You’re stuffy, and you have been for a while. So when is the right time to see your primary care provider, and when should you see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist? To help, here are seven common reasons people see an ENT.
1. Repeated episodes of tonsillitis
Tonsillitis affects both children and adults. If you find yourself repeatedly getting bad sore throats or tonsillitis, it could mean it’s time to get your tonsils out and enjoy some ice cream. However, if you are experiencing difficulty breathing, swallowing saliva, have severe pain and a high temperature, it’s a good idea to see an ENT for a diagnosis and to learn treatment options.
2. Chronic sinusitis
Sinusitis is a common condition in which the cavities around nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed and swollen for at least 12 weeks, despite treatment attempts. If you appear to suffer from chronic sinusitis, your primary care doctor is likely to refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT doctor). Your ENT doctor will determine the best sinusitis treatment plan for you.
3. Recurrent ear infections
They’re among the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear (just behind the eardrum). In adults, constant ear pain or ear infections can be a sign of a tumor growth in the throat.
An allergic reaction can happen anywhere in the body. This includes the skin, eyes, lining of the stomach, nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. These are the places where immune system cells are found to fight off germs that are in breathed in, swallowed, or come in contact with the skin.
LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat offers the most comprehensive Allergy Assessment Program in the region. Visit us and we’ll help you address your allergies before they become a problem for you.
5. Hearing loss
This may be a normal sign of aging, or it may accompany recurrent ear infections. But when hearing loss comes on suddenly, it may be due to a more serious illness. An ENT can help detect causes for sudden hearing loss, which may include infections, circulatory inner ear problems like Ménière’s disease, and other neurological problems. Our board certified audiologists, can perform hearing tests to help find a cause.
6. Hoarseness that lasts longer than six weeks
We’ve all experienced hoarseness with the common cold or bronchitis. Yet if it lasts six weeks or longer, it may signify another medical problem such as benign vocal cord lesions, or possibly cancer of the larynx. An ENT can examine your vocal cords easily and painlessly, and determine if more tests are needed.
7. Lump in the neck (especially in adults)
A lump in the neck that lasts more than two weeks should be seen by an ENT. Cancers that begin in the head or neck can spread to the lymph nodes in the neck before they move elsewhere. A lump can be the first sign of mouth, throat, thyroid or certain types of blood cancers.
LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat uses a multidisciplinary clinic approach to treat head and neck cancer, working in conjunction with Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute, member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance.
Learn more about our comprehensive ear, nose and throat program today. Download our free information guide at LVHN.org/ENTGuide.