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Ear Specialists

Ear, Nose & Throat

Specialized treatment for ear issues

Our Ear, Nose & Throat doctors are specifically trained in the medical and surgical management of common ear issues including:

  • Ear infections
  • Wax build-up
  • Fluid in the ear
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Inner ear conditions (Meniere’s disease)
  • Balance issues
  • Hearing Loss
  • Foreign object removal

Ear infections

Most commonly found in children, ear infections are the most common ENT-treated disorder. They usually are a result of a respiratory illness like cold or flu. They occur when the Eustachian tube becomes clogged or bacteria enters the inner ear.

Symptoms may include pain, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, trouble hearing and fever. They can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, antibiotics when appropriate, ear drops, or in the case of more chronic ear infections, tympanostomy tubes.

If you or your child is experiencing chronic ear infections or persistent fluid in the ear, it may be time to see one of our ear, nose and throat doctors.

Balance issues

Balance issues or a feeling of vertigo, spinning or dizziness when you lie down or bend over may be caused by positional vertigo, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

BPPV is a common inner ear condition, treatable through simple tests. It can occur off and on or last days or even weeks.

Hearing loss

There are two main types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss – problems delivering sound to the inner ear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss – problems in the inner ear, cochlea or the auditory nerve that connects to your brain.

If you’re experiencing any type of hearing loss, our specialists can work directly with you to determine the exact type and cause and discuss treatment options that may include surgery, therapy or hearing devices.

We work closely with doctors of audiology at The Hearing Center BayCare Clinic to conduct hearing tests and address and treat additional and chronic hearing problems.

Common ear questions

If your child has frequent infections or fluid that remains behind the eardrum after the infection has resolved, they may require ear tubes. Even fluid behind the eardrum without infections can cause hearing loss and may require treatment with ear tubes. Ear tubes can play an important part in the treatment of ear infections and a child’s speech and development at a young age. Our ear, nose and throat doctors can determine whether ear tubes are appropriate in your child's treatment.

Swimmer's ear is an infection of the skin in the ear canal. It can be due to either bacteria or yeast/fungus, and it typically occurs because the ear canal remains wet after water exposure. Keeping water out of the ear by using ear plugs for swimming may help. If an infection occurs, it may require ear cleaning by a doctor and or prescription ear drops.

Tinnitus is the term for ringing or buzzing in the ears. Most people will have it occasionally or intermittently. It is often noted after exposure to loud or prolonged noise. Consuming caffeine, salt, chocolate and alcohol can make it worse. If it is constant, occurring in only one ear, associated with hearing loss, associated with dizziness or just bothersome, it should be checked by an ear, nose and throat doctor because it may indicate a more serious problem.

Painless fluid in the ears can occur with colds and allergies in both children and adults. With a cold, the fluid will often go away as the cold resolves. Over-the-counter decongestants may help. If the fluid has occurred with the onset of allergy season, treatment with antihistamines also may help. If the fluid persists or is associated with pain or a fever, then evaluation by a doctor is recommended as that may indicate an infection.

Some people have difficulty equalizing the pressure in their ears when flying. The situation will be worse if you fly with a cold or allergies. Take an oral decongestant before the flight and supplement it with a nasal decongestant spray prior to descent. You should pop your ears repeatedly by plugging your nose and blowing out with your mouth closed. This is especially important on descent. Chewing gum and frequent swallowing is also helpful. Ear plugs designed for flying are available over the counter and may help.

Some types of hearing loss can be corrected through medications or surgery. It is important to be evaluated by an ear, nose and throat doctor to diagnose your hearing loss, particularly if other symptoms like pain or drainage are present or the hearing loss only occurs in one ear. Sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss or dizziness may indicate a different problem. An assessment by a specialized provider will help determine the type of hearing loss and the best approach for treatment. There are many types of hearing aids devices on the market. Our team works closely with the doctors of audiology at The Hearing Center BayCare Clinic to determine the best fit in terms of functionality and satisfaction for each patient.

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