Hearing loss can, unfortunately, come as a surprise—even in those who have suffered with it for years. However, awareness of the symptoms of hearing loss and knowledge of the diagnostic and treatment process can help ensure that you are on track to receiving the best possible care. Learn more about hearing loss, how it can sneak up on you, and how your ear, nose, and throat doctor can help by reading below, and if you are interested in treatment, contact Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England with offices in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, MA.
What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a device which consists of three main elements: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. These components work together to take outside sounds, amplify them, and then transmit them directly into the ear. A hearing aid is worn on or in the ear and comes in a variety of styles and types.
Do I need a hearing aid?
Hearing loss often advances slowly over time and many patients do not recognize their hearing problem until it has advanced into its later stages. However, knowing the signs of hearing loss can help you get the help you need early. Some symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty hearing those around you
- Asking others to repeat themselves often
- Difficulty following conversations, especially on the phone or in crowded environments
- Feeling as though those around you are mumbling
- Others tell you the TV or radio volume is too high, but you think it is reasonable
Diagnosing Hearing Loss
Though your ear, nose, and throat doctor will use a variety of information to diagnose your hearing loss, a hearing test will help them most accurately assess the severity of the loss. During the test, you will wear headphones and listen for sounds played at different frequencies before indicating in which ear the sound was played.
Interested? Call one our locations in Springfield, Northampton, and Ware, MA!
Your doctor can advise you on the best choice of hearing aid for your situation. For more information on hearing aids, please contact Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeons of Western New England. Call (413) 732-7426 for the Springfield office, (413) 586-2033 to schedule your appointment in Northampton, or (413) 967-2249 for the Mary Lane Hospital location today!
Although hearing aids can't reverse hearing loss, they can significantly improve the ability to communicate and overall quality of life for people suffering from various degrees of hearing loss. If you are experiencing hearing loss in one or both ears, a hearing aid may be a good option for you depending on your situation. The otolaryngologists at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England, in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, MA, offer a number of hearing restoration options for different forms and degrees of hearing loss.
Hearing Aids in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA
If you are experiencing hearing loss, schedule a consultation with an ENT doctor or audiologist in order to determine whether you may benefit from hearing aids or other devices. Hearing aids consist of a microphone, amplifier, and speaker that pick up and transmit sounds through the ear to help people with hearing loss follow and participate in conversations in noisy or quiet environments. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only one in approximately five people that could potentially benefit from using a hearing aid actually chooses to wear one.
Types of Hearing Aids
There are a few different types of hearing aids available:
- Completely in the canal (CIC) - fits entirely inside the ear canal and has fewer features (like volume control) than other models. Works well with mild to moderate hearing loss.
- In the canal (ITC) - partially fits in the ear canal and also works for mild to moderate hearing loss.
- In the ear (ITE) - fits in the outer ear and has the capability for more features than CIC and ITC hearing aids. Available for moderate to severe hearing loss.
- Behind the ear (BTE) - The device is worn behind the ear and is appropriate for most levels of hearing loss.
- Receiver in canal (RIC) - Similar to BTE models but the receiver is connected to the hearing aid with a thin wire rather than tubing, and is smaller than a BTE.
Find an ENT Doctor in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA
For more information about hearing aids and other hearing restoration options, contact Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England today to schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.
Sinus pain and pressure can be downright unpleasant. We can make it better.
At some point in a person’s life, they will experience a sinus infection (also known as sinusitis). You may already know the telltale signs: the nasal congestion, the facial pain and pressure, and the headaches. If you are someone who deals with sinus pain quite frequently you may want to get to the bottom of the problem rather than just treating or masking the symptoms. This is where our Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA, otolaryngologists come in.
The most common cause of long-term sinus pain is chronic sinusitis. While acute sinusitis will clear up in a couple of weeks, it’s truly a chronic sinus infection once your symptoms don’t go away after 12 weeks even with the proper treatments and care.
So, what could be causing this sinusitis-related pain? Well, there are a couple of things that could be going on to cause your chronic sinusitis including:
- Nasal polyps: growths within the nasal tissue that can become so large that they block the sinuses
- Deviated septum: when the cartilage and wall that divides the two nostrils is crooked, which fully or partially blocks one of the nasal passages
- Certain health problems: this can include everything from immune system disorders and cystic fibrosis to HIV
- Respiratory infections: colds and other viruses can cause inflammation within the sinus cavities, which restricts or prevents mucus from draining properly
- Allergies: the most common culprit is hay fever, which can block your nasal passages
When should I see a specialist?
It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with one of our ENT doctors if you continue to experience multiple sinus infections over the course of a year, if your sinus infection symptoms don’t respond to treatment, if your symptoms last more than a week or if your symptoms aren’t getting better.
What are some treatment options?
There are a variety of medications on the market for treating and managing your chronic sinus symptoms. Common treatments include corticosteroids (oral, nasal, or injectable), antibiotics (for treating bacterial infections) and immunotherapy (for allergy-related sinus problems).
In some cases, a minor procedure such as minimally invasive endoscopic sinus surgery or Image-guided sinus surgery may be needed to relieve your symptoms.
If you are having trouble getting your sinus problems under control then it might be time you turned to the ENT specialists at Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England. We offer three convenient locations in Northampton, Mary Lane Hospital, and Springfield, MA.
Audiologists at Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England, located in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA, know how to protect, preserve, evaluate, and treat hearing and balance issues in people's audiovestibular system.
The doctors in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital are equipped with helping test tone audiometry, word recognition testing, tympanometry, acoustic reflex testing, otoacoustic emission testing, auditory evoked response testing and videonystagmography.
What to Know About Hearing Health:
Hearing loss becomes a prevalent issue as people age. If you're worried about hearing loss, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- If you notice a need to watch speaker’s lips
- Family & friends make comments about your hearing
- You're struggling to hear the telephone, TV, or radio
- You have trouble hearing in restaurants, meetings, parties, or place of worship, or think people are mumbling
If you find yourself suffering from the symptoms above, you will need a hearing test to evaluate the amount of hearing, which pitches are affected, and which parts of the auditory systems are affected.
How to Care for Your Hearing:
Overexposure to loud noise can lead to hearing loss. Small hair cells in the inner ear help us hear, but when damaged or destroyed, they can't regrow.
Other auditory issues need to be confronted head on by your audiologist to avoid long-term hearing problems in any part of your ear.
- Outer Ear Infection (Swimmer's Ear): This bacterial infection enflames the external ear and is contracted when your ear is exposed to water, sand or dirt. Symptoms include itching, redness, swelling, or pain that worsens if you pull on your ear or while chewing.
- Middle Ear Infection: The middle ear contracts viral or bacterial infections from other parts of your body, which may be airborne, or due to food allergies.
- Inner Ear (labyrinthitis): The inner ear is affected by other bodily infections. These infections may lead to dizziness, fever, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
If you have any questions or concerns about hearing loss, then ask the audiologists at Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England, located in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA, today!
Who hasn't experienced the raspy hoarseness associated with a cold or the flu? This annoying laryngitis resolves by itself within a few days to a week, but if you aren't sick, what could be causing this vocal weakness? The Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England ask their Northampton and Springfield, MA patients to tell them when hoarseness persists more than two weeks. While the cause of it may not be sinister, lasting hoarseness should be evaluated by the experts.
The causes of hoarseness in Northampton and Springfield
When you see your ear, nose & throat specialist, he or she will ask you about your symptoms, how long they have been happening and what may help or worsen them. Also, the doctor will review your medications and order tests as necessary to visualize your vocal folds and larynx (voice box).
These examinations happen right in the office, usually with a fiberoptic scope or videostroboscopy. The images allow the doctor to seek the internal anatomy of the throat and also how the larynx functions in real time.
The underlying reasons for hoarseness are many, and may include:
- Benign nodules and polyps (sometimes originating in overuse of the voice as with singers)
- HPV-related warts
- Upper respiratory infections
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Asthma and asthma medications (such as inhaled corticosteroids)
- Thyroid problems (the thyroid is an H-shaped organ located on the larynx)
- Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption
Your ENT doctor will treat your hoarseness according to his or her diagnostic findings. For small benign growths, in-office endoscopic resection (involving a lighted tube inserted down the throat) may suffice. Laser treatments help eliminate or reduce the size of papillomas (warts) in the throat.
Many lifestyle modifications help alleviate hoarseness as well, state ENT experts at the Cleveland Clinic. They include:
- Staying well hydrated in the winter weather
- Getting sufficient in-house humidification
- Controlling acid reflux with diet and medications
- Avoiding overuse of the voice (no yelling)
- Using a spacer when using an inhaled steroid for asthma maintenance (as recommended in Health Central)
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol
Is your voice hoarse?
If this persists, find out why. Contact Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England to arrange a consultation with one of our seven physicians. We have three locations to serve you. In Springfield, call (413) 732-7426. In Northampton, phone (413) 586-2033, or for our Mary Lane Hospital office, call (413) 967-2249.
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