For many people, hearing loss occurs gradually as they age. Around 30% of Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 have a certain degree of hearing loss. After the age of 75, that number increases. However, you don’t have to live with the debility of hearing loss. In most cases, it can be managed. The otolaryngologists at Springfield’s Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England can provide you with a hearing test and treatment for hearing loss.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss:
- Conductive: affecting the outer ear
- Sensorineural: affecting the inner ear
- Mixed: affecting both
Springfield patients who are noticing the following issues may be suffering from hearing loss:
- Speech and other close sounds seem muffled
- You are struggling to hear words, particularly if there is background noise
- You find yourself frequently asking people to repeat themselves
- You need to turn up the volume of the TV to hear it
- You tend to withdraw from conversations
- You avoid recreational activities or social situations
Although most types of hearing loss are irreversible, our otolaryngologists can help you find a hearing aid that will improve your level of hearing.
Preventing Hearing Loss
These steps can help you reduce your risk of hearing loss due to noise damage:
- If you work in an environment with loud noises, protect your ears with earplugs or earmuffs.
- Get regular hearing tests to ensure your hearing is not being affected by your work environment.
- Avoid listening to loud music using earbuds or headphones for long periods of time.
If you would like to visit Springfield’s Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England for a hearing test, call our Springfield office at 413-732-7426, our Northampton office at 413-586-2033, or Mary Lane Hospital at 413-967-2249.
Is it time to see an allergy specialist about your symptoms?
If watery, itchy eyes, a cough, and a runny nose are becoming commonplace then you may just want to consider seeing our Springfield, Northampton, and Ware, MA, otolaryngologists for your allergy symptoms. While most people can manage minor allergies with simple lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments, we know that sometimes this isn’t enough. Know when enough is enough.
You should schedule an appointment with our Springfield, MA, ENT doctors if:
You aren’t sure whether your symptoms are due to an allergy or the common cold
Indeed, the common cold and allergies can often mimic one another, so if you aren’t sure whether your sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion are due to a cold or simply allergies to pollen, dust, or dander, then it’s time to find out. An ENT specialist will be able to quickly determine whether you’re dealing with allergies.
Your symptoms are affecting your quality of life
We know just how miserable sinus infections, earaches, nasal congestion, and tension headaches can be. If you find yourself having trouble getting through the workday or if your allergy symptoms are affecting your sleep, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with our Springfield, MA, team. We can help you figure out your allergy triggers to find more sustainable ways to avoid them, as well as prescription medications that will provide more effective relief so you can get back to what matters.
Over-the-counter medications aren’t working
Not feeling better after a few days of at-home care? If so, this is definitely a sign that you are dealing with allergies and not just the common cold; however, if you also find that over-the-counter allergy meds just aren’t doing the trick, then this is another indicator that it’s time to talk with your otolaryngologist for more effective solutions.
Do allergy symptoms have you hiding indoors most of the year? Why not embrace the beautiful seasons of Springfield, MA? Let the team at Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England make that possible with proper allergy treatment. Call our Springfield, Northampton or Mary Lane Hospital, MA, office at (413) 732-7426, (413) 586-2033 or (413) 967-2249.
Find out when you should seek medical attention for a hoarse voice.
We’ve all heard how raspy our voices get the day after singing our lungs out at our favorite concert. We also know that certain winter infections can also affect our voice; however, what if you notice that your voice is regularly scratchy or raspy? Here’s what you should know about hoarseness and when you may need to see one of our Northampton, Ware, and Springfield, MA, otolaryngologists.
There are many reasons why someone may experience hoarseness including,
- Overuse or straining your voice: shouting at a game or singing loudly at a concert
- Laryngitis: can be caused by a cold, respiratory infection or allergies
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): frequent or chronic heartburn and acid reflux can irritate the tissue in the back of the throat, as well as the vocal cords
- Vocal cysts or polyps: these benign growths that develop on the vocal cords are more common in singers
- Vocal fold hemorrhage: if you’ve immediately lost your voice after intense vocal straining you could be dealing with a hemorrhage in the vocal cords
Other less common causes include,
- Larynx injury
- Laryngeal cancer (rare)
- Thyroid problems
- Neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson’s disease; stroke)
When should I see a doctor?
You should schedule an appointment with our ENT doctor if you’re dealing with hoarseness that hasn’t gone away within three weeks. If you have a respiratory infection or cold that isn’t going away it’s particularly important that you see a doctor.
If you are experiencing other symptoms such as pain or trouble swallowing, difficulty speaking or a lump in the throat it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible.
What should I expect when I come into the office?
First, your otolaryngologist will go through your medical history and ask you questions about your hoarseness and symptoms you are experiencing. From there, they may be able to rule out certain causes and determine which diagnostic tests need to be performed.
In most cases, your otolaryngologist will examine your throat with an endoscope to examine the vocal folds to look for inflammation, injury, a hemorrhage or nodule. Your doctor may recommend additional tests in order to fully determine what’s going on and how to best treat it.
Ear Nose & Throat, Surgeons of Western New England has offices in Springfield, Northampton and Mary Lane Hospital, MA, to serve you. If you are dealing with any of the issues above don’t hesitate to call one of our offices. In Springfield, phone (413) 732-7426. In Northhampton, call (413) 586-2033, and for the Mary Lane Hospital location, call (413) 967-2249.
Has your hearing loss started to impact your life? At Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England in Northampton, Ware, and Springfield, MA, our seven otolaryngologists and four audiologists can tell you when hearing aids would help. Hearing instruments and communication strategies improve the quality of life for all kinds of hearing loss.
Your hearing loss
Both you and your family, friends and co-workers notice it. Frankly, at the end of the day, you're feeling fatigued from struggling to understand the conversation, hear instructions or understand a TV program.
Typically, these are the signs that you should consider a complete hearing evaluation at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England:
- You constantly ask people to repeat themselves--particularly young children and people with higher-pitched, softer voices.
- You cannot differentiate between some consonant sounds such as f, s, th, and sh.
- Noisy environments, such as a restaurant or check-out line at the store, are challenging. You can hear people speak, but you cannot understand what they are saying.
- You understand conversation better if you can see people's faces and lips.
- Your TV volume is very loud.
- You have trouble hearing on the phone.
- Your hearing evaluation at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England shows deficiencies in several frequencies, or pitches, of hearing.
Additionally, hearing experts at the Cleveland Clinic say that family members and friends often realize a loved one has a hearing loss before that person does. They observe him or her misunderstand words or sentences. Unfortunately, hearing difficulties can impact interpersonal relationships as both parties withdraw from social interactions and even ordinary conversations.
It's no shame
A hearing loss is not a sign of weakness. It can be a sign of disease or aging, but even these are not always the case. Your audiologist at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England will discuss your symptoms of hearing loss with you and perform a complete audiological exam. Plus, if you need hearing aids, our experts can fit you with the latest Northeast Hearing Instruments and tune them to your specific loss.
Get back in the game
When you improve your hearing with hearing aids from Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England, you'll enjoy a fuller life. Call for an evaluation. In Springfield, phone (413) 732-7426. In Northhampton, call (413) 586-2033, and for the Mary Lane Hospital location, call (413) 967-2249.
Keeping your hearing aids clean and in good repair will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from these important devices. In addition to home cleaning, professional cleaning at the offices of Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England is essential. Your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors have three convenient offices in Northampton, Ware, and Springfield, MA.
How to Care for Your Hearing Aids
Following these tips will help you avoid hearing aid malfunctions:
- Clear Your Hearing Aids Every Day: Your aids won't work very well if they become clogged with ear wax. Use a soft toothbrush, a hearing aid brush, or a wax pick to remove wax and debris from the openings of the receivers and microphones. You'll also need to replace the wax filters in the hearing aids from time to time. Use the type of filters recommended by your ENT in Northampton, Ware, or Springfield, MA.
- Keep Your Hearing Aids Safe and Dry: Today's hearing aids use complicated technology to improve your hearing. Exposure to moisture may damage the sensitive circuits in the aids, causing them to malfunction. Avoid wearing hearing aids when you shower, swim or bathe. Put the aids in a safe, dry place when you remove them at night. If you have pets or small children who may be tempted to play with your hearing aids, store the aids in a high shelf or cabinet.
- Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands before handling or cleaning your hearing aids. Don't use hair sprays or gels while you're wearing your aids, as these products may damage or clog the aids. Apply these products before you put your hearing aids in your ears.
- Don't Forget to Change the Batteries: Changing the batteries on a regular basis can prevent damage due to corroded batteries. After removing the batteries, wipe the contacts with a soft cloth or cotton sway to remove dirt. If dirt remains on the contacts, hearing aid performance may be affected. Your audiologist or ENT may recommend removing the batteries at night, depending on the type of hearing aid.
Home and professional cleanings keep your hearing aids in good working condition. If you would like to schedule an appointment or cleaning with the ENTS at Ear Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England, call (413) 732-7426 for the Springfield, MA, office, (413) 586-2033 for the Northampton office, or (413) 967-2249 for the Ware office at Mary Lane Hospital.
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