ENT specialists see patients with all kinds of ear, nose and throat problems. Here are some of the most common conditions that we see and the types of treatments that we may offer if you are affected.
Common ear conditions can cause symptoms such as earache and problems with your balance and hearing. Some conditions, such as ear infections, are more common in children, but others like hearing loss tend to affect us more as we grow older.
Ear infections: caused by viruses or bacteria that often enter the ear after affecting other areas such as the throat. Can cause earache and redness. Painkillers can relieve the symptoms and your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the infection is bacterial.
Wax or discharge: often a sign of infection, a build-up of wax or fluids can be uncomfortable and may affect hearing. Treatments might need to tackle an infection or drain the fluid.
Tinnitus: ringing or buzzing in the ear is usually temporary, but if it persists then you might need help managing this irritating symptom. Options such as hearing aids can often help.
Hearing loss: particularly common as we get older, wearing hearing aids can make a big difference for many people.
Nose conditions often cause symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, sneezing and inflammation. Some of the most common conditions affecting the nose are:
Infections such as coughs and colds: often cause a runny or blocked nose as well as other symptoms. You can usually treat mild infections at home with painkillers and plenty of fluids but see a doctor if your symptoms are bad or you often experience infections.
Nose bleeds: some people experience nose bleeds more often than others and they can be caused by everything from a bump to the nose to dry air. See a doctor if the bleeding is severe or frequent as you may need a treatment to seal the bleeding area.
Sinusitis and rhinitis: inflammation of the sinuses or nose that can be caused by infections or allergies. For some people, these can be chronic conditions. An ENT specialist may prescribe medication to prevent or alleviate the symptoms.
Some of the most common problems affecting the throat are:
Sore throat: pain and difficulty swallowing are common signs of colds, flu and throat infections. Painkillers and plenty of fluids should help, but your doctor may recommend antibiotics for a bacterial infection.
Hoarseness: difficulty speaking is often the result of an infection, but it can also be caused by straining your voice. Rest and speech therapy may then be required.
Tonsillitis: an infection of the tonsils that can usually be treated like any other throat infection. In some cases, your doctor may recommend removing your tonsils to prevent frequent infections.
Bad breath: often a sign of infection, it may require treatment by a dentist if the gums or teeth are affected.