By Alexandra Matkevich, Registered Nurse
There is a saying: common things occur commonly. That is to say that the majority of people are going to experience similar problems, even when it comes to ear, nose and throat complaints. This blog will look at common shared symptoms of ear, nose and throat complaints, as well as common ENT conditions.
The Dangers of Self Diagnosis
The internet can be a very good resource when it comes to health information but patients should be careful as it can increase anxiety as they try to piece together symptoms to form a self-diagnosis. By the time some patients get to the doctor they are worried they have cancer or another life threatening illness.
Symptoms that can occur across common ear nose and throat problems may include:
- Ear pain
- Changes to hearing
- Sinus congestion
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Difficulty sleeping
- General malaise
Common ear problems
Ear infections are bacterial or viral infection of the ear canal. They are treated with both medical and surgical interventions.
Common types of ear infections are:
- Otitis externa: infection of the outer ear canal
Otitis media: middle ear infection. This can be acute otitis media or chronic otitis media
Changes to hearing are known as auditory dysfunction. There are many causes of auditory dysfunction, but some of the most common are tinnitus and conductive hearing loss caused by infection, Eustachian tube dysfunction, wax build up and swimmers ear. When two or more of these factors combine, it is considered mixed hearing loss.
Common nose problems
Many people suffer with alterations to the function of their nose. Patients experience changes to their ease of breathing and complain of stuffiness and congestion. Medical and surgical treatment options are available for the treatment of nose and sinus problems.
Common conditions include:
- Septal deviation
- Sinus infection also known as sinusitis, both acute and chronic
- Nasal trauma
Common throat problems
Throat infections are one of the most common throat complaints seen by both General Practitioners and ENT specialists. They can be treated with medical and surgical treatments such as antibiotics, good oral hygiene practices and surgical intervention.
Types of throat infections include:
- Tonsillitis, both acute and chronic
Though most people think that snoring is harmless because it is believed to be common, but some people might have obstructive sleep apnoea. It can affect the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of not only the patient, but also their partner. People who are not in a relationship may be unaware that they snore or stop breathing in their sleep.
What to do if you think you have an ear, nose or throat problem
It takes a health professional to properly assess and diagnose an ear, nose or throat condition. If you are suffering from any ear, nose or throat discomfort that is concerning you, speak with your GP who can assess you. Your GP can decide if you need to speak to an otolaryngologist – a specialist of the ear, nose and throat – for further investigation and treatment. The specialist can provide you with either a medical or a surgical management strategy if you require it.
If you have questions regarding ear nose and throat problems, contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see an ear nose and throat specialist. Contact us today.