Your ears do more than hear what's happening in the world around you. They also help you stay balanced because of their specialized interior structures, such as the bony semi-circular canals. So if you're having symptoms of dizziness, or vertigo, your ENT doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Camarillo, CA, can uncover the reasons why you feel as you do and bring you back to full health and function.
What is dizziness?
Dizziness can be different things to different people, but mostly, it involves a feeling of spinning, faintness, unsteadiness on the feet, and wooziness. Sudden motion, such as quickly bending down to pick up a dropped object or standing up quickly from a seated position, may provoke dizziness.
If these symptoms last for more than several days or are accompanied by a headache, vomiting, chest pain or visual changes, you should call your primary care physician or your ENT doctor in Camarillo for further evaluation.
Dizziness and the ear
There are many conditions involving the ear which express themselves with dizziness. They include:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, involves the three semi-circular canals in the inner ear and the fluid contained within them. Especially as people age, crystals, or otoliths, may form in the fluid, causing dizziness and a drop in hearing when the sufferer moves his or her head rapidly. Often, simple rest, hydration and slowing down head movements suffice in treating this simple sign of aging, and routine audiology tests and CT scans or MRIs rule out more serious causes of vertigo.
Labyrinthitis involves the bony structures within the ear which are responsible for balance. Usually, the vertigo associated with this inflammatory condition occurs after a cold, flu or sore throat. Your ENT doctor at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat diagnoses labyrinthitis based on symptoms.
Meniere's Disease involves a build-up of fluid in the labyrinth. The resulting dizziness often comes with a drop in hearing and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Researchers attribute Meniere's to autoimmune and hereditary factors and also say stress escalates symptoms. Diagnosed by a review of symptoms, Meniere's Disease may be treated with a variety of prescription medications, such as diuretics, says the American Hearing Research Foundation.
If you're dizzy...
Please find out the cause. The six physicians at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat are eager to help people who have ear-related vertigo. We have four convenient offices in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks, CA, to serve you. Contact your ENT doctor in Camarillo at (805) 379-9646 for an appointment.
Oh, no, your child's ear pain is back. The fever, the muffled hearing and "yucky" feeling indicate a middle ear infection. You and your family have played this song before. How can you treat this problem? At West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks, CA, the board-certified otolaryngologists come alongside the pediatrician, parent, and child in working through this stubborn and frequent problem. Learn more here about ear infections and what prevention and treatment look like.
The two kinds
You are probably most familiar with otitis media, a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear. After a cold, the flu or sore throat, fluid builds up behind the ear drum, or tympanic membrane, which vibrates as the ear receives sound.
As fluid accumulates, pain, pressure, loss of balance, and hearing, fever and even ear drum rupture can result. Children and adults fall prey to this condition, but otitis media develops more in children as they have horizontally oriented eustachian tubes which transmit bacteria to the ear. Additionally, exposure to cigarette smoke and allergies are risk factors.
The other kind of ear infection involves the outer ear. Called otitis externa, or swimmer's ear, this painful problem makes the outside of the ear and ear canal sore and red. Often, it stems from water stagnating in the canal, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. Left unchecked, swimmer's ear may worsen into cellulitis, causing skin, cartilage, and bone damage.
Prevention and treatment
To diagnose ear infections, your otolaryngologist will use an otoscope to light the ear canal and inspect it and the ear drum, or tympanic membrane. He or she will perform a tympanogram, a simple test which measures how mobile the ear drum is. The physician also will evaluate symptoms.
Treatment for both otitis externa and otitis media often involves oral antibiotics, over the counter analgesics and soothing the ear with a warm compress. Children often benefit from insertion of ear tubes or adenoid removal, but the ENT doctor will determine treatment based on individual need.
To prevent otitis externa, the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics says that keeping the ears dry helps avoid infection. Earplugs facilitate this as does gently drying the ears with a blow dryer after swimming or other prolonged exposure to moisture.
Regarding otitis media, many children simply stop getting these infections because, as they grow, their eustachian tubes become more vertical and therefore, are healthier. Some children, however, require continued antibiotic therapy to stave off infection while others need a procedure called a myringotomy.
During a myringotomy, the physician creates a small opening into each ear drum. Then, the doctor inserts thin plastic, teflon or metal tubes which allow the accumulated fluid to drain. Tubes stay in place for several months.
The professional staff at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat encourage patients to seek treatment for troublesome ear infections. To find out more, contact the office team for an appointment. We have four convenient locations in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks, CA.
Most of us have heard of the thyroid. It's often called the "master gland" because of its role in maintaining the body's metabolism. Just like other endocrine glands (such as the pancreas), the thyroid can malfunction or even develop cancer. In either case, thyroid surgery may be necessary. In Simi Valley, Camarillo, Ventura County and Thousand Oaks, CA, the otolaryngologists at West Coast ENT Head & Neck Surgery precisely diagnose and treat thyroid issues in patients of all ages. Read here about thyroid disorders and the surgeries which alleviate them.
Symptoms of thyroid problems
Your thyroid is an H-shaped gland located near the Adam's Apple in the neck. While the adrenal gland in your brain gives off TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, the thyroid gland secretes T3 and T4 which regulate your heart rate, temperature and other factors associated with metabolism.
While people of all ages suffer from thyroid malfunction and cancer, these problems are more prevalent in women during postpartum or post-menopause. Sometimes the thyroid secretes too much thyroxin and sometimes, too little.
With hypothyroidism (too little of the hormone), sufferers often gain weight, lose hair and are generally listless. With hyperthyroidism (Graves' Disease), the opposite is true. Patients lose weight, sweat, feel irritable and suffer from insomnia.
Additionally, some individuals develop benign tumors of the thyroid (nodules) or fluid-filled cysts. Others fall prey to thyroid malignancies. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, about 54,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States, and yes, the majority of patients are women.
Treating the thyroid
Of course, treatment depends on several factors. At West Coast ENT Head & Neck Surgery, our doctors specialize in disorders of the thyroid and also perform thyroid surgery in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Ventura County and Thousand Oaks. Through physical examination, precise imaging and review of lab work and symptoms, these physicians accurately diagnose and treat a variety of thyroid problems.
While some issues may be treated with medication only (supplemental calcium or thyroxin, as examples), others require thyroid surgery. Thyroid cancer is a common reason to remove part or all of this endocrine gland.
Thyroid surgery in Simi Valley, Camarillo, Ventura County and Thousand Oaks
The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons says there are three categories of thyroidectomies. They include:
- Total thyroidectomy in which the entire gland is removed
- Lobectomy which removes part of the gland, typically for biopsy
- Completion thyroidectomy in which the rest of the gland is removed after a partial resection
Most thyroid patients have some scarring after surgery. However, the endoscopic techniques used by the doctors at West Coast ENT reduce the extent and the appearance of scars. Additionally, a majority of surgical patients take thyroid hormone replacement afterward.
The thyroid and its associated conditions really aren't mysterious. To understand it and to know when drug and surgery therapies are needed, talk to West Coast ENT Head & Neck Surgery. Their six physicians are highly skilled and experienced. They'll help you be well-informed and healthy, too. Call today for your consultation.
Would you be surprised that hearing loss affects interpersonal relationships? Who hasn't watched a colleague, loved one or friend ask for sentences to be repeated or complain that too many people are talking at once? Unfortunately, hearing loss also can lead to cognitive problems and even depression. So your otolaryngologists and audiologists at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks, CA, ask you to know and recognize the early signs of hearing loss so that you or a family member can receive the best in hearing care.
Signs of hearing loss
The American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association states that hearing loss has hereditary and age-related components. However, environmental factors, such as exposure to loud noise and music, some prescription drugs, trauma, ear wax (cerumen) accumulation and autoimmune disorders can temporarily or permanently reduce hearing in one or both ears.
If you think you have a hearing problem, here's what to look for:
- Tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing noise
- Perceiving speech to be muffled, especially when listening to children or women, who typically have high-pitched voices
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Avoiding parties, meetings and family gatherings
- Having difficulty hearing conversations in crowded rooms
- Turning up the volume on your phone, radio, TV or other audio devices
- Feeling exceptionally tired after attending a social event
If you are experiencing one or more these symptoms of hearing loss, contact your ear, nose and throat physician in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks for a consultation.
Our doctors of audiology can perform tests which evaluate how well you hear various kinds of sounds, including those conducted through bone and through the air. Additionally, they assess how well a person distinguishes various kinds of sounds, how well the middle ear functions and even if the ear canals are blocked with wax.
Tips to minimize hearing loss
At West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat, the professional team recommends some simple strategies to avoid hearing loss. They include:
- Use an over-the-counter ear wax kit to flush out cerumen accumulation on a regular basis, but do not insert cotton-tipped swabs or other pointed objects into the ear canal.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco users have a higher incidence of hearing problems.
- Avoid noise, especially on the job. If you have a loud occupation, such as heavy machinery operator, your employer should provide you with adequate ear protection.
- Check your meds with your prescriber or physician to see if they have side effects related to the ears.
- Get routine hearing screening every year beginning at age 50, or sooner if you notice symptoms.
Find out more
Preserve one of your greatest assets: your hearing. To arrange a hearing consultation with one of our physicians, call West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks, CA, at (805) 379-9646.
What your ENT specialists in Simi Valley, California want you to know.
Sinus problems can affect your ability to breathe and can keep you from enjoying your life. Sometimes over-the-counter remedies can help temporarily, but often sinus problems become chronic. The answer might be sinus surgery. Your ear, nose, and throat specialists at West Coast Ear Nose Throat Head and Neck Surgery want to share the facts about sinus surgery. They have several convenient office locations in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Ventura County, and Camarillo, California to serve you.
Sinus surgery can help you if you suffer from:
- Chronic sinusitis or sinus headaches
- Chronic sinus infections affecting your bones
- Nasal or sinus polyps
- Structural or skeletal nasal or sinus issues
- Fungal sinus disease
- Cancer in your sinuses
Sinus surgery has become state-of-the-art and is more comfortable with less downtime than ever before. Some of the types of sinus surgery to consider include:
- Balloon sinuplasty, which is an outpatient procedure involving the insertion of a thin catheter containing a balloon into your nostril. When the catheter reaches a blockage, the balloon is inflated, gently opening the blockage and creating an open airway. The balloon is then deflated and the catheter and balloon are removed.
- Endoscopic surgery, using a thin, lighted tube called an endoscope; the endoscope is inserted into your nostril and guided up into your sinuses. Your doctor can remove polyps and other obstructions to open your airway.
For stubborn, chronic sinus issues that don’t respond to less invasive treatments, open sinus surgery might be indicated. Open sinus surgery is often the treatment of choice for sinus cancer and other serious sinus conditions. The goal of sinus surgery is to remove infected or cancerous tissue and rebuild your sinus.
If you are one of 37 million Americans suffering from chronic sinus problems, it’s time to consider sinus surgery. For more information about whether sinus surgery can help you, call your ENT specialists at West Coast Ear Nose Throat Head and Neck Surgery with offices in Simi Valley, Ventura County, Thousand Oaks, and Camarillo, California. Call today!
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