Ear, nose, and throat problems can affect anyone at any age.
Many of the issues that can affect these three areas often respond well to self-care methods, temporary use of antibiotics, the avoidance of certain irritants, and efforts to minimize strain on frequently used tissues like vocal cords.
However, when there are some doubts about what may be causing your discomfort or initial treatment efforts aren’t relieving symptoms, you’ll likely be referred to the best ENT doctor in California. Here are five common reasons why ENT doctors typically see patients.
Hoarseness Lasting Longer Than 1-2 Months
Nearly everyone gets horse every now and then. However, hoarseness that lasts longer than a month or two might suggest a more serious medical problem that should be evaluated by the best ENT doctor in California. An ear, nose, and throat specialist can also look for benign vocal cord lesions, signs of a serious infection, and throat irritations that may be related to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Recurring Ear Infections
Not all ear infections respond well to antibiotics. If this is the case, the best ENT doctor in California usually uses special instruments or results from image tests to look for blockages or fluid build-up in the middle or inner ear. A hearing test may also be performed if some degree of hearing loss is experienced with an ear infection.
Repeated Instances of Tonsillitis
A common reason for a visit to the best ENT doctor in California is repeated sore throats because of irritated tonsils. If your recurring throat irritations are coupled with swallowing difficulties, difficulty breathing, a high temperature, and neck or throat pain, an ENT specialist can make a diagnosis and recommend an appropriate treatment. Oftentimes, the suggested treatment is the removal of inflamed tonsils, especially if medication and other non-surgical options aren’t helping.
Some Degree of Hearing Loss
It’s not unusual for hearing loss to occur naturally with age. But when hearing loss suddenly develops, as may be the case with exposure to loud noises, it’s time to see what an ENT doctor has to say. An ear, nose, and throat specialist can also detect hearing problems related to infections, inner ear deformities, and various neurological conditions. The early detection of hearing issues often increases the odds of responding well to treatment.
Sudden Appearance of a Neck/Throat Lumps
A lump that suddenly appears in the neck or throat should be evaluated by an ENT doctor as soon as possible. While it’s entirely possible that a lump could be a benign (non-cancerous) growth, abnormal tissues can also be cancerous. If they are, abnormal cells may spread to lymph nodes and other structures in the neck and throat area. An ENT doctor can also diagnose and treat tumors in the ears, nasal passages, and sinus cavities.
Because of the assortment of resources available to the best ENT doctor in California, it’s often possible to perform detailed or specialized testing to make an accurate diagnosis of an ear, nose, or throat problem. For some patients, receiving a more comprehensive assessment may improve the response to previously attempted treatments. Other times, an ENT doctor might suggest newer solutions like balloon sinuplasty, an endoscopic procedure that may benefit chronic sinusitis sufferers.