Q. I have discharge coming from my ears. What should I do?
You need to see an ENT surgeon immediately to determine the type of infection you have and you will need to be put on antibiotics for the same. Please make sure that you do not allow any water to enter your ear canal and keep your ear dry. Do not insert any ear buds or instill any oils in the ear.
Watch out for accompanying symptoms like fever, headaches, bleeding from the ear and report to your doctor immediately in case any of these symptoms arise.
Q What does vertigo mean?
In case you have repeated episodes of vertigo and especially if there is associated nausea or vomiting, you need to consult an ENT surgeon to rule out a problem of the vestibular system e.g. BPPV, Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuronitis etc.
A thorough ENT examination along with an audiogram and ENG (electronystagmography) will often help to diagnose whether the vestibular system is at fault and treatment can be tailored accordingly.
Q. My child does not respond to sounds and has delayed speech. What should I do?
Q. What does sensorineural hearing loss mean?
Progressive sensorineural hearing loss is that which develops over a period of time ranging from months to years. It could be age-related or due to other disorders affecting the inner ear.
Sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss is a medical emergency. Treatment for sudden sensorineural hearing loss involves administration of intravenous steroids and vasodilators. Steroid injections into the ear (intra-tympanic) can also be given. It is important to start treatment for this condition as urgently as possible. The chances of regaining hearing are better if treatment is initiated within the first 24 hours.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be diagnosed by doing a pure tone audiogram (PTA). In case of very young patients in whom a PTA may not be possible, a BERA or ASSR will be required. These tests may require mild sedation.
Patients with significant sensorineural hearing loss would require sound amplification by means of hearing aids. If however, a patient with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss does not gain any benefit even with the most powerful hearing aids (as in cases of bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss), a cochlear implant may be considered.
Q. I suffer from frequent colds and nose block. What should I do?
Allergic rhinitis occurs as a result of the body’s reaction to a variety of allergens such as dust, pollens or even certain foods. Patients usually complain of watery nasal discharge, sneezing and nose block. It may be associated with watering of eyes, headaches or other allergic tendencies like skin rashes, allergic bronchitis, etc. Treatment includes anti-allergic medication and decongestants alongwith local steroid sprays. An allergy test can be done to pinpoint the offending allergen. Avoidance of the causative allergen would help in preventing further episodes. In very severe cases, not responding to the initial line of treatment, a short course of oral steroids may be prescribed.
Sinusitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of the lining of the sinus walls which may or may not be due to an infection. The patient will complain of nasal discharge, nose block, headaches, facial pain or pressure. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics, anti-allergic medication and decongestants. In patients who do not improve with medication and those who develop complications, surgery is required.
A nose block may also result secondary to a deviation in the central partition in the nose (nasal septum). A deviated nasal septum is present in about 70% of the normal population and needs to be corrected only when symptomatic. The procedure for correcting a deviated nasal septum is called septoplasty.
Q. What causes a nose bleed?
Dryness in the nose and nose picking is one of the commonest reasons especially in children.
Patients suffering from high blood pressure may experience epistaxis if the blood pressure becomes very high. This occurs due to rupture of tiny blood vessels inside the nose.
Sometimes even the simple act of vigorously blowing the nose can cause slight blood tinged discharge.
Bleeding disorders, certain tumors of the nose can result in epistaxis. Some drugs like aspirin, clopidogrel, etc may also cause epistaxis.
Q. What immediate measures are to be taken in case of epistaxis?
Q. My child gets repeated attacks of tonsillitis. Is surgery required?
Q. What are the causes of a change of voice?
Any swelling on the vocal cords or a muscular weakness of the cords causing impaired movement can alter the voice.
A diagnostic laryngoscopy will help in identifying the cause of the voice change.
Management will depend on the cause of the hoarseness.