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By Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery
May 15, 2017
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Your Head   Neck Surgery  

There are many ear, nose and throat problems that could benefit from surgery.

While surgery is often something that most people hope to avoid, there are some situations in which your otolaryngologist may advise you as to whether your next step in your treatment plan is actually to get surgery. While non-surgical treatment is almost always the answer, surgery can also finally provide those chronic and severe sufferers with the relief they’ve finally been hoping for.

When you are dealing with any ear, nose or throat problems it’s always best to turn to an otolaryngologist to treat your symptoms. Whether you are dealing with tonsil problems or sinus issues, they can help get these conditions under control. While many of these health problems won’t require surgery, they may be necessary if traditional methods aren’t providing you with relief. These conditions include:

  • Hearing or balance problems
  • Chronic or persistent ear infections
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Tonsillitis
  • Esophagus problems

By seeking care from a medical professional right away an otolaryngologist can easily determine the cause of your condition so that they can create a treatment plan that will finally provide you with the relief you’ve been looking for. In some cases, diagnostic imaging (e.g. X-rays, CT scan) may be necessary in order to make a definitive diagnosis.

In most instances, the treatment plan you receive in the beginning will provide you with a list of conservative, non-surgical options for tackling and managing your symptoms. While many people will find that these plans work perfectly for them, there are some whose conditions are so severe or long-term that the best option is surgery.

Fortunately, ear, nose and throat surgery has come a long way over the years and now otolaryngologists can offer:

  • Both regular and endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Surgery to correct breathing disorders
  • Surgery to treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Surgery to remove infected tonsils
  • Surgery to correct congenital deformities

Whether you have questions about head and neck surgery or you are dealing with serious long-term sinusitis issues, it’s important that you have an ENT specialist that you can go to whenever you have questions, concerns or treatment needs.

By Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery
May 04, 2017
Category: Hearing Problems
Tags: Hearing Aids  

If you have a hearing impairment, you may need a hearing aid. Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life, from your relationships to your work and emotional well-being. Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery, which is located in Dubuque, IA, offers state-of-the-art treatments for ear, nose and throat problems. Here are signs you might need a hearing aid.

1. You have trouble hearing on the phone. Landline and mobile phones are equipped with volume control settings. Check the volume settings on your phones, and if you find yourself raising the volume up louder, you may have a hearing impairment.

2. You strain to hear conversations. If a typical day of conversing with family, friends, and co-workers leaves you feeling exhausted, you may have a hearing impairment. Constantly straining to follow conversations is tiring. Doing so can make you feel worn out and exhausted after even a normal day.

3. You have trouble hearing in noisy places. People with a hearing impairment often have problems masking out background sounds and focusing on speech. This is a very common patient complaint heard by otolaryngologists, and if it happens to you often, then it's time to see a Dubuque, IA, otolaryngologist for a hearing evaluation.

4. You miss phone calls or the doorbell. Do you often have missed calls? Are you friends, family members, or neighbors saying they've been outside your door for a long time? This is common with hearing loss.

5. You have muffled hearing. If your hearing is muffled, then you should know that something's wrong. When you have a hearing impairment, everything will sound quiet and distorted, perhaps like your ears are being covered.

6. You turn the tv up loud. If you are having trouble hearing background noises and raising the volume of your radio or tv up, as a result, chances are that you have a hearing impairment. You may not even realize that the volume is way too loud until one of your friends or family members points it out to you.

Hearing aids are a treatment choice for hearing loss. Hearing aids are battery-powered electronic devices designed to improve your hearing. If you have hearing loss, it's important to get help right away. Call Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery at 563-588-0506 to schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation in Dubuque, IA. We will help you live the best life possible!

By Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery
May 02, 2017
Category: ENT Health

Could your headache and other chronic symptoms be connected to your workplace?

With the average Joes spending around 90,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime, it’s time we seriously considered how our work impacts our health. While we may not think about it often, the building we work in day after day could actually be making us sick. Find out more about sick building syndrome and what an otolaryngologist can do to treat your symptoms.

What are the symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS)?

Some of the signs that you may have SBS include:

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Shortness of breath
  • An overall achy feeling
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Skin rash or irritation

Some people with SBS experience all or most of these symptoms while others only report having one or two symptoms. The symptoms may come and go throughout the week. Someone who has SBS will often find that their symptoms get better or clear up while they are away from the building but manifest when they return to the building.

Who can develop SBS?

While anyone can be susceptible, those who work in modern office buildings with air conditioning and windows that can’t be opened are more likely to develop this condition. Even though SBS tends to be more common in those working in office buildings, it can still occur in other settings such as schools, museums or libraries.

What can put someone at risk for SBS?

While the direct cause of SBS is still unknown, there are many risk factors that could potentially lead to SBS:

  • Constant changes in temperature throughout the day
  • Chemical irritants
  • Environmental pollutants or allergens
  • An unclean working environment
  • Low humidity
  • Lack of ventilation
  • Stress
  • Poor lighting

If your office could be making you sick it’s a good time to talk to both an ENT specialist and your employer about ways to improve your work conditions to reduce your symptoms of SBS.

If you are concerned that the symptoms you are experiencing could be the result of the building in which you work, then it’s time to seek medical care right away. An ENT doctor will be able to help you determine from where your symptoms might be stemming to get you on a treatment course that works for you.

By Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery
April 18, 2017
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Tonsillitis  

If you think you might have tonsillitis, find out what you should do to treat your sore throat.

You’ve been dealing with an unpleasant sore throat, but are your symptoms just that or could you be dealing with tonsillitis? Your tonsils, which sit on the back of your throat, are designed to stop germs from getting into your body. Unfortunately, even tonsils can develop an infection despite all their best efforts to stop them. As a result, the tonsils become inflamed. This is known as tonsillitis.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis often presents with swelling of the tonsils. If your tonsillitis is severe you may notice that the swelling is bad enough to block the passageways. Along with swelling you may also experience throat pain, pain when swallowing, sores on the throat, redness of the tonsils, fever, bad breath or a decrease in appetite. Children with tonsillitis may also experience abdominal discomfort, vomiting or nausea.

What causes this infection?

Bacterial (strep infections) and viral infections are the two main causes of this tonsil infection, but other conditions like the flu virus, adenovirus (respiratory infection) and Epstein-Barr virus may be to blame.

When should I see a doctor?

It’s time to call your otolaryngologist if you have a sore throat that occurs with at least two others symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, abdominal pain, a fever of 101 degrees F (or higher) or a white layer over the tonsils. You should also come in if you have severe throat pain or difficulty swallowing.

How is tonsillitis treated?

If you or your child’s symptoms are also accompanied by symptoms of a cold then most of the time the doctor will wait to see whether the condition clears on its own. A viral infection of the tonsils won’t respond to antibiotics; fortunately, your body can often get rid of the infection all on its own. Of course, rest, hydration and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage your symptoms and speed up your recovery time.

If a bacterial infection is to blame then you will need a round of antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Even if you are feeling better it’s important to take all of your medication and to follow instructions. Some patients may even need a second round of antibiotics in order to fully eliminate the infection.

If your symptoms are indicative of tonsillitis then it’s time you visited your otolaryngologist for the treatment you need and for ways to manage your symptoms.

By Dubuque ENT Head & Neck Surgery
April 03, 2017
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Hygiene   Q-tips  

Do you use Q-tips to remove earwax? Find out why you might not want to do that!

You’ve just gotten out of the shower. Your ears are wet from having just washed your hair and the first thing you do is to reach for a Q-tip. Not so fast! Should you really be doing that? While most people don’t even think twice about using cotton swabs to clean their ears, you may want to if you value your hearing.

“Why shouldn’t you use Q-tips?” you may be wondering. Well if you’ve ever looked at the Q-tip box closely then you might actually know. The box has a warning right there in bold print. It says, “Do not insert swab into ear canal.” Now this might sound utterly ridiculous. What else could you possibly use a Q-tip for if not to clean your ears?

Okay, so you are allowed to gently and carefully use a cotton swab to clean the outside regions of the ear, but it should never go inside your ear because it could lead to injury. Remember, the eardrum is so very delicate and can easily be punctured even with a little Q-tip.

As if the idea of puncturing your eardrum wasn’t enough cause for concern, there are also little bones behind your eardrum. When you poke and prod your eardrum you’re also irritating these bones, which will send shock waves to the inner ear. Your inner ear is responsible for both your hearing and your balance, so using a Q-tip could affect your ability to hear or also cause problems with your balance.

“But what about getting rid of earwax?” Actually, earwax may look like it’s not supposed to be in your ears but it is. In fact, earwax serves to protect your ears from infection by providing an acidic environment. Take away the wax and you’ll leave yourself prone to infection. Plus, your ears are naturally self-cleaning, so producing an excessive amount of earwax isn’t as common as you might think. Of course, an otolaryngologist can also safely clean out your ear to prevent impacted wax.

So next time you think you should reach for that Q-tip after your shower session, think again. Let your ears do what nature intended. If your meticulous cleaning sessions have lead to an ear infection, impacted earwax or other issues that affect your hearing then it’s time to take a trip to see an ENT specialist who can help.

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