Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is produced by a specialized gland inside the ear and is made up of dead skin cells, fatty acids, and cholesterol. It can be orange, brown, red, gray, yellow, or white in color, and may feel dry and flaky or moist and sticky. Ear wax keeps the sensitive skin inside the ears lubricated and helps protect the eardrums from bacteria, dust, and debris. However, too much ear wax can cause problems, which otolaryngologist Dr. Jason Hanson and Dr. Jonathan Lusardi want to discuss with their patients at Northwest Otolaryngology in Bridgeton, Missouri. Common questions about the removal and complications of ear wax are discussed here?
How can ear wax cause problems?
As your Bridgeton otolaryngologist briefly discussed above, ear wax is a very useful substance. It naturally migrates toward the outer ear by the movement of the jaw (similar to the way a conveyer belt works). However, this process can be interrupted with the usage of cotton swabs, which may be inserted too far into the ear and push the wax backwards toward the eardrum. This can be a recurrent issue if the body overproduces cerumen. This is called impaction and may lead to pain, dizziness, or hearing loss.
How do I remove earwax safely?
If you think you may have impacted ear wax, a visit to your Bridgeton otolaryngologist is advised. Dr. Hanson and Dr. Lusardi have the proper tools and treatments to safely dislodge the trapped wax. To prevent another bout of impaction, doctors suggest using a softening solution - such as mineral oil, baking soda and water, or a specific medication - or a syringe of warm water to loosen up the wax and bring it to the opening of the ear. Avoid using cotton swabs or other tools to prevent further impaction or eardrum perforation.
Contact Northwest Otolaryngology in Bridgeton and O'Fallon, MO for all of your ear, nose, and throat-related needs. We can be reached at (314) 291-5307 for our Bridgeton office; the number for our O'Fallon location is (636) 379-6006.
It's common to sometimes feel a touch of hoarseness. A condition characterized by a harsh sounding voice and a scratchy dry throat. But if your symptoms have not subsided after more than a week, it may be time to seek the help of a professional, like your local experts, Dr. Jason Hanson, Dr. Jonathan Lusardi, and Dr. Janet Napoli of Northwest Otolaryngology in Bridgeton and O'Fallon, MO.
Treatment and Prevention
For a lot of patients, hoarseness will clear up with time and some of the following advice may help speed up the process or at least ease your symptoms.
Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks can cause you to dehydrate when what you want to do is the opposite.
Lozenges and liquids can help with the dryness either by stimulating salivation or directly moistening your throat. But perhaps the most important step toward healing is rest, as is its overuse that often leads to hoarseness.
Avoid talking as much as possible, and even whispering can be detrimental as it actually strains your cords more than talking would. Forcefully clearing your throat can also similarly cause damage, worsening your inflammation.
Steam from after a hot shower can help with the discomfort. So can a humidifier if you have access to one.
Because respiratory infections are a common cause you should take steps to avoid them, with simple acts such as washing your hands regularly.
Allergens also play a role, so try to limit your exposure and keep in contact with your doctor about what else you can do to keep your allergies in check.
Smoking and secondhand smoke can dry and irritate your throat, so it's recommended that you seek help to stop, for this and other health benefits.
Treatment for Hoarseness in Bridgeton and O'Fallon, MO
If you've taken some of the steps mentioned above and it's been about 10 days without any noticeable change get in contact with your doctor. They will diagnose the cause of your symptoms in case it is something that requires more in-depth treatment. So don't wait too long, as early intervention is important.
Make an appointment today at Northwest Otolaryngology in Bridgeton and O'Fallon, MO, by dialing (314) 291-5307 and (636) 379-6006 respectively.
Could you benefit from a visit to your O'Fallon and Bridgeton, MO, otolaryngologists Drs. Jason Hason and Jonathan Lusardi. Otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose and throat (ENTs) doctors, treat conditions and illnesses that affect the ears, mouth, sinuses, nose, throat and voice box.
What conditions and diseases do otolaryngologists treat?
Scheduling an appointment with the otolaryngologists may be a good idea if you have any of these issues:
- Problems with Your Ears: ENTS can treat your ear infection or ear pain, determine why you hear ringing or buzzing sounds, and manage dizziness and balance issues caused by an ear condition.
- Hearing Loss: Otolaryngologists, together with audiologists, diagnose and treat hearing loss. If everyone seems to be mumbling suddenly, or you find that you must continually turn up the TV to hear anything, you may have hearing loss.
- Sinusitis: If sinusitis has become a chronic problem, your ENT can offer treatments that will relieve your pain and congestion. Depending on the cause and severity of your condition, they may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications or offer helpful procedures, such as balloon sinuplasty or endoscopic sinus surgery.
- Nosebleeds: Have you been struggling with frequent nosebleeds? During a visit to the O'Fallon or Bridgeton office, your ENT will determine the cause of the bleeds and recommend appropriate treatments.
- Sore Throats and Other Issues: Otolaryngologists treat a number of conditions that affect the throat including trouble swallowing or breathing, tonsillitis, chronic hoarseness, voice issues and inflamed adenoids.
- Thyroid Issues: Your ENT also diagnoses and treats thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer.
- Sleep Apnea? Do you snore loudly and have trouble staying awake during the day? You may have sleep apnea, a condition that occurs when you stop breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. If you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, an oral appliance provided by your ENT will help prevent your tongue from blocking your airway while you sleep.
- Tumors: Otolaryngologists treat and remove non-cancerous and cancerous tumors that form in the neck, head or thyroid.
Do you need to see an ENT? Call your otolaryngologists in O'Fallon and Bridgeton, MO, Drs. Hason and Lusardi to schedule an appointment. You can reach the Bridgeton office by calling (314) 291-5307 or the O'Fallon office at (636) 379-6006.
Here are some ways to tell whether you or your child is dealing with an ear infection.
Symptoms of an ear infection usually appear rather suddenly, so it’s common to be awakened from sleep by a throbbing pain in the ear. Of course, as your Bridgeton MO ENT doctors Dr. Jason Hanson and Dr. Jonathan Lusardi, we understand the importance of being able to pinpoint warning signs of an ear infection in yourself, your children, and even a newborn. Besides your ENT Doctor Bridgeton practice, you can also contact their office in O'Fallon MO.
Signs of an Ear Infection
Most people can tell when they are dealing with an ear infection from these classic symptoms:
- Ear pain
- Pressure/fullness in the ears
- Loss of hearing
- Muffled hearing
These symptoms are more common if you are dealing with an inner ear infection. So, what might you experience if you have an outer or middle ear infection? With an outer ear infection (called otitis externa), you'll notice redness, swelling, and pain on the outer part of the ear.
With a middle ear infection, you will experience ear pain that is accompanied by dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Since an inner ear infection could be a sign of another more serious problem you must visit your ENT Doctor Bridgeton practice right away.
Signs of Ear Infections in Newborns and Children
If your child is old enough, they'll communicate when they are experiencing ear pain, pressure, or difficulty hearing. These symptoms warrant seeing a doctor as soon as possible. Of course, if you have a newborn or toddler, they won’t be able to verbally tell you that something is wrong; however, here are some other clues:
- Increased irritability and fussiness
- Crying whenever lying down
- Trouble sleeping
- Pulling or tugging at the ear
- Not responding to certain sounds or voices
- Discharge coming from the ear
- Redness and swelling of the ear
If you suspect that you or your child have an ear infection you can easily talk to one of our ENT doctors without having to step foot in our Bridgeton MO, office. Not only does Northwest Otolaryngology offer in-office care to those in the Bridgeton and O’Fallon MO areas, but we also offer telemedicine visits.
Concerned about an ear infection? Call Drs. Jason Hanson and Jonathan Lusardi at (314) 291-5307 for the Bridgeton office, or (636) 379-6006 for the O'Fallon office.
Sleep apnea happens when a person’s breathing stops and starts again during sleep. This happens all throughout the night. Left untreated, it could result in heart failure, stroke, and high blood pressure. The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle modifications, oral appliances, medications, medical devices such as a CPAP machine, surgical intervention, or a combination of these.
Your exact treatment plan will depend on your specific symptoms and their severity. It will be up to your doctor in Northwest Otolaryngology, Dr. Jason M. Hanson or Dr. Jonathan Lusardi, to create your sleep apnea treatment plan after your consultation in our Bridgeton, MO, or O’Fallon, MO, location.
Lifestyle Modifications for Sleep Apnea
- Lose excess weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking sleeping pills.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.
- Modify your sleeping position to ensure proper breathing.
CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy for Sleep Apnea
With CPAP therapy, you will need to wear a mask that fits over your mouth and nose during sleep. Your mask will be attached to the CPAP machine that will provide constant airflow into the nose as you sleep to help keep the airways open and promote proper breathing. There’s also BPAP or bi-level positive airway pressure therapy that works similar to CPAP, except that the airflow changes upon breathing in and out.
Oral Appliances for Treating Sleep Apnea
These help in opening up your airways as you sleep and are customized by doctors with special training in sleep apnea including otolaryngologists, oral surgeons, or dentists. Consult with your doctor in our Bridgeton, MO, or O’Fallon, MO, office if oral appliances will be effective for your sleep apnea.
Surgical Procedures to Treat Sleep Apnea
Your doctor might suggest surgery if you suffer from a condition that restricts or narrows your throat such as a deviated septum, an overbite with a small jaw, or enlarged tonsils. These surgical interventions typically include the following:
- Nasal Surgery: This is usually done to resolve a deviated septum.
- Mandibular Maxillomandibular Advancement Surgery: Certain throat blockages or facial issues can be treated through this surgery.
- UPPP or Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty: This surgery is used for taking out some tissue from the palate and throat’s back portions to widen your airway.
Depending on your particular symptoms, your doctor may likewise recommend medication for treating daytime sleepiness that occurs due to sleep apnea or somnoplasty, an in-office procedure for stiffening and shrinking soft palate tissue.
For Questions and More Information on Sleep Apnea, Give Us a Call
Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors here at Northwest Otolaryngology, Dr. Jason M. Hanson or Dr. Jonathan Lusardi. You can reach our Bridgeton, MO, office at (314) 291-5307 and our O'Fallon, MO, office at (636) 379-6006.
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