur on the side opposite the bend. In some cases the crooked septum can interfere with the drainage of the sinuses, resulting in repeated sinus infections. Septoplasty is the preferred surgical deviated septum treatment Atlanta has to offer. This procedure is not generally performed on minors, because the cartilaginous septum grows until around age 18. Septal deviations commonly occur due to nasal trauma.

A deviated septum may cause a number of symptoms, including nasal congestion, frequent nosebleeds, frequent sinus infections, and noisy breathing during sleep.

In some cases, a person with a mildly deviated septum has symptoms only when he or she also has a an upper respiratory tract infection. In these individuals, the respiratory infection triggers nasal inflammation that temporarily amplifies any mild airflow problems related to the deviated septum. Once the cold resolves, and the nasal inflammation subsides, symptoms of a deviated septum often resolve, too.

Come in for an Appointment

After finding out more information about your symptoms, and whether you have had severe trauma to your nose and a previous nasal surgery, your doctor will examine your nose. A bright light and nasal speculum will be used to take a closer look inside each nostril.

If you are suffering from recurring nosebleeds or sinus infections, surgery may be the recommended treatment. This is called a septoplasty. It can be done with a local or a general anesthetic, and is usually done on an outpatient basis. You should incur no outward signs of swelling or bruising.

To schedule a consultation for deviated septum surgery, please call one of our Atlanta offices at 770-740-1860 if you are in the area, from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta.

Snoring Treatment in the Atlanta Area

Snoring is a common problem, with estimates that 45 percent of adults snore occasionally and 25 percent of adults snore habitually. If you are keeping yourself–or your partner–awake with your snoring, you should know there is treatment for snoring.

More than 300 devices are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as cures for snoring. Some are variations on the old idea of sewing a sock that holds a tennis ball on the pajama back to force the snorer to sleep on his side. More modern devices reposition the lower jaw forward; some open nasal air passages; a few others have been designed to condition a person not to snore by producing unpleasant stimuli when snoring occurs.

But regardless of the device you might try, you really have no control over your snoring at all.

Is Snoring a Serious Problem?

Snoring can indeed be a serious problem. It disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of appropriate rest. When snoring is severe, it can cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.

Is There a Cure?

Heavy snorers, those who snore in any position or are disruptive to the family, should seek medical advice to ensure that sleep apnea is not a problem. An otolaryngologist in Atlanta will provide a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate, and neck. A sleep study in a laboratory environment may be necessary to determine how serious the snoring is and what effects it has on the snorer’s health and help you stop snoring.

Remember, snoring means obstructed breathing, and obstruction can be serious.  To get started on diagnosing your snoring issues and treating them, please give us a call at any of our Atlanta offices in the area, including Lawrenceville and Alpharetta.

What is a Nasal Endoscopy?

What is that thing they put up my nose?

nasal endoscopy

“That thing” is called a nasal endoscope, the procedure titled “nasal endoscopy”. Just think of it as our eyes to see what’s going on past the most anterior part of your nose. When you come in, we always start with a basic exam of your ears, nose, and throat.  When we need more information, we use the endoscope.  The endoscope has a camera lens with a fiberoptic light attached that slides into your nose and sometimes, all the way down to your vocal cords (otherwise known as a laryngoscopy). On occasion, we’ll try to empirically treat you without our “eyes”. That can work but is essentially what you’re doing when you go to your Primary Care Provider. We want to expedite your healing and diagnose you as quickly and accurately as possible. Our endoscope is a tool in our toolbox to do that, and a nasal endoscopy is needed to make you healthy!

So if for example, the reason for your visit is sinus pressure or drainage, we need to have eyes into your nasal passage to evaluate causes of your symptoms: Is it infectious? Is it inflammatory? Could it be related to allergies? Is there anatomic obstruction, masses, polyps? Sometimes, you will come in with ear fullness and we’ll use the endoscope to visualize the back of the nose/top of your throat (nasopharynx) where the Eustachian tube orifice lies.  Many times this opening is blocked from drainage, obstruction, infection and causes your ears to pop, feel full, or even give way to ear infections. By using the endoscope, we can see directly to that site which helps us to narrow down the possibilities and remove the guesswork.

You may notice a “surgical procedure” documented on your bill- that is your insurance company documenting our tools as a procedure.  

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