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5 Signs You Should Visit an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor

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a patient with ENT doctor

Specializing in conditions that affect the ears, nose and throat, ENT doctors see patients with a wide range of symptoms. If you’re struggling with an issue and you think you would benefit from seeing an ear, nose and throat doctor, here are five signs to look out for:

1. Recurrent or chronic sinusitis

Sinus problems are often mistaken for symptoms of common colds, but they can develop and become more advanced if not treated. If you’re prone to bouts to sinusitis, or you’ve had sinusitis for a prolonged period, we strongly recommend making an appointment with an ENT doctor. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic and it can cause distressing, unpleasant symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred or hampered vision
  • Yellow and green drainage from the nose
  • Difficulty smelling
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Dental pain
  • Tooth pain

There are various treatment options for sinusitis and the method will usually depend on whether the cause is viral, fungal or bacterial. 

2. Hearing loss

Have you noticed that your hearing has suddenly declined? Have you been struggling to keep up in conversations or meetings? Have you been turning the volume up on the TV or the radio for a while? Hearing loss is usually gradual, but sometimes, temporary hearing loss can occur. This is often a direct result of being exposed to loud noises. If you’re having trouble with your hearing, it’s hugely beneficial to arrange to see an ENT doctor as quickly as possible. If there is an underlying cause, or your hearing has declined significantly, it’s best to intervene at the earliest point. Your doctor will carry out tests and examinations to try and determine a cause and then discuss possible treatment options with you. Hearing aids are commonly recommended for people who have hearing loss. These devices sit either inside or outside of the ear, and they help to improve hearing by capturing and amplifying sounds. Modern hearing aids come in a range of styles and are very discreet. 

3. Persistent ear infections

Ear infections tend to be relatively common in children, but in adults, they’re usually much less prevalent. If you do find that you have pain in your ears, or you keep getting infections, it’s advisable to see your ENT doctor. Recurrent infections could be symptomatic of an underlying issue and your doctor may be able to provide an effective treatment that puts a stop to infections. 

4. Tinnitus

Tinnitus is often known as ringing in the ears. If you are experiencing tinnitus, you’ll be able to hear noises and sounds, even when there is no external source. Many of us experience temporary episodes of tinnitus when we have been to a concert or a club. If you find that your symptoms are getting worse, or they start to become more frequent, seek advice from an ENT doctor. Tinnitus is usually temporary, but in some cases, it can start to impact day to day life. There are treatments and therapies available, including using sound machines, which help to mask the whooshing, ringing, buzzing or humming noises you can hear as a result of tinnitus. Sometimes, hearing loss is linked to tinnitus. While hearing loss doesn’t directly cause tinnitus, it can exacerbate symptoms, as the sounds caused by tinnitus appear louder due to the absence of noises that you can’t hear due to impaired hearing. If you have hearing tests and they reveal a degree of hearing loss, treating this problem may improve tinnitus symptoms.

5. Chronic sore throat

It’s common to have a sore throat when you have a cough or a cold, but you should be wary of persistent symptoms or a sore throat that lasts a long time. If you have severe symptoms, or you can’t seem to shake a sore throat after a couple of weeks, seeing an ENT doctor is a good idea. There may be underlying causes that are contributing to your symptoms. Sometimes, severe symptoms are characteristic of tonsillitis. Once your ENT doctor has ascertained the cause, they will be able to talk through treatment options with you and hopefully, lower the risk of recurrent problems in the future.  

ENT doctors are trained to diagnose, treat and manage conditions and symptoms that affect the ears, nose and throat. If you’ve been experiencing persistent infections, you’ve developed severe symptoms out of the blue or you’ve been struggling to hear properly, don’t hesitate to make an appointment. To find out more about our professional ENT services, call Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates on Sylva at 828-586-7474, Franklin at 828-524-5599, Murphy at 828-835-1014 or New Asheville at 828-458-8100.