Service Tag: Ear

Snoring is a common sleep-related breathing disorder that can be uncomfortable and cause difficulty sleeping. 

What can cause snoring?

Many factors can increase the likelihood of you snoring during sleep. Some of these can include the following. 

  • Ageing 
  • Being overweight 
  • Gender 
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Blocked nose 
  • Sleeping position

Excessive snoring can often lead to sleep apnoea. Sleep is very important; therefore, you should seek professional advice if you are struggling with it. 

What is sleep apnoea? 

Sleep apnoea, which occurs in snorers, is called obstructive sleep apnoea because the throat actually blocks while you are sleeping. Experiencing sleep apnoea means that you stop breathing during your sleep. This typically only happens for a few seconds. 

You might find out you have sleep apnoea based on experiences that family members recall for you. Some people find out due to waking up struggling to breathe, which can be distressing. It’s best to seek medical advice if you think you have sleep apnoea, as there are various treatments that may help you. 

What treatments are available for snoring/sleep apnoea? 

Treatment for snoring/sleep apnoea can involve lifestyle changes, sleep studies, medical treatment and/or surgery.

Lifestyle changes

In the first instance, you will be advised to work on your weight if you are ‘overweight’ based on your BMI. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will provide you with further health benefits too. 

Additionally, if you consume a lot of alcohol or smoke, you will likely be recommended to cut down on these before further treatment is offered.

Sleep study 

Some patients may be asked by a respiratory professional to complete a sleep study. A sleep study involves measuring various levels and rates in your body while you are asleep. It is nothing to worry about. 

You will be offered a treatment plan depending on your sleep study results. Some treatments may include wearing a mask at night, which helps keep the airways open, allowing you to breathe more easily. 

Surgery 

Various surgical procedures can be completed based on the cause of your snoring. Some surgeries include unblocking the nasal pathways or shortening areas in the throat. 

 

Deciding to have the surgery is a big decision and one that you will need guidance through. As with all surgeries, there are various risks that you will need to be aware of. Some people find that they stop snoring for a while, and then it returns even after surgery. 

We’re here to help you make an informed decision so that you can breathe easier during the night and get more restful sleep. 

Acute sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics and medication to reduce the swelling of the nasal lining, e.g. decongestants. Surgery is usually only considered if medical treatment fails. When surgery is needed, the ENT specialist can choose from a number of different options depending on the severity of the sinus disease.

What are sinuses? 

Sinuses play an important role in our breathing. There are four pairs of sinuses in the head. Their role is to control the temperature and humidity of the air that reaches our lungs. This helps to keep the passages free. 

These sinuses are linked throughout the upper area of the face. They appear in the forehead, nasal bridge and under the eyes. The sinuses produce mucus that travels through the nose and throat daily. When we become ill (acute sinusitis), we may notice more mucus being harder to pass. This happens due to blocked sinuses. 

What is sinusitis? 

There are two types of sinusitis, and they require different treatment methods. 

Acute sinusitis typically happens after a common cold. This is when mucus is harder to pass. Additionally, you may notice pain around the sinus area. This type of sinusitis can usually be treated easily with antibiotics. 

Chronic sinusitis is the same issue that occurs for much longer. This can be harder to shift. It can occur in the same way as acute sinusitis or due to allergies. It’s important to identify its cause so that the right treatment can be offered to you. 

The symptoms are often more severe with chronic sinusitis. 

How can sinusitis be treated? 

The way that sinusitis is treated depends on the cause of it. It can be caused by the following: infections, allergies, nasal structures and irritants. 

Cases of acute sinusitis are usually treated with antibiotics and rest. More serious cases may require surgery. Before surgery is recommended, you will likely be invited for a nasal endoscopy. This will allow our surgeon to see your nasal cavities in more detail.  

You may be encouraged to try different medications before surgery is suggested. 

What happens during sinusitis surgery? 

To complete the sinus surgery, a thin endoscopic tube is inserted into the nose. This allows the surgeon to see into your nasal cavities. During the surgery, they may remove tissue or polyps that may be causing you to have blocked sinuses. This means that you should be able to breathe more easily after surgery. 

A general anaesthetic is used during the sinus surgery so that you don’t feel any pain. Most patients are able to return home the same day after they have been monitored. We’ll let you know everything you need to prepare before and after the surgery. 

Sinus surgery recovery 

It usually doesn’t take long to recover from sinus surgery, but you may need a few days off work to rest. You’ll be given all of the aftercare instructions you need to follow by our medical team. 

In some people, the septum is bent into one or both sides of the nose, blocking the airway and making it difficult to breathe efficiently. Sometimes, this is because of an injury to the nose, but sometimes, it just grows that way. We can operate to straighten the septum.

What is the septum? 

The septum is a thin piece of cartilage and bone inside the nose between the right and left sides. This separates the nasal passages. 

Sometimes, the septum can grow in an unnatural way or become deflected to one side by an injury. This can cause issues with breathing. If you believe that you may have an issue with your septum, it’s best to get it checked out. We can talk you through your options and ensure that you are comfortable. 

Who can have septal surgery? 

If you have a bent or twisted septum that is causing issues with your breathing, septal surgery may be advised. However, it is your decision whether you have the surgery. 

It’s very important to research and ensure that you know the advantages and disadvantages of having septal surgery before you begin. The treatment is not used for changing the shape of the nose but rather for helping you to breathe more easily. 

What happens during septal surgery?

Septal surgery typically takes around 30 minutes to complete. You will be given a general anaesthetic to relieve discomfort during the procedure. 

To correct the septum, small cuts will be made inside the nose. This allows the surgeon to access the septum effectively and change its position. Your surgeon will ensure that you have everything you need for a smooth recovery. 

Recovering from septal surgery

 

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to leave the practice the same day or wait overnight. We will ensure that you are safe and have the correct level of care. You may experience some side effects, but we will support you in dealing with these. 

Before leaving, we will need to make sure that the anaesthetic has worn off. You will be monitored during this time. 

What can I expect to feel after surgery?

You may be in a bit of pain after the surgery, but this shouldn’t last long. Some bruising might occur inside the nose as a result of the surgery so you may have a blocked nose temporarily. There will be no packing of the nose unless there is significant bleeding, and this is unusual. This means you’ll need to breathe through your mouth. 

You will have access to pain-relieving medication and decongestants after having septal surgery. 

Improving the features of the nose and face through cosmetic surgery can also involve improving its function and helping with breathing. Find out more about what happens during rhinoplasty and the recovery process. 

What is rhinoplasty? 

Rhinoplasty is an operation to change the shape of the nose. Surgery employs reduction, augmentation or refinement to give a balanced and proportioned nose.

Rhinoplasty can be used to adjust a range of elements regarding the nose. The surgery may be able to help you with the following. 

  • Straightening of the nose 
  • Decreasing the size of the nose
  • Increasing the size of the nose
  • Removing bumps on the nose 
  • Adjusting the shape of the nose tip 

Who can have rhinoplasty? 

Adults can have rhinoplasty as the nose usually stops growing as you reach 18 years of age. 

Many people have ideas about how they want their nose to look, but discussing these with your surgeon is important. They may not be able to achieve the exact nose you want for a variety of reasons. 

We’ll work closely with you to ensure that you are happy with the projected outcome of your rhinoplasty procedure. 

Before having a rhinoplasty, you should have a thorough consultation with your surgeon. We can ensure that you are comfortable and know everything you need to know to make an informed decision. 

What happens during the rhinoplasty operation?

Before the procedure begins, photographs will be taken of your nose at different angles. This helps to show the differences after you have had the surgery. 

You will have a general anaesthetic before small cuts are made in your skin. The thickness of your skin can impact the results of your surgery. Depending on the requested changes, your surgeon will work on various areas of the nose. They may remove some sections of bone to achieve your desired look. 

We will inform you of any side effects and how long you will need to rest.

Rhinoplasty recovery 

After the surgery, your nose will be dressed accordingly to reduce the risk of bleeding. You will also have a splint on the outside of your nose to hold everything in place. This is usually only for the first week after surgery.

Most people are only in hospital for the day after rhinoplasty, as it is reasonably low risk. It is recommended that you take at least one week off work and potentially two. You will need to be careful not to knock your nose for a while. 

Hearing loss can be quite disheartening, which is why it’s important to seek advice earlier. When we start experiencing hearing loss, it can be due to nerve damage or other conditions. Hearing loss is quite common, especially as we age. 

The type of hearing loss that you experience depends on the area that has been affected. A doctor can perform tests to determine which area that is and offer you the best treatment. The two main types of hearing loss are conductive and sensorineural. 

Conductive hearing loss can be caused by blockages or trauma, whereas sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the  nerves inside the ear. 

What are the different types of hearing tests? 

We offer three types of hearing tests. These are air conduction audiograms, bone conductions and tympanometry.

Hearing tests involve the use of noise at different volumes and pitches. This can help to identify hearing problems. Different tests can be used to discover the cause of the hearing loss. 

Air conduction audiograms 

Air conduction audiograms test the intensity of the sound within the ear. This test considers various areas of the ear, including the outer, middle and inner ear. 

Bone conductions 

A bone conduction test measures the intensity of the sound within the inner ear specifically. A small pad is placed behind the ear to complete this test. The pad vibrates during the test. 

Tympanometry 

A tympanometry hearing test focuses specifically on how the middle ear works. The middle ear is concerned with sending sound waves to the brain. During this test, a tympanometer is used, which contains an air port, speaker and microphone. 

Depending on your hearing test results, you may be offered treatment, such as a hearing aid. 

When should I seek advice for my hearing?

You should see a professional if you are worried about your hearing. It’s best to seek advice early so that the most appropriate treatment can be offered. 

Many people experiencing hearing loss notice that they cannot hear what is being said due to background noise. This can be disheartening, but seeking advice can lead to treatment that can help you. 

Some people notice hearing loss coming on quickly, and this will need fast medical attention. If you are worried about your hearing, you should always seek advice. 

Some people may experience hearing problems due to glue ear. In some cases, grommets may be a good idea to relieve discomfort. We can support you with grommet insertion.

What are grommets? 

Grommets are very small plastic tubes which sit in a hole in the eardrum. These holes allow air to get in and out of the ear.

Children who experience hearing problems may be suitable for grommets. A medical professional will need to assess whether this is the most suitable treatment for your child and whether glue ear is the cause of the hearing loss. 

What is glue ear? 

Glue ear refers to when fluid is found behind the eardrum. This can cause earache and loss of hearing. Glue ear is quite common in younger children, but it can also happen to adults. We can clean the ear and remove the fluid to help increase comfort for you. 

What are the problems associated with glue ear? 

The main problem associated with glue ear is a loss of hearing. This can be tricky for children to explain. It may also cause them to struggle at school. 

If you believe that your child is struggling with their hearing, you should let their school know. Then, they can make adjustments to your child’s learning, such as offering more support and altering their seating position in the classroom. 

My child keeps getting frequent ear infections – what should I do? 

Glue ear can be resolved on its own and usually only takes around a week to get better. If your child is struggling, you may need to visit a doctor who can provide antibiotics. 

If you notice that your child frequently experiences glue ear, you should keep a diary. In the diary, you should note how often they occur and the severity of the symptoms. 

With frequent cases of glue ear, you may be recommended to consider grommets. These may help to improve your child’s hearing and reduce some of their discomfort. 

What happens during grommet insertion? 

The treatment is safe and efficient. We will let you know what you can do to help the grommets work. 

It’s important to try and reduce the amount of water entering your child’s ears. We’ll let you know how to achieve this during activities such as hair washing and swimming. 

The decision to have grommets will be made based on medical recommendations and the thoughts of you and your child. 

What happens after the grommet treatment? 

Grommets do not tend to cause any side effects, but the surgery does, of course, come with risks. We will discuss these with you in detail so that you can make an informed decision. Your child will likely require a few days at home to rest after the insertion. 

After around 6 – 9 months, the grommets tend to fall out. This is supposed to happen. You can contact a healthcare professional if the ear problems continue after the grommets have fallen out. 

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is the name given to operations used for severe or difficult-to-treat sinus problems. In the past, sinus operations were done through incisions (cuts) in the face and mouth, but endoscopic sinus surgery allows the operation to be performed without the need for these cuts.

What is endoscopic sinus surgery? 

An endoscope is a thin, rigid tube that can be inserted into the body with a camera on the end. It allows doctors and surgeons to get a better look at different areas of the body. Endoscopic tools are commonly used in patients experiencing nasal problems. 

This endoscopic tube means that surgery can be performed internally rather than externally, meaning cuts are not made to the face. 

Why might I need endoscopic sinus surgery? 

A doctor will advise you on whether you need endoscopic sinus surgery after they have assessed your symptoms thoroughly. Those who may need endoscopic sinus surgery are usually suffering from one of the following issues. 

  • Sinusitis 
  • Polyps in the nasal cavities 
  • Obstructions in the nose
  • Tumours in the nose 

All of these issues can make it difficult for you to breathe. It’s very important to seek medical advice if you are worried about your health. A medical professional can advise you on the most appropriate treatment. 

What happens during endoscopic sinus surgery? 

This surgery is reasonably low-risk and can be completed without you needing to stay in the hospital for long. You will usually only need to stay in the recovery room for a short while and rest in your hospital room before you go home. 

After the endoscope has been inserted, the doctor will locate the cause of your breathing problems. Depending on the cause, they will use specialist equipment to remove it. 

How does endoscopic sinus surgery help? 

Endoscopic sinus surgery can have many benefits when performed correctly. It can help to reduce the number of sinus infections that you experience, improve airflow and increase your sense of smell. These can help to improve your quality of life. 

As with all surgeries, there are some side effects that you will need to be aware of. We’ll ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision to benefit your health. 

Endoscopic sinus surgery recovery 

It’s quite normal to experience some discomfort after having the surgery, which may be accompanied by bleeding. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to expect and when you may need further medical advice. 

Some people also feel quite tired after having the surgery and report having nasal discharge. This is quite normal, but again, we will let you know when it’s best to seek advice. 

An endoscopic throat examination may be advised for people who are experiencing problems in the throat area. We’ll inform you about some examples of problems and what happens during the procedure. 

What is an endoscopic throat examination? 

An endoscopic throat examination typically involves the use of a small camera being passed through the nose. This allows for a more detailed view of the throat and surrounding areas. 

The small camera is attached to a thin, flexible tube that is gently passed through the nose. It can be difficult to assess symptoms, and an endoscopy helps to make issues more clear. 

What problems are best assessed using an endoscopic throat examination? 

Some issues that can be assessed during an endoscopic throat examination include the following. 

  • Hoarse voice 
  • Lump in the throat
  • Irritation or sensitivity in the throat area 
  • Throat clearing 

Before you have an endoscopy, you may seek advice to identify the issue and any treatments that can help to sort it. 

The camera device will allow the doctor to see a range of issues in the throat. After they have identified the issue, they can suggest the most appropriate treatments. 

What happens during an endoscopic throat examination? 

An endoscopic throat examination typically only takes around 5 minutes. Some people report feeling minor discomfort during the examination. If you are worried about this, you can request a numbing spray. This can help to make the procedure less uncomfortable. 

We will discuss the examination with you and ensure you are happy with the process. Then, we will begin the procedure.  

The thin tube will be inserted through the nose and into the throat. You may be asked to perform certain sounds or movements during the procedure. This means the professional can check for weaknesses or other issues. The endoscope is attached to a monitor so that you have the same views on the screen as the surgeon and can be shown if anything untoward is discovered.

What happens after the examination? 

After the examination, a doctor will provide you with a brief overview of your results. You will usually be free to leave after the treatment.

Endoscopic throat examinations are safe and low risk. They can help a medical professional to identify issues that may otherwise not be found. 

Earwax (or cerumen, to use the correct medical term) is a waxy material produced by sebaceous glands inside the ear. Some people find ear wax removal helpful in reducing discomfort and decreasing the risk of infections.

What does earwax do?

Earwax cleans, lubricates and protects the lining of the ear by trapping dirt and repelling water. Without earwax, the ear would soon become dry, infected and sore. Sometimes, a build-up can occur, causing loss of hearing and discomfort within the ear.

Here at Lancashire Clinic, we can clean and clear the ear out to subside these symptoms and leave you feeling more comfortable.

How is earwax removed?

Before performing an earwax removal procedure, we will use a microscope to check your ear canals. This allows us to assess how much wax is present.

You may also be asked to use an ear wax softener for a few days before the treatment. This can help to make the treatment more effective and can be purchased over the counter.

There are various ways that earwax can be removed. One of the most efficient ways to remove wax is through micro-suction. This involves using a suction machine  to remove the wax carefully with control using a microscope.

Once the procedure has been completed, we will recheck your ears. This is a safe and efficient way to remove earwax.

Why should I consider earwax removal?

Everyone experiences earwax, and it does have benefits, such as protecting the ears. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you might consider visiting us for ear wax removals.

  • Earache
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (commonly referred to as ringing in the ears)

For the safest and most effective treatment, you should always visit a healthcare professional. We are trained to remove the wax safely, and this can reduce the risks of side effects.

We will discuss any common side effects that you may experience after having the treatment. These are generally uncommon due to quality equipment and excellent hygiene precautions. 

If your child is experiencing problems with their tonsils, you should see a doctor. They can assess the severity of your child’s symptoms and suggest the most appropriate way of dealing with them.

What do tonsils do? 

Tonsils are small glands in the throat, one on each side. They are there to fight germs when you are a young child. 

After the age of about three years, the tonsils become less important in fighting germs and usually shrink. Your body can still fight germs without them, and we only take them out if they are doing more harm than good.

What is tonsillitis? 

Some children may experience tonsillitis. This is when the tonsils become inflamed and can cause pain. The tonsils may swell, become red and have white spots on them. 

 Most of the time, tonsillitis can be treated using over-the-counter medications. Tonsillitis is most commonly caused by a virus, meaning antibiotics cannot be used to treat it. Antibiotics can only be used for bacterial infections.

What if my child is experiencing tonsillitis frequently? 

 If your child is experiencing frequent episodes of tonsillitis, you will likely be advised to keep a diary. This will help the doctor to assess the frequency and severity of your child’s symptoms. 

 In some instances, tonsil surgery may be suggested. Your child may be offered this surgery if they experience frequent sore throats or have sleep apnoea.

What happens during a tonsillectomy? 

Coblation Tonsillectomy

This alternative procedure to traditional tonsillectomy uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of your tonsils. This procedure is minimally invasive, causing less discomfort and reducing recovery time.

A minimally-invasive alternative way to remove the tonsils and adenoids.

Unlike a traditional surgical knife or “electrocautery” (heat) procedure, tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy using COBLATION™ Plasma Technology can be used to reduce the size of your tonsils and remove your adenoids with little harm to surrounding healthy tissue.

What is CoblationTM technology?

COBLATION™ Technology utilises radiofrequency energy to remove tissue. Because the COBLATION™ process is not a heat-driven process, surrounding healthy tissue is preserved.

How is tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy using COBLATION™ Technology performed?

This surgery is almost always done under general anaesthesia and it only lasts about 30 minutes. The surgeon uses a special hand piece which utilises radiofrequency energy to reduce the tonsil tissue and remove the adenoids in a near bloodless fashion. Most patients can go home the same day.

Going home and recovery

When you leave the hospital, you may get a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics to help fight infections.

You should:

  • rest at home for a few days to a week
  • avoid vigorous physical activities for a week or two.

You may:

  • have a sore throat and a hard time swallowing for a few days
  • find softer foods easier to eat and swallow but most food is OK.
Risk and complications

Every surgical procedure carries a degree of risk. Your consultant will discuss all the possible risks with you during your consultation.

As with all tonsillectomy procedures, in addition to general anaesthesia risks, 2-3% of tonsillectomy patients can experience post-op bleeding (up to 5-10 days after surgery). Fever can be present, and dehydration and weight loss can occur, especially among children who won’t eat or drink due to pain.