Our practice will work with you to diagnose your ear, nose and throat problems using state-of-the-art equipment and the most advanced technology. Our patient-centered approach allows us to focus on your medical and surgical needs, while also providing exceptional follow-up care.
Ear infections occur in a variety of ways, and can happen internally, in the middle ear or the outer ear. Because of the wide range of bacteria and viruses that can afflict different segments of the ear, it is important to pay special attention to the severity of your symptoms to help our Ear Nose & Throat specialists determine the correct course of treatment.
Types of Ear Infections
- Internal ear infection (otitis interna) – This usually occurs when the inner ear is inflamed due to a virus, but may also be caused by middle ear bacteria spreading to the inner ear. Symptoms include sudden onset of severe vertigo, nausea and vomiting and are sometimes so severe that emergency room care and medication are required to control the vertigo.
- Middle ear infection (otitis media) – Middle ear infections are very common in childhood but can occur at any age, and are usually accompanied by an upper respiratory tract infection with coughing and nasal discharge. These infections are most commonly caused by a blockage of the Eustachian tube, which creates swelling in the mucous membranes. Antibiotic treatment is the best course of action in these cases.
- Outer ear infection (otitis externa) – When the outer ear and ear canal are inflamed, this “earache” is commonly referred to as “swimmer’s ear.” The skin in the ear canal becomes inflamed, swells and is tender to the touch. Outer ear infections can be caused by polluted water entering the ear canal, particularly when the skin has slight tears that allow for bacteria and fungus to grow. This is the only type of ear infection that is visible with the naked eye.
Treatment of Earaches and Ear Infections
Our Ear Nose & Throat specialists will assess the health of the ear with an otoscope, looking specifically for fluid behind the eardrum and redness of the ear. Tone testing, such as an audiogram, or air-pressure tests like tympanograms, may also be performed to better understand the effects of the infection.
Antibiotics, antihistamines, decongestants or eardrops may be prescribed, and in some instances, ear-tube surgery may be recommended.
Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us for yourself or a loved one. The sooner a thorough examination can take place, the sooner we can help relieve the pain and discomfort of the infection.
Ear Infections in Children
The shape and size of a child’s developing ear canal make it difficult for fluid to drain—but easy for bacteria to dig in. That’s why ear infections are one of the most common reasons for childhood doctor visits. If you suspect that your child might have an ear infection, be on the lookout for symptoms like:
- Pulling or tugging on ears
- Low appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
Contact us today to make an appointment for you or your child.
Though many are hesitant to discuss the subject, earwax is a normal part of life. In fact, it’s essential to our overall well-being. Earwax, known in the medical world as cerumen, promotes ear health by protecting the body from infection.
Should You Use Cotton Swabs to Clean Your Ears?
In a word: no. Your ear canals largely clean themselves, in part through chewing, yawning and other motions of the jaw. In other words, cleaning your ears with cotton swabs or other objects can do more harm than good, as they can cause ear canal blockage or dry, itchy and infection prone ears. Other “ear cleaning” methods, like ear candles, are not recommended, as they can cause burns, ear perforations between the ear canal and middle ear and other ear injuries.
If you are concerned about an excessive accumulation of earwax, ear canal blockage or related ailments, don’t hesitate to contact our practice. We can, where necessary, prescribe eardrops or professionally clean your ears using a variety of different methods, depending on the severity of the impaction.
Swimmer’s Ear is a common condition that can affect those who swim often or anyone with open exposure to high levels of water, sand, dust or dirt. This condition, called otitis externa, is a fungal or bacterial infection of the outer ear canal commonly referred to as an earache.
“Swimmer’s ear” doesn’t just affect swimmers. Improper use of cotton swabs, insertion of foreign bodies (like peas) into the ear, and damage to the outer ear can all cause a case of otitis externa.
Why is it Called Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear gets its name from one of its most common causes: swimming. When bacteria from polluted water enters the ear, it can settle in and cause infection. Even swimming pool water can carry bacteria.
Swimmer’s Ear Symptoms
The most obvious sign of an outer ear infection is pain, but there are other signs as well:
- Drainage from the ear
- Hearing loss
- Itchy ear or ear canal
- Peeling or shedding skin inside ear
Because swimmer’s ear is bacterial in nature, you’ll need to see a doctor to receive proper treatment.
Cleaning the Ear
Cotton swabs are often misused to clean the ear. It’s important to remember that nothing should ever enter the ear canal. Usage of cotton swabs merely impacts ear wax, or cerumen, which may cause pain, pressure, ringing, dizziness and even difficulty hearing. More importantly, inserting a swab too far can damage, or even puncture, the ear drum. The ear is self-cleaning and ear wax is produced to catch dirt and serve as a protective layer and lubricant. Over time, the ear wax sloughs away on its own.
In the end, the body is built to naturally take care of itself. Cotton swabs have many uses, but cleaning your ears is not one of them.
If you feel you have excess or impacted ear wax, please contact us and schedule an appointment with a medical professional.
What are Ear Tubes?
Ear infections. They can be frequent, and for many, they can be painful. This, for those who are parents already know too well, can be especially true for children.
Though viral ear infections tend to go away on their own and bacterial ear infections can be treated by way of antibiotics, chronic ear infections often lead to more severe complications. Speech complications, hearing loss and even behavioral issues can be caused by persistent ear infections.
How Ear Tubes Can Help
ENTs specialize in these cases, and our recommendation is often ear tubes. Ear tubes are very small tubes that allow air to pass through the eardrum and into the middle ear to reduce the risk of infection.
There are two basic kinds of ear tubes:
- Short term tubes — tubes intended for six months to a year. These tubes are designed to fall out of the ears without professional intervention.
- Long term tubes — as their names describes, these are intended to stay in place for a longer period of time. Their specialized design keeps them in place. They may fall out on their own, but in some cases removal by an ENT is required.
Candidates for Ear Tubes
Though children most commonly need them, adults can benefit from ear tubes as well. You or a loved one may need ear tubes if you experience the following:
- Reoccurring middle ear infections
- Fluid in your middle ear
- Balance problems
- Hearing loss
- Speech difficulties
- Sleep problems caused by ear infections
If you think that your or someone you love could benefit from ear tube surgery, please call our practice today to schedule an evaluation.
Our ears consist of three primary components: the outer, middle and inner ear. Our middle ear is a chamber—called the tympanic cavity—that contains the eardrum and three bones, called the ossicles, the malleus, incus and stapes (or, as the bones of the middle ear are more commonly known, the hammer, anvil and stirrup).
If any one of these components becomes damaged, complications such as hearing loss or infections like Otitis media can occur. In more extreme cases, surgery is required for optimum ear and hearing health.
What is Middle Ear Surgery For?
Depending on the specific complication, our Ear Nose & Throat specialists recommend numerous types of middle ear surgeries, including:
- Stapedectomy — the replacement of a middle ear bone with a prosthesis
- Tympanoplasty — the reconstruction of the eardrum
- Myringotomy — the drainage of ear fluid to reduce infection
- Removal of ear tumors
- Perforated eardrum repair
The earlier we can diagnose your middle ear complication, the earlier we can create and recommend effective treatment methods to get you back to a more normal way of life. Please call our practice today for your appointment — we’re always happy to serve you.
Ears come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes they can droop or stick out, making the individual who possesses them self-conscious about their appearance.
Other times, accidents can occur, such as a baby tugging at a mother’s earring or a sporting accident, which can cause torn earlobes or other similar damage.
What is Otoplasty?
Ear plastic surgery—or otoplasty—is a surgery we specialize in that, while it does not help you hear better, can boost your self-confidence and make you feel better about your appearance.
This corrective ear surgery is typically considered for ears that protrude nearly an inch from the back of the head. Once your ears have reached full size—at around six years of age—the surgery can be performed.
Though the surgery can be conducted at any age, we do find that performing the surgery at a younger age has its benefits: not only is the cartilage easier to reshape, but the patient feels the emotional and psychological rewards that much earlier.
The first step in knowing whether ear plastic surgery is the best option for you or a loved one is having a thorough examination from one of our ENT specialists. Our head and neck surgeons will give you a thorough evaluation and an expert recommendation of treatment options.
What is Cholesteatoma?
Cholesteatomas are abnormal ear growths caused by infections or lacerations that occur in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Cholesteotomas, often beginning as cysts, can cause hearing loss due to growth that damages the bones of the middle ear. When the bones of the middle ear are damaged or destroyed, the infection can spread to the inner ear and brain, creating the potential for permanent hearing loss, meningitis, brain abscess and, in rare instances, death.
Luckily, cholesteatomas and the hearing loss they cause are largely treatable through surgery. The only way to be certain about whether or not you or a loved one has a cholesteatoma is to have a medical examination.
- Fluid draining from the ear (coupled with a strong odor)
- Ear pressure
- Earaches in or behind the ear
- Muscle weakness (on the infected side of the face)
Treatment of Cholesteatoma
First, your otolaryngologist must conduct an examination to confirm your cholesteatoma. Ear cleaning and medical therapy to stop drainage and fight the infection are initial steps taken before surgery is deemed necessary.
If a cholesteatoma is deemed too large or too complicated to be treated with the above techniques, surgical treatment is often advised to keep you or your loved one safe from more serious complications.
Additional hearing tests, CT scans and balance tests are conducted so that you and your ear doctor fully understand the extent of your ear growth and the damage it has caused before recommending surgery.
Surgery for Cholesteatoma
Surgery for cholesteatomas are usually conducted for three important reasons:
- Remove the ear growth
- Eliminate infection
- Create a dry ear
If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing complications from an ear growth, contact our practice today for a cholesteatoma examination.
When hearing loss is rapid and occurs in both ears, it is characterized as inner ear disease, which is an inflammatory condition of the inner ear. Hearing loss typically occurs suddenly in one ear and progresses rapidly to the second ear, and can happen over a period of weeks or months. Many of the symptoms are similar to a middle ear infection, including fullness in the ear and tinnitus and perhaps some vertigo. When hearing loss occurs in the second ear and a diagnosis is made, treatment usually begins.
Though not certain, inner ear disease is suspected to be an autoimmune disease, occurring when the inner ear cells are mistaken for a virus or bacteria, resulting in an attack by the body’s immune system. If treated quickly, inner ear disease can be stopped and hearing can be restored to at least some degree.
If you experience sudden hearing loss, please make an appointment with our office right away. Our experienced Ear Nose & Throat specialists are able to identify diseases quickly and create a proper treatment plan tailored to your hearing loss.
Many types of hearing loss are permanent, unfortunately, but can be treated and managed through proper diagnosis. Meniere’s Disease is one of these permanent disorders, and is an affliction of the inner ear that can affect both hearing and balance. Meniere’s affects people differently, with episodes of vertigo, low-pitched tinnitus and fluctuating hearing loss as the most common symptoms.
Usually, Meniere’s starts out having a confined effect in one ear, but typically expands to both ears over time, and many will permanently lose their hearing.
The hearing loss portion of Meniere’s can be particularly puzzling, as hearing loss tends to fluctuate and become progressively worse, and can affect only one ear or both. Tinnitus may also be present in one or both ears, and there may be a sense of pressure or fullness in one or both ears due to excess fluid in the ear. While Meniere’s can be difficult to diagnose, when no other cause for that specific group of symptoms has been determined, patients are diagnosed with this disease.
With medical help, symptoms can be managed and recovery is likely.
If you have experienced hearing loss (sudden or gradual), dizziness or tinnitus, please contact us soon to book an appointment. Your life does not have to face total disruption, and proper diagnosis of your symptoms by an experienced Ear Nose & Throat specialist can help us chart a proper course of treatment for you and your unique symptoms.
When hearing loss is inherited, it may be due to otosclerosis, a condition of abnormal bone growth around the tiny bones in the middle of the ear. Where the stapes bone typically moves freely inside the ear to relay vibrations, this growth fixates the stapes, preventing sound signals from being sent to the brain. Unlike most forms of hearing loss, correctable procedures typically have a very high success rate, resulting in improved hearing without the need for a hearing aid.
Many people won’t know they have otosclerosis until their late teens or early 20s. Because the hearing loss is gradual rather than sudden, many won’t know they have a problem until after several years. A child with one parent who suffers from otosclerosis faces a 25 percent chance of developing the disorder; if both parents are afflicted, the chances double. As a whole, about 60 percent of otosclerosis cases have some genetic predisposition.
There are two primary treatments of otosclerosis: hearing aids or a stapedectomy. If hearing loss is mild, an Ear Nose & Throat specialist may recommend continued observation and hearing aids to amplify sound. A stapedectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the immobilized bone and replaces it with a prosthetic that will vibrate the sound signal into the ear. This surgery has been performed since 1956, and has approximately a 90 percent success rate. In rare cases, hearing gets worse.
Otosclerosis can be a difficult abnormality to identify, so if you’re experiencing hearing that is worsening over time, please make an appointment with our office so tests can be performed and we can help determine the origin of your hearing loss and best treatment for you.
Sometimes confused with dizziness, vertigo is a fairly distinct rotational feeling of motion sickness that occurs when movement is minimal. A person may feel a sense of movement or spinning even if they’re sitting still. Visual disturbances are common, and the feeling is often associated with nausea.
BPPV is caused by collections of calcium crystals in the inner ear that are dislodged from their usual position and migrate to other parts of the inner ear. This movement causes displacement of fluid in the ear, which results in the sensation of vertigo. BPPV can be made worse by changes in weather, lack of sleep and stress.
Treatment for BPPV consists of returning the crystals in the inner ear to their usual position, which is done by performing one of two physical maneuvers in the office of a professional Ear Nose & Throat specialist.
If you’ve been experiencing dizziness and a feeling of rotation and nausea, please contact us to make an appointment, and let us help you find a solution to your vertigo.
Nose & Mouth
The most common causes of sinus inflammation (sinusitis) are irritants, allergens and the common cold. Any one of these can attack our sinus membranes, causing them to swell and trap mucus in the sinus cavity. The resulting headache, pressure and aching are telltale signs of a sinus infection.
Is it a Sinus Infection?
How do you know it’s a sinus infection and not just a runny nose? Sinusitis sufferers generally experience several of the following symptoms at once:
- Pain or tenderness in face
- Aching in upper teeth
- Difficulty breathing through nose
- Green or yellow nasal discharge
- Persistent cough
At-Home Sinusitis Treatments
Most sinus infections are viral in nature and simply need to run their course. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer through your sinusitis unaided. Be sure to drink water to keep your throat and sinuses lubricated.
Antibiotic Sinusitis Treatments
If several days have passed and you’re still not improving, you may have a bacterial sinus infection. Call (317) 745-3758 to make an appointment with one of our ear, nose and throat doctors. They’ll run you through a thorough exam and, if necessary, prescribe an antibiotic to treat your sinus infection.
If you have a history of frequent sinus infections, you may be a candidate for sinusitis surgery. Hendricks ENT offers several types of sinus surgery.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
This sinus surgery standard threads an endoscope (tiny camera) into the sinuses to observe and remove impediments to airflow. Nasal polyps and other blockages are often removed using this procedure.
This procedure surgically removes the adenoid—a tonsil-like tissue situated in the back of your nasal passage—to improve chronic sinusitis, earaches and impaired breathing. Patients can expect to undergo general anesthesia before this sinusitis surgery, but recovery is quick.
While most cases of sinusitis will resolve with rest and at-home treatment, you should make an appointment with one of our ear, nose and throat doctors if you’ve been sick for three or more days, have a fever with your symptoms or have a history of frequent sinus infections.
A bloody nose is usually synonymous with nasal dryness. Going from a moist climate to a dry one, taking a cross-country flight or living at a high altitude can cause our sinuses to dry out and bleed. Sometimes even a seasonal change can bring on bleeding; winter weather is notorious for chapping both lips and noses.
What Causes Nosebleeds?
The insides of our noses are lined with hundreds of tiny blood vessels. When those vessels are broken or damaged, they bleed. Luckily, most of us will only experience a nosebleed when something unusual causes a change to the inside of our nose, such as:
- Excessive nose blowing
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Physical trauma
- Blood-thinning medications
- Frequent sneezing
How to Stop a Nosebleed
Before you start stuffing tissue up your nose (it will only do more damage!), try this:
- Sit down.
- Lean forward. You want the blood to run out of your nose—not down your throat.
- Pinch your nose along the soft part of your bridge, just below where the bony part ends.
- Hold it for 10 minutes.
Avoid blowing your nose for a while after the nosebleed has stopped. A little Vaseline® or petroleum jelly on a cotton ball can help the inside of the nose heal as well, but give it at least 30 minutes before applying.
If your nosebleed hasn’t stopped within 20 minutes, please give us a call at (317) 745-3758.
Some people’s blood vessels are very close to the surface of the nose. This means that it’s much easier for them to get a nosebleed. While most cases can be controlled with proper hydration and care, severe chronic nosebleeds may require surgical intervention.
This procedure uses a small laser to burn or “seal” blood vessels in the nose, making it much less likely that they’ll bleed again.
This procedure straightens the septum in your nose, taking pressure off overworked nasal passages.
Contact us today to make an appointment.
A broken nose isn’t the end of the world, but it is cause for a visit to the doctor. Even bumped or bruised noses can merit an appointment, depending on how they affect your health.
Not sure whether or not to see an ear, nose and throat doctor? Give us a call if you have:
- Difficulty breathing
- Broken skin on the surface of the nose
- A nosebleed that lasts more than 20 minutes
- A collapsed bridge
- Swelling around eyes
Will I Need Surgery?
Most broken noses can be fixed via closed reduction, a nonsurgical procedure done in the ambulatory surgery center. During a closed reduction, your physician will administer a local anesthetic, then manually realign the bones in your nose.
In more severe cases (or if you wait more than 14 days to see a doctor), nasal surgery may be necessary to correct a break.
Contact us today to make an appointment.
A stuffy nose can be triggered by all kinds of things: a sinus infection, allergies, the flu or even just the common cold.
Treating a Stuffy Nose at Home
Most congested or stuffy noses will clear up within a week. You can help the process along by staying hydrated and taking an over-the-counter decongestant. If your stuffy nose is the result of allergies, your doctor may recommend an allergy panel or immunotherapy.
If you’re producing a lot of mucus, you may also benefit from a hot shower or bath. The steam from the water works to soothe irritated sinuses and open up air passages.
When to See a Doctor
A stuffy nose isn’t usually cause for alarm, but sometimes it can indicate an underlying illness. If you have a fever or nasal discharge that doesn’t improve within three days, call us today. You may have a sinus infection that requires antibiotic treatment.
Contact us today to make an appointment.
It’s not uncommon to lose your sense of smell when you get a head cold. Swollen nasal passages can block the flow of both air and scent, and chronic swelling—as in the case of chronic meningitis or sinusitis—can mean going long periods with a reduced sense of smell.
Anosmia is the scientific name for a lost sense of smell. In cases where anosmia is caused by a swollen or inflamed nasal passage (the majority of cases), the solution is as simple as reducing the swelling. This can be achieved by treating the underlying cause of the swelling, whether it’s a sinus infection, stuffy nose or allergies.
In rare cases, chronic anosmia can be caused by damage to the brain’s temporal lobe. If you lost your sense of smell following a head injury or traumatic accident, you may need a full head and neck examination.
What if I Don’t Treat My Anosmia?
The sense of smell is more than a luxury. While it allows us to fully taste and enjoy food, it’s also an important survival tool, allowing us to sniff out gas leaks, fires and other potential hazards. Anosmia has also been linked to diminished appetite, weight loss and depression.
Another important reason to address anosmia is that it’s often a symptom of an underlying condition. A loss of smell that persists for more than a few weeks may indicate a chronic infection, a structural problem or even a nasal tumor.
If you’re concerned about your sense of smell, please contact us today.
Issues with the nose, whether temporary (stuffy nose) or chronic (deviated septum), can have a serious affect on our ability to breathe. That’s why we’ve spent more than 35 years diagnosing and treating breathing problems in Danville, IN.
Common Causes of Breathing Problems
The shape of your nasal passages can have a huge impact on your ability to breathe. If you’ve had a broken nose in the past, suffer from a deviated septum or have unusually narrow nasal passages, you may benefit from an evaluation and correction to the structure of your nose.
Nasal congestion resulting from a sinus infection, allergy or nasal injury can also contribute to labored breathing. While most inflammation can be resolved with rest and over-the-counter decongestants, we recommend making an appointment if you’re also experiencing sinus drainage, pain or fever.
Blockages in the nose can obstruct airflow, as well. Nasal polyps are a common cause of blockage, although swollen adenoids and nasal tumors can also impede breathing. If you have a feeling of fullness or blockage that continues for more than two weeks, please call us today.
Contact us today to make an appointment.
Do you have a new or persistent sore in your mouth? Take a look at these common causes (and treatments) for oral sores.
These sores appear inside the mouth and on the inner parts of the lip. They’re characterized by a raw, red border surrounding a pale or white inner circle, and are usually tender to the touch. While there’s no cure, most canker sores heal on their own within a few days of appearing.
Another common source of mouth sores is the herpes simplex virus, which produces small fluid-filled blisters around the outside of the mouth. These sores usually appear in groups and will crust over after bursting. There is no cure for cold sores (also called “fever blisters”), but your doctor may prescribe an antiviral to help speed up the healing process and prevent future outbreaks.
Candidiasis, or “thrush,” is a fungus that affects the inside of the mouth. It usually presents as a yellowish-white coating on the tongue and can interfere with your ability to taste. A mild case of thrush can be cured by eating unsweetened yogurt or by taking acidophilus. More advanced cases may require treatment with a topical or oral antifungal medication.
Oral Cancer and Dysplasia
Precancerous lesions can appear on the tongue, cheek or even the gums. They’re especially common in people who smoke or chew tobacco. If you notice a thick, painless white patch that doesn’t heal on its own, you should make an appointment with us as soon as possible.
Call us today to make an appointment.
If you’ve ever experienced a tension headache, the source of the pain may surprise you. About 20 to 30 percent of the adult population suffers from TMJ (also called TMD), or temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome, a potentially painful dysfunction of the muscles that surround and move the jaw. TMJ is most often found to be chronic and can cause tension headaches, jaw pain and a feeling that the teeth do not fit together properly. Sometimes, TMJ is severe enough to cause hearing loss, dizziness or tinnitus and can therefore be quite debilitating.
TMJ is most easily thought of as a number of symptoms, rather than a single condition, and treatment would therefore vary from person to person. Most physicians who treat TMJ agree that permanent dental alterations should be avoided, and treatment is therefore based on methods that do not make major changes. An ice pack or hot pack, medications to relieve inflammation, low-level laser therapy or use of a mouth guard while sleeping are all possible methods of treatment.
If you’re experiencing tension headaches on a regular basis or consistent jaw pain, please make an appointment with one of our Ear Nose & Throat specialists, and let us help you seek relief from the pain you’ve become accustomed to feeling.
Sore throats are a most irritating affliction, but they are usually treatable with the passage of time, antibiotics or specialized treatment.
The irritation that comes from swallowing when you have a sore throat is called pharyngitis, and is caused by an inflammation in your pharynx stemming from a viral or bacterial infection.
Sore Throat Symptoms and Causes
Sore throats have a number of underlying causes, such as:
- Viral (and occasionally bacterial) infections
- The common cold
- Acid reflux
- Chicken pox
- And more
Though the symptoms of a sore throat are perfectly described in its own name, there are other symptoms that can augment or be caused by a sore throat condition.
Here are a few symptoms that can commonly accompany a sore throat:
- Swollen glands
- Dry throat
- Swallowing difficulties
- And many more
Sore Throat Treatment Options
Since sore throats are caused by either viral or bacterial infections, there are different ways in which sore throats can be treated.
Sore throats that are caused by viral infections eventually clear up on their own—they simply take patience and special care on your behalf to not further irritate your throat.
Tips to alleviate the irritation of sore throats caused by viral infections:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Gargle warm salt water
- Use lozenges or sprays
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer to keep your environment moist
Sore throats caused by bacterial infections are altogether different in terms of treatment—they require antibiotics. Like with any antibiotic, completing the recommended course of your prescription is essential to your recovery.
There are times when your sore throat can be caused by another condition. That’s why it’s essential to schedule an appointment with a throat specialist to ensure you’re getting the appropriate care for your particular ailment. Our ear, nose and throat experts will personalize a wellness plan for your unique experience.
Laryngitis is defined as an inflammation of the voice box (larynx). Allergies, bacterial infections and viruses often cause laryngitis. Though laryngitis can go away on its own, chronic laryngitis may require professional attention and even surgery.
Frequent laryngitis, vocal fold paralysis (also known as vocal cord paralysis), presbylaryngeus (the “bowed” or “aging” voice), polyps, nodules, cysts and granulomas can cause a variety of symptoms that affect the voice, with hoarseness being the most common symptom of all voice problems.
Frequent sore throats (as a result of normal speaking), chronic coughs and repeated throat clearing are the most common symptoms of voice disorders. Our ear, nose and throat doctors treat these conditions using a number of different behavioral, pharmaceutical, surgical and medical management option, depending on the results of your diagnosis and evaluation.
If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of laryngitis, please call our practice today. Offering effective and comprehensive service is just one important aspect of our patient-centered approach to ear, nose and throat care.
Your voice is an often-overlooked part of your identity—it’s just a part of who you are, so when unexpected changes in your voice occur, it can be alarming.
One of the most common changes in the voice is called hoarseness. A hoarse voice is usually caused by a condition in the larynx. Though they usually do not last for long periods of time, any hoarseness of the voice that lasts for longer than two weeks could be indicative of a more serious condition.
Hoarseness can take on many different meanings when describing the changes in the voice, some of which include:
- Vocal strain
- Changes in pitch or volume
Causes of Hoarseness
Hoarseness can be caused by several conditions. Here is a list of the most common sources of hoarseness.
- Sinus infections
- Common colds
- Strained vocal cords
- Acid reflux
- And many more
If your hoarseness has lasted for longer than two weeks, or is accompanied by difficulty breathing or swallowing, you should seek medical attention.
Your doctor will give you a physical examination and look at your throat and mouth with a laryngoscope. He or she may order a throat culture, blood test, x-rays or a CT scan in order to make a proper diagnosis.
Treatment of Hoarseness
Though hoarseness is generally temporary and will typically go away on its own (if caused by a viral infection), treatment for hoarseness varies depending on its cause.
- At-home solutions for treating hoarseness
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rest your voice
- Use a vaporizer or humidifier
- Avoid smoking
- Eliminate alcohol and caffeinated drinks from your diet
- Remove spicy foods from your diet
Are you experiencing hoarseness? Has it lasted for two weeks or more? If so, you may have a more serious condition. It’s important to see an ear, nose and throat doctor to get a clearer understanding of the source of your hoarseness, so we can create a personalized treatment plan for you.
Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, occurs when it takes additional effort to move liquids and foods from your mouth to your stomach—an act that most of us tend to take for granted—or are experiencing pain when swallowing. In the most extreme of cases, you may not be able to swallow at all.
Causes of Swallowing Difficulties
Dysphagia can be caused by a number of ailments, including throat blockage, acid reflux, tumors, nervous system disorders and more.
Though it is not uncommon for swallowing difficulties to subside on their own, if you are someone who is experiencing chronic dysphagia, the most important thing you can do is to see a throat specialist.
Leaving your dysphagia untreated can cause additional health issues, such as dehydration and malnutrition. Additionally, you might be overlooking more extreme diagnoses, such as an unidentified throat tumor or neurological disorder.
Our team of throat specialists are experts in the causes, treatment and diagnosis of dysphagia, and can create a personalized treatment plan based on your specific experience of swallowing difficulties.
Symptoms of Swallowing Difficulties
- Inability to swallow
- Pain while swallowing
- Excessive clearing of the throat
- The feeling of food getting stuck in your throat or chest
- Chronic heartburn
Treatment of Swallowing Difficulties
Treatment of swallowing difficulties will vary depending on the type and cause of your condition. Though dysphagia is often temporary, there are a series of tests and better swallowing techniques that can be employed to help you lead a more normal and comfortable way of life.
Simple Tips to Reduce Swallowing Difficulties
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Take smaller bites of food while eating
- Chew slowly and carefully
The first and best step in reducing your swallowing difficulties is to seek professional help.
For over 35 years, we’ve helped the members of our community lead a better way of life by giving them the education, service and treatment they deserve. If you have swallowing concerns for yourself or a loved one, please call our practice today. We’d love to help you.
Acid reflux—or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—is caused when stomach acids leak into the esophagus. Heartburn, nausea, sore throats, hoarseness, swallowing difficulties and regurgitation can all be caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux is common and often treatable through a few simple changes in lifestyle.
Causes of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can be caused by a number of things, many of them lifestyle-based.
- Cigarette and alcohol consumption
- Poor eating habits (including fried, fatty, acidic and overly spicy foods)
- Caffeinated drinks
- Bad posture
- Certain medications
Treating Acid Reflux
Treating reflux can be as simple as making certain lifestyle changes, like avoiding foods and beverages that trigger reflux, quitting smoking, losing weight and improving your posture.
Call us today to make an appointment.
What are Tonsils?
Tonsils are masses located at the back of the throat. They act as part of the lymph system, filtering bacteria and viruses. Occasionally, tonsils themselves become infected resulting in a condition known as tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can be painful and sometimes require surgery. However, in most cases your immune system can fight off infection of the tonsils. Tonsillitis is most common from the preschool years to the mid-teenage years.
What are Adenoids?
Adenoids are similar to the tonsils. The adenoids are made up of lymph tissue and are located in the space above the soft roof of the mouth (nasopharynx) and cannot be seen by looking in the nose or throat. Adenoids also help to fight infections. Adenoids may cause problems if they become enlarged or infected. Adenoiditis is when the adenoids become inflamed from infection.
- Sore throat
- Swollen tonsils (with red or white spots)
- Swollen glands
Will I Need Surgery?
Patients that have recurrent or chronic infections of their tonsils and adenoids may require surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids.
This is a procedure that removes the palatine tonsils—the two masses of tissue located at the back of your throat. Tonsillectomy is performed under general anesthesia in our Ambulatory Surgery Center. Recovery takes about two weeks.
Adenoidectomy is a procedure that surgically removes the adenoid—a tonsil-like tissue situated in the back of your nasal passage—to improve chronic sinusitis, earaches and impaired breathing. Patients can expect to undergo general anesthesia before this surgery, but recovery is quick.
Problems from tonsils and adenoids are very common, especially in pediatric patients. Please call our practice today if you’re concerned about your child’s wellness. We’ll be happy to serve you, and help ensure that you have a happier, healthier family.
When the voice box muscles stop receiving nerve input from the vocal cords, a full or partial paralysis may have occurred. A total interruption of the nerve impulse is known as paralysis, and results in no movement of the vocal cords, while a paresis is a partial paralysis. Strangely, there seem to be no patterns for when vocal cord paresis can occur, and happens randomly at any age in any gender from a variety of causes.
The effect such a paralysis can have on life varies greatly, depending upon the career of the individual. A paralysis or paresis of the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN), which is responsible for adjusting the tension of the vocal cords, is what creates abnormalities in voice pitch. Sometimes, a paresis may be fine for normal speaking but cause trouble for other activities, like singing.
The potential cause of a vocal cord paralysis will, in part, determine whether the paralysis/paresis can self-correct over time or if it may be permanent. Even though some causes are known, about half of all cases of paresis are undetectable. In some cases, however, complications may occur from:
- An inadvertent injury during surgery
- A complication from assisted breathing during surgery
- A blunt neck or chest trauma
- Tumors of the skull base, neck or chest
The prevailing wisdom in the half of all cases that have no clear answer is that a viral infection of the voice box nerves may be to blame.
If you have experienced a voice change, shortness of breath, noisy breathing, problems swallowing food or drink, or a cough that is not effective at clearing the throat, please contact us today for a wellness consultation with one of our Ear Nose & Throat specialists.
A common idea is that heartburn is often caused by certain foods, and while this is true in some cases, consistent, painful heartburn as a daily occurrence could be indicative of a more serious issue. Gastroesophogeal reflux disease is a fairly common condition, with 10 to 20 percent of the population potentially affected by it. In most cases, heartburn can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes, but some may require medication or surgery.
In some cases, GERD can cause severe pain for as long as two hours, and is often worse after eating. Treatment usually consists of removal of foods, beverages and smoking from the life of the affected individual. Certain foods, drinks and habits can irritate or damage esophageal lining, such as:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Tomato-based sauces and drinks
- Spicy foods and peppers
- Chocolates and other fatty foods
Antacids are also useful in neutralizing acid in the esophagus and stomach, but treatment of this condition should be unique to you as an individual.
If you’re concerned about how painful or reoccurring your heartburn is, and you’ve tried cutting out consumption of products that might cause heartburn, consider calling us to make an appointment—we’ll do our best to care for your specific condition and find a solution to your ailment.
Also known as “silent reflux” because of how difficult it can be to diagnose, laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD) is similar to another acid reflux condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but differs symptomatically. In this case, the ring of muscles that line the esophagus and normally keep the contents of the stomach where they belong don’t work correctly, resulting in acid backed up into the throat. This can cause inflammation in areas that are not protected.
Silent reflux is common in infants, but it is unknown how many adults are afflicted by it. If you experience heartburn or a bitter taste/burning sensation in the back of the throat, try looking out for the following symptoms, which are also common:
- Excessive throat clearing
- Excessive coughing
- The sensation of a lump in the throat that doesn’t go away with swallowing
- Excess throat mucus
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Consistent sore throat
Long-term problems include potential scarring of the throat and voice box, and may further complicate conditions like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.
If you’ve been experiencing a combination of these symptoms, please see one of our Ear Nose & Throat specialists for a physical exam and testing, and let us help treat your unique condition.
Eliminate Wrinkles and Frown Lines With Dysport®
Are you living with crow’s feet, laugh lines, frown lines or wrinkles? You don’t have to. At The Hendricks ENT, we’re pleased to offer our patients a newer, safer alternative to Botox®, designed to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles without surgery.
Dysport, an FDA-approved prescription medication injected into the muscle, works by relaxing facial muscles on the forehead, thereby reducing and smoothing away frown lines and wrinkles.
It’s a safe, simple and nonsurgical way to:
- Noticeably reduce wrinkles
- Refresh your appearance
- Help you feel like your best self
If you’ve been considering anti-aging options or have been thinking about how you can look your best, contact us today to learn more about Dysport and how we can help.