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There are several types of disorders affecting the ear, nose, and throat and a wide range of associated symptoms. The following is a list of the most commonly occurring ENT conditions: Everyone will not have the same set of symptoms, nor will they be of the same severity. In some cases, a doctor or an ENT expert will be needed to establish the proper diagnosis and provide the necessary treatment. Like any other area of your body, your ears, nose, and throat can have a variety of issues. These concerns can be deleterious to your health, ranging from sleeping troubles to swallowing difficulties. Some problems are tough to diagnose on your own, which is why an ENT doctor should be visited. They can correctly identify your health ailment and guide you toward healing.
Otorrhea is ear discharge, i.e., any fluid that comes out of the ear. Often, ears discharge earwax, an oil produced by the body naturally. Earwax ensures that dust, bacteria, or any foreign body don't get into the ear. If there is any other discharge from the ear, it is a sign of injury or infection and requires a specialist’s attention. But some conditions, such as a ruptured eardrum, can cause blood or other fluids. Some causes causing drainage and ear discomfort are listed below.
Otitis media (middle ear infection) is a common cause of ear discharge. It occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the middle ear. Ear infections in the middle ear can cause fluid to build up behind the eardrum. There is a risk of perforation of the eardrum in cases of too much fluid, which can lead to ear discharge.
Trauma, which can occur while cleaning the ear with a cotton swab if you push it in too deep,. It can also cause discharge. Sudden increase in pressure, such as during flight or scuba diving. These may also cause your eardrum to tear or rupture. An uncommon cause is acoustic trauma, which is caused by extremely loud noises. It can also lead to an eardrum rupture.
Otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear, occurs when bacteria or fungus infect your ear canal. It generally occurs when you spend long periods of time in the water. Excess moisture inside your ear can break down the skin on the walls of your ear canal, which allows bacteria or fungus to enter and cause an infection. However, swimmers are not the only ones to get affected; it can occur whenever there is a break in the skin of the ear canal, for example, in the case of eczema.
An uncommon cause of ear discharge is malignant otitis externa, a complication of swimmer’s ear that even affects the cartilage and bones in the base of the skull.
Another uncommon cause is skull fracture and mastoiditis, i.e., infection of the mastoid bone.
Signs and symptoms of an ear infection include:
Ear infections are more frequently seen in infants and toddlers in comparison to adults. Some of the signs in infants and toddlers include:
Treatment of your ear discharge depends on its underlying cause. In some cases, medical treatment is not needed. In children, the 48-hour wait-and-see approach is accompanied by close follow-up (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics), which is one of the options for treating mild pain in children. Signs of an ear infection usually start to resolve in the first week or two, without any treatment. The majority of cases of ear trauma heal without treatment. If healing doesn't start naturally, a special paper patch is applied for its healing. It keeps the hole closed. For swimmer’s ear, antibiotic ear drops are given for a week, and in severe cases, oral antibiotics are also given.
Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal membrane. It is a reaction caused by nasal congestion, sneezing, a runny nose, and itching, followed by symptoms in the eyes, ears, or throat. Common causes of rhinitis
Eosinophilic rhinitis is a chronic subtype characterized by thick nasal discharge and elevated eosinophil levels in the nasal mucosa. It may have allergic or non-allergic components.
Some of the symptoms of rhinitis are listed below:
Treatment depends on the severity and type of rhinitis. Mild cases can be solved by staying away from allergens and triggers. But in severe cases, medications may ease it. Treatment includes saline nose spray, decongestant antihistamine nose spray, antihistamine, a corticosteroid allergy shot, and sublingual immunotherapy treatment.
Swelling, or inflammation, of the tissue lining of the sinuses is called sinusitis. Sinuses are normally filled with air. Any irritation can cause them to block and fill with fluid, which can cause pressure and pain in your face. Another name for sinusitis is rhinosinusitis.
Common symptoms of a sinus infection include:
There are various treatment options for sinusitis based on the severity and duration of symptoms.
Coughing is a typical reaction of the respiratory system to irritants. Coughing forcefully removes mucus, foreign bodies, and other irritants from the throat and clears your airway.
However, when a cough persists for too long, it may be a sign of an underlying problem or disease. Moreover, coughing itself becomes an issue. The forces exerted on your body by continuous coughing can lead to direct physical problems such as vocal cord damage, rupture of small blood vessels in your airway, fainting spells, hernias, or even broken ribs in severe cases. It can also hinder daily and social activities and even affect the quality of sleep. Chronic coughing can be described by its duration, as a cough lasts for more than 6–8 weeks.
Some of the common causes of chronic coughs are:
Hearing loss can be caused by several varying factors.It affects people, irrespective of their age. The three basic categories of hearing loss are listed below.
A hearing test is important to know exactly what kind of hearing loss you have and formulate a treatment plan according to the test results.
People aged 50 or more may experience gradual hearing loss over the years due to age-related changes in the ear or auditory nerve, also known as presbycusis. It may make it difficult for a person to bear loud sounds or to hear what others are saying.
In medical terms, apnea means to stop breathing. In this condition, there is a breathing stoppage for a short period of time.
Symptoms are listed below.
Many symptoms of sleep apnea, like snoring, gasping, coughing, or even stopping breathing briefly, are reported by relatives of individuals with sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs in 2% of middle-aged women and 4% of middle-aged men, particularly those who are obese. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause potentially serious health complications, including hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure.
A hearing test every year helps in evaluating overall health, and if you face any hearing issues in the future, an ENT specialist will review your previous reports to evaluate your condition. While visiting with a healthcare professional, a detailed discussion of symptoms will help with the diagnosis and treatment of ENT disorders.
What do the ear, nose and throat have in common?
Eustachian tube.A canal that links the middle ear with the back of the nose. The eustachian tube helps to equalize the pressure in the middle ear. Having the same pressure allows for the proper transfer of sound waves. The eustachian tube is lined with mucous, just like the inside of the nose and throat.
What are the symptoms of ear, nose and throat infection?
Ear infections can cause earache, wax or discharge, hearing loss and balance problems. Nose infections are likely to cause a runny or blocked nose and sneezing.Throat infections can cause a sore or scratchy throat and pain or difficulty swallowing.
What are common throat problems?
The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own.
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