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.
Allergies affect many people. Common allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, hives, or shortness of breath, can cause discomfort and affect your quality of life. Fortunately, various methods are available for effectively treating allergies and controlling their symptoms. The doctors at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA, can help you get your allergy symptoms under control.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergies are associated with a range of symptoms. The symptoms you experience often depend on what is causing the allergy. Examples of common allergens include dust, dander, mold, and pollen. Many people are also allergic to certain foods, such as peanuts, dairy products, wheat, or shellfish. Some medications can cause allergic reactions as well. Depending on the cause or type of allergy, symptoms can include:
- Scratchy throat
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing or coughing
- Swelling in the mouth, eyes, or face
- Sneezing or runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Sinus congestion
- Rashes or hives
If you have struggled with chronic allergy symptoms, visiting our offices in Springfield, Northampton, and Mary Lane Hospital, MA, for an allergy test is beneficial. Allergy tests help identify the specific allergens that are causing your symptoms so an effective treatment plan can be made. Different types of allergy tests are available, but many tests involve exposing the skin to specific allergens to observe whether or not a reaction occurs. A skin reaction, such as the development of a rash, is a sign that you are sensitive to that allergen and could benefit from treatment.
Several treatments are available that can help control uncomfortable allergy symptoms. One of the most effective treatment approaches is immunotherapy, which is administered by injection or as sublingual immunotherapy. Injections simply involve getting a shot, while sublingual immunotherapy involves placing drops under the tongue.
Both methods involve exposing a patient to small doses of a particular allergen, either by injection or under the tongue. Over time, repeated exposure to the allergen prompts the body to become resistant to it. As the body builds up a tolerance to the allergen, a patient becomes immune and will experience fewer allergy symptoms.
If you are struggling with allergy symptoms, we can help. Through a combination of allergy testing and immunotherapy, our doctors can develop a plan for controlling your symptoms. For help with your allergy symptoms, contact our Springfield office by calling Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England at (413) 732-7426. Appointments are also available at our Northampton location by calling (413) 586-2033 or at Mary Lane Hospital by calling 413-967-2249.
How your ENT specialists in Springfield, MA, can help with hearing loss
Hearing loss is a common problem, especially as you get older. Fortunately, you don’t have to miss out on the beautiful sounds of your life. You don’t have to miss out on wonderful conversations with people you care about. You can regain your hearing!
The ear, nose, and throat doctors at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England offer a wide range of ENT services, including treatment of hearing loss. They have three convenient office locations in Springfield, Northampton, and Ware, MA, to help you with hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be subtle, happening slowly, over a long period of time. However, there are some definite signs and symptoms to look out for. According to the Mayo Clinic, you may be experiencing hearing loss if you:
- Have difficulty picking out individual words from background noise
- Have problems hearing consonants within words
- Hear muffled speech and muffled sounds
- Are avoiding social situations because of hearing problems
- Need others around you to speak more loudly or slowly
If you are noticing any of the signs and symptoms listed above, it’s time to visit your ENT specialist for a hearing test. A hearing test helps your doctor determine your degree of hearing loss and which treatment might be best for you.
Your doctor may recommend a hearing aid, and there are several types including:
- A CIC hearing aid, which is completely in the ear canal, and is the most discreet hearing aid
- A BTE hearing aid, which is behind the ear, and is the largest hearing aid
- An ITE hearing aid, which is inside your ear and has a volume control
- Cochlear implants, which function for parts of your ear that aren’t working properly
If you are experiencing hearing loss, there is not a moment to lose. Find out more about treatment for hearing loss by calling the ear, nose, and throat doctors at Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England, with offices in Springfield, Northampton, and Ware, MA. Hear better by calling (413) 732-7426 for our Springfield office, (413) 586-2033 for our Northampton office, and (413) 967-2249 for our Ware office today!
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