Posts for: February, 2017
Do you frequently suffer from hoarseness? Determining the cause of the problem is the first step in successfully treating it. The ENT doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley, CA, share a few causes of hoarseness.
Anything that strains your voice can cause hoarseness, such as cheering for your favorite team. Luckily, the problem goes away on its own in most cases. Hoarseness caused by strain can also occur if you speak loudly for a long period of time while giving a speech or talk much more than normal. Overuse of your voice can eventually cause cysts, polyps or lesions to form on your vocal folds, which can make hoarseness a chronic problem.
Laryngitis, an inflammation of the vocal cords that occurs when you have a virus or infection, can make your voice very hoarse. If you have laryngitis, it's important to limit speaking, as talking too much may damage your vocal cords.
Exposure to irritants
Anything that irritates your vocal chords can cause hoarseness. People who are exposed to fumes, chemicals or other irritants at work are at particular risk of developing hoarseness. The problem can also occur due to exposure to allergens or cigarette smoke.
Vocal fold hemorrhages typically occur when you're in the middle of yelling, coughing or singing loudly. The strain causes a blood vessel to burst and leak into your vocal chords. In addition to hoarseness, you may also notice an inability to sing or reach high notes.
Both gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux disorder (LPRD) can cause hoarseness. The problem occurs when stomach acids irritate your vocal folds and throat.
A blow to your throat can result in an injury that causes hoarseness. If you experience trauma, it's important to seek medical care as soon as possible.
Cancer isn't a particularly common cause of hoarseness, but it's important to rule it out if you have chronic hoarseness.
How can my Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley ENT help me?
If your hoarseness doesn't improve after resting your voice, it's important to visit your ENT. Treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause. If the condition occurs due to misuse of your voice, your doctor may recommend speech and voice therapy. Taking medications that stop or reduce acid production can be helpful if your problem is caused by reflux. If you have a polyp, cyst or nodule, surgery may be recommended.
Do you suffer from frequent hoarseness? Find out how the ENT doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley, CA, can help you by calling to make an appointment.
Learn how to limit your allergy symptoms from your Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley ENTs.
Spring weather means an increase in allergy symptoms. Although you can't get rid of outdoor allergens, you can do a few things to reduce allergens indoors. The doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley, CA, share a few tips you'll want to keep in mind.
Clean air-conditioner filters
Air-conditioners filter out pollens, but they can't do a good job if they're clogged. Clean your filters before spring arrives and make a point to clean them at least once a month during allergy season.
Wash those allergens away
Allergens can collect on both hard and soft surfaces in your home. Wash throws, throw pillows, baseboards and floors regularly and vacuum carpets and upholstery. Keep non-essential items in covered containers to reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do.
Create a shoe-free zone
Leave your shoes on a covered porch or place them in a covered container. Although you can't see pollen and other allergens, they can hitch a ride on your shoes and enter your home with you, triggering your symptoms.
Bathe pets regularly
Your pet's fur also collects allergens, particularly if your furry friend enjoys rolling around on your lawn. Washing your dog or cat (if it goes outdoors) is a simple way to removes allergens. Because bathing your pet every day probably isn't practical, wash pet bedding frequently and create a pet-free zone in your bedroom.
Get rid of mold and dust mites
Many people who are allergic to grasses and pollens are also allergic to mold and dust mites. Use special covers on your mattresses and pillows to reduce your exposure, plus make sure you use hot water to wash sheets, blankets and pillowcases. Use your bathroom fan every time you shower or bathe to prevent mold and mildew buildup in your shower.
Reducing allergens in your home and visiting your ENT when allergy symptoms strike can make this spring much more pleasant. Call the doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley, CA, to schedule your appointment.
Wondering if sinus surgery may be the answer to your chronic sinus problems? The ENTs at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo, CA, share several signs and symptoms that may indicate that sinus surgery could help you.
Signs and symptoms
You may benefit from sinus surgery if any of these signs or symptoms apply to you:
- Frequent or Chronic Sinus Infections: If it's not unusual for you to have three or four sinus infections during the year, or you've experienced pain and inflammation for 45 days or longer, surgery may be recommended.
- Polyps and Other Obstructions: Sinus surgery can make breathing easier if you have an obstruction in your nasal passages or sinuses. In addition to polyps, other types of obstructions include a deviated septum, bone spur, or turbinate or adenoid hypertrophy.
- Growths: Surgery is used to remove cysts and tumors that grow in the sinuses and make it difficult for you to breathe.
- Spreading infections: Sinus infections can be very serious if they spread to your skull or the bones of your face.
Surgery is always a last resort and is performed if other treatments, such as antibiotics, decongestants and steroids, haven't been helpful.
How is sinus surgery performed in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo?
Sinus surgery is performed using minimally invasive endoscopic surgery in most cases. A small camera mounted to one end of a flexible endoscope allows your doctor to view your sinuses on a digital screen during the surgery. Your doctor uses tiny surgical instruments passed through your nostrils to perform the surgery. You'll receive general anesthesia and won't be awake during the procedure.
Will I notice immediate results?
Immediately after surgery, you may feel congested due to swelling in your sinuses. Although it will probably take a few weeks until you experience the full effects of surgery, you'll soon notice a significant improvement. If you do experience another sinus infection at some point, it will probably be much milder than in the past.
Do you suffer from sinus pain, headaches and congestion? Your ENT can offer a variety of treatments, include surgery, that will help you breathe easier. Call the ENTs at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo, CA, to schedule your appointment.
You rely on your hearing much more than you probably realize. Unfortunately, when problems occur, it's not always possible to completely restore your hearing. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do prevent hearing loss. The professionals at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo, CA, explain how you can protect yourself.
Avoid loud noises
Exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing. In some instances, your hearing may be affected after only one exposure to a very loud sound, but in other cases, problems only develop after long-term exposure. If you enjoy listening to music through headphones, don't turn the sound all the way up. Wear earplugs to decrease the noise of concerts, power tools, lawnmowers and firecrackers. If you work in a noisy environment, be sure to wear the ear protection provided by your employer, or purchase your own protection if none is provided.
Make smart choices when it's impossible to avoid loud noises. For example, if you're attending a concert, don't sit near a speaker or next to the stage. Noise that's 85 decibels (dB) or higher can harm your hearing. Conversations are usually conducted at no higher than 60 dB, while jackhammers produce 130 dB. Both the decibel level and the length of time you're exposed to the noise determine if you'll experience hearing loss.
Ask about medication side effects
Some medications, such as diuretics, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and chemotherapy medications, can cause hearing loss, particularly if you take them regularly. Ask your doctor if prescribed medications can cause hearing loss and request drugs that don't have these side effects, if possible.
Stay away from cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes not only increases your risk of heart disease and cancer, but also makes it more likely that you experience hearing loss. Even secondhand smoke exposure can be a problem.
Make time for a hearing screening in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo
Hearing loss can be so subtle that you don't even realize that you have a problem. Regular hearing screenings can identify issues, making it possible to successfully treat the problem before your hearing loss becomes severe.
Are you concerned about your hearing? Schedule a visit and hearing screening at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat with locations in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard and Camarillo, CA.
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