Here at the ENT Specialists we help our patients with all sorts of different health problems. Some of the issues we help people with are commonly known while others most people have never heard of. One issue we treat is vocal nodules. If you are a Pitch Perfect fan you may remember when one of the stars of the female a cappella group announced that she had nodes. She was extremely anxious about these vocal nodules ruining her ability to sing. That may be all that you know about vocal nodules. Today ENT Specialists are going to walk you through some more information about vocal nodules.
What are Vocal Cord Nodules?
Vocal nodules are hard, rough noncancerous growths on your vocal chords. Small vocal nodules are the size of a pinhead while larger vocal nodules are the size of a pea. They are caused by straining or overusing your voice. Frequently singing, yelling, talking loudly, or talking for a long time can all cause vocal nodules to develop. Many times teachers, singers, cheerleaders, coaches, radio hosts, and salespeople will develop vocal nodules. There are some other things that can cause vocal nodules. Smoking; regular alcohol use; sinusitis; allergies; tensing your muscles when you talk; side effects from medication; and hypothyroidism are also known to cause vocal nodules.
What Causes Vocal Nodules?
They begin to form when you are not using your vocal cords correctly or they are overused. Your vocal chords are a V-shaped band of tissue that runs down the middle of your voice box. Any time that you talk, yell, or sing air from your lungs rushes up through your vocal chords and makes them vibrate open. When you overuse your vocal chords or use them incorrectly it irritates your vocal chords and causes irritated areas to harden. If you rest your voice or begin using your voice correctly they will go away. Otherwise they will continue to grow.
Signs of Vocal Cord Nodules
There are some warning signs that you may begin to notice if vocal nodules are developing. You may notice your voice becoming hoarse; raspy; scratchy; tired-sounding; breathy; cracking or breaking frequently; or lower-pitched than normal. All of these are symptoms of vocal nodules. If you sing you will likely notice that your range begins to decrease. Some singers are unable to sing altogether. You may experience shooting pain that goes from ear to ear; neck pain; or a lump stuck in your throat as well. Some people will have frequent coughing; a consistent need to clear your throat; and tiredness.
Do I Have Vocal Nodules?
If you have these symptoms and resting your voice for a few days does not make them go away you will want to make an appointment here at ENT Specialists. When you come we will ask you questions about what your symptoms are; how long you have been experiencing them; and what kind of activities you regularly participate in that might be causing the problem. We will examine your head, neck, and throat as well. We may need to use a special lighted scope to help us see your vocal chords.
Voice Therapy & Vocal Nodules Surgery
Once we have determined if you have vocal nodules or not there are a few things that we can do. We will ask you to avoid using your voice as often as you can for a few weeks and see if it helps. We may also send you to our voice center. One of our voice therapists can teach you how to use your voice safely to avoid this problem from continuing in the future. We may need to perform surgery to remove your vocal nodules. We use special instruments to remove the vocal nodules while keeping your vocal chords nice and healthy. If you think that you may have vocal nodules give us a call today so that we can start treatment before they continue to grow.
A very challenging condition to live with is tinnitus. Though it is not always obvious you have it, tinnitus can be near impossible for some. Knowing the signs can help get an early diagnosis and better treatment. Below, we at the ENT Specialists list the most common symptoms of tinnitus and how to find relief.
Sudden Ringing in Ears
Ringing in your ears is commonly the first symptom. The ringing volume ranges from subtle to loud and this is the symptom most patients experience. When there are no other noises around, the ringing becomes louder, and this makes it harder to handle. Also, during certain parts of the day, the ringing may become louder as well. If you notice this system, making your appointment with a specialist to help. We can find out if you have tinnitus and offer recommendations for the next step.
Much like the ringing symptom, patients will hear buzzing noises. You should consider that you might be developing tinnitus if you are hearing whistling, buzzing, white noise or other such noises. Hearing these noises should prompt you into scheduling an appointment with your specialist. Prior to your appointment write down your symptoms, when they occur or when they are loudest, as it proves to be useful as many people do not always note or remember this information. Your specialists can provide more solutions with more information.
Temporary Tinnitus Noises
One of the first signs that you are developing the condition is experiencing what is known as temporary tinnitus. You are likely to notice that there is ringing in your ears after visiting a nightclub for example, the temporary tinnitus can flare when exposed to loud noises. Knowing it is temporary will manifest itself as the symptoms will dissipate rather quickly. After this event you need to ensure that it does not get any worse and you should take precautions. Wearing ear protection to any event that has loud noise from now on is a good preventative measure to take.
Tinnitus & Constant Headache
Be on the lookout for headaches as this is the final symptom of tinnitus. Even though this is slightly less common, tinnitus can cause headaches in some people. Be sure to book an appointment with a professional if you are having an increase in headaches more than usual, and if they are more intense or accompanied by ringing.
Tinnitus Test & Exam
The doctor will diagnose tinnitus be performing a hearing exam to rule out or identify tinnitus. A movement test is frequently used where the doctor asks you to move your eyes, clench your jaw, or move your neck, arms and legs. Imaging testing is also used, depending on the circumstances, CT or MRI scans.
Your doctor can help you reduce the noise by removing earwax, treating any blood vessel conditions, or changing the medications to manage the symptoms. Noise suppression may also be useful by using white noise machines, hearing aids, or other masking devices. Though medication cannot cure tinnitus, it can help deal with the severe symptoms. Such medication includes tricyclic antidepressants, like amitriptyline and nortriptyline. As well as alprazolam or Xanax. If you suspect you are living with tinnitus, call the ENT Specialists where we can rule it out or confirm this condition and help you better manage your symptoms.
There are many options in plastic surgery including injections, laser treatments and traditional surgery. The number of options when it comes to traditional surgery has led to some misconceptions and these myths can lead to confusion about certain procedures. The procedure that seems to have the most misconceptions is the facelift.
Will Facelift Results Look Shiny & Unnatural?
Facelifts of old delivered results that looked “windswept”. Many people are scared to have a facelift because they don’t want that look! No one wants to have a face that looks surprised all the time. You can be rest assured this result is a thing of the past. Newer techniques focus on cutting away extra skin and tightening underlying muscles instead of tightening the skin to create a more natural look. There are also options to combine a facelift with other procedures such as injections, to avoid having too much work done and creating an unnatural look.
Will there Be Excessive Swelling After Facelift Surgery?
While a facelift does have a longer recovery time than other procedures, it’s not as long as you may think. There will be bruising and swelling, and you will be in bandages for a few days. The bruising and swelling can last for a few weeks but you probably only need a couple of weeks of downtime. Most patients only need two weeks before they can return to normal activity with a little help from some makeup.
Are Facelifts Only for 60 & 70 Year Olds?
Facelifts are not just for older people. The surgery can be done in your 40s or 50s to produce even better results. In fact, waiting too long means there are more signs of aging that a facelift just can’t help. Results can also look unbalanced when coupled with more signs of aging. Older patients might have to have more than one procedure done to get the look they would have gotten if they had down the facelift earlier.
Do Non Surgical Injections Produce the Same Results as Facelift Surgery?
Injections are very helpful in combatting the signs of aging, but they aren’t the same as a facelift. Injections are easier and faster but not as effective as a facelift. Injections can’t tighten the skin and reduce sagging and looseness like a facelift can.
Do Facelifts Last Forever?
Unfortunately, no facelifts do not last forever. A facelift can reverse the signs of aging, but it cannot stop the hands of time. The results will last a long time, but your face will continue to age. Many patients can enjoy the results of a facelift for about a decade. The best way to have long-lasting results is to listen to your surgeon’s recovery instructions and avoid sun exposure as much as you can. Make sure you wear sunscreen, eat a healthy diet and stay in shape to slow the signs of aging on your face.
Allergies are the worst! An allergic reaction happens when your body responds to a substance it is extra sensitive to. For some people it’s a food allergy like peanuts, for others it’s an environmental allergen like pollen.
You should first determine if you have an allergy. Symptoms associated with allergies can be the same as those of the cold or flu. This leads many people to treat lingering sinusitis with over-the-counter medications rather than trying to figure out what the real problem is. The length of time you’re dealing with symptoms can help you determine if it’s actually allergies. Cold or flu symptoms usually clear up between a few days up to a week or two. The symptoms of allergies can go on for months. Also, an allergy will also most likely be accompanied by an itchy throat, eyes or ears, whereas this isn’t always present with a cold.
Dealing with Allergy Symptoms
It’s a good idea to start taking allergy medication before pollen season starts so your body can start building up a tolerance before the symptoms kick in. Take these medications about 30 minutes before you’ll be spending time outside. You can talk to your medical professional if you find that the medication isn’t working as well as it used to so it can be adjusted. Let your medical professional know if you have a persistent cough or chest problem. It’s important to rule out any infections or an underlying medical condition. Tightness in the chest can be an indication of asthma that needs to be treated differently. Steam, humidity and heat can break down mucus and relieve congestion and can make allergy symptoms easier to live with. You can try steaming or a sinus rinse. You can also try a neti pot for nasal irrigation. Saline solution can be mixed and used with a neti pot or other irrigation devices.
Clean to Relieve Allergies
Cleaning can go a long way in reducing allergy symptoms. The less dust and pollen you have in your home, the better. Vacuum often if your home has carpet and consider replacing it with tile or hardwood if allergy symptoms are really bad. Don’t forget the baseboards as they can collect dust. Wipe them off regularly and be watchful of mold in damp, rainy environments. You can minimize the amount of pollen you bring into your home by taking your shoes off at the door. Take a shower and change your clothes when you come home at the end of the day. You may assume that pollen and dust from the outside are your only triggers. There are plenty of indoor triggers that can be causing your symptoms. Dust mites, pet dander and mold can make allergy symptoms worse. Clean regularly to minimize indoor allergens.
To help the brain get a better understanding of the movement and positioning of your body, it takes many different organs communicating with it. Your sense of balance can easily be affected when the signals sent are thrown off. In close relation to your ears, vertigo is a balance disorder that can be properly treated with your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. With the help of your medical specialists, you can effectively find the cause and the best solution for treating the underlying issue. We at ENT Specialists would like to elaborate on the basics of vertigo to help patients better understand what is going on and how it is treated.
What is a Vertigo Attack?
Even when the room is perfectly still, the sensation of being off-balance is the simplest way to describe vertigo. It is triggered sometimes by head movements or shifting while you’re lying down as it comes in sudden bouts. Resulting in that off-balance sensation, the bouts triggering the spinning, rocking or tilting is because the signals from the inner ear to the brain don’t match with the reality.
Where the primary symptom of vertigo is the off-balance sensation, there are several associated with it as well. Vertigo’s dizziness and a very distinct to light-headedness and a fainting feeling are frequently accompanied by one or multiple symptoms that include:
– Migraine headaches
– Profuse sweating
– Inner ear pressure
– Anxiety or panic attacks
– Your eyes having involuntary movement or twitching
– Physical or emotional exhaustion
– Tinnitus (ringing in your ears) or changes to your hearing
There is a strong indication you have a vertigo problem if you feel one or more of these after the off-balance feeling bouts.
What Causes Vertigo
The cause of vertigo can be due to a number of reasons. Suffering a trauma to the head or neck or being on certain medications are a few examples of short-term causes. One of the most cases is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. BPPV is the most common and is set in motion when tiny calcium particles in the ear move out of place. The hair cells in the inner ear have these calcium particles stuck to them where compromised hair cells transmit signals to the brain. Another common cause of vertigo is inflammation from infections and non-cancerous tumors in the ear. Also characterized primarily by vertigo is Meniere’s disease, an ear health condition.
Vertigo Medication & Treatment
Your ear, nose and throat doctor can recommend a wide range of treatments that are dictated to your particular details. The right treatment is prescribed for the underlying cause and seriousness of your vertigo. To help those with Meniere’s disease, often medication can help, whether it’s antibiotics to clear out infections or diuretics. In cases of BPPV or help to retrain the system that conveys your sense of movement and balance, there is a spectrum of movement and exercise programs that shift calcium particles from the hair cells or the inner ear. Surgery may be necessary for some patients to help to drain an infection or to remove a tumor pressing on the inner ear as well. If you suspect that you are combating vertigo, ENT Specialists can help you find cause and the right course of treatment to help you find relief. Call our office today for your appointment.
If or the person sleeping next to you has a snoring problem, no one is getting a good night’s sleep. There are few things that are as irritating than trying to sleep through someone else’s snoring problem. When it comes to snoring, there are several underlying causes; some are easily fixed while others are more complex. ENT Specialists is here to talk about the most common reasons people may be snoring in hopes to help everyone get a more restful night’s sleep.
Why are You Snoring?
When you are snoring at night, it isn’t only effecting the sleep of the person that is trying to sleep through it, but the actual person that is snoring as well. When you snore, you may find that even after sleeping all night, you are tired and lacking energy the next day. Here are some of the reasons you may be losing sleep at night due to snoring.
– Why Do Old People Snore?: Have you noticed that several older people snore when they sleep? It’s true, as people age, they tend to snore more. This is because their throat muscles and tongue are more relaxed with age. This causes more vibration as they inhale and also causes snoring.
– Sleeping Positions Can Cause Snoring: If you find that you snore when you are sleeping in a certain position, usually on your back, you are known as a “side dependent sleeper.” It may take some time, but most people are able to train themselves to either sleep on their side or on their stomach to avoid snoring at night.
– Snoring Due to Throat & Nose Issues: Certain conditions in the nose and throat can cause people to snore at night. Some of them include deviated septum, nasal polyps or enlarged tonsils & adenoids. All of these issues can be treated by a doctor. Even people that have severe allergies will find that they snore at night; or people that are experiencing a head cold and have severe congestion.
– Alcohol Consumption & Snoring: Many people used to believe that drinking some alcohol before going to bed is the best way to get a good night’s sleep. Now, with more studies, we are finding that is actually the opposite. Alcohol works to relax the muscles in your throat and neck which causes vibrations as you breathe at night. Likewise, you could see the same problem if you take a muscle relaxant just before turning in for the night.
– Being Overweight Can Cause Snoring: If you are overweight, you could solve your snoring problem by simply losing some excess pounds. Sometimes it’s only a matter of losing 5-10 pounds in order to get rid of snoring.
As we go through life we are bound to have different health problems that pop up. Some of the issues that arise are large and life changing. Others are small and simple to take care of. It is in our best interest to take of our bodies no matter how large or small the issue is. An example of a small problem that you may experience is skin tags. Here at the ENT Specialists we offer a service that can help you get rid of any skin tags that you may have on your body. Today we want to teach you more about what skin tags are and what to do about them.
What are Skin Tags? Acrochordon Definition
Let’s start by talking more about what skin tags are. The medical term for skin tags is acrochordons. They are small growths of tissue that stick out from the surface of the skin. Most of the time they are the same color as your skin or just a little bit darker. Most of the time they are rather small but sometimes they grow larger. Most do not grow more than 3 centimeters in size.
Where on Body Do Skin Tags Grow?
Most of the time skin tags do not cause any pain or discomfort. When they do cause pain or discomfort it is typically because they are rubbing against clothing or jewelry. There are some spots where skin tags are more likely to grow. They like to grow on the folds of the skin where moisture and friction are common. Common places for skin tags are on the eyelids, on the neck, under your arms, in the armpit region, under your breast, on the torso, and near your genitals.
What Causes Skin Tags
If you have skin tags you probably are curious about why you get skin tags. Research has been inconclusive about the cause of skin tags. There do seem to be a few common risk factors though. Research done at the Cleveland Clinic shows that women are more likely than men to get skin tags. Typically skin tags start to appear when you hit middle age. It is just a common skin ailment that is related to getting older. There appears to be a genetic predisposition to skin tags as well. If you have family members with skin tags you are more likely to get them as well. There are also some other health issues that seem to be linked to skin tags. If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, hormonal imbalances, or a metabolic syndrome you may be more likely to develop skin tags as well.
How to Get Rid of Skin Tags
If you develop skin tags there are a few different ways to get rid of them. You can try to get rid of them yourself. Some people have luck with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, oregano oil, iodine, garlic, vitamin E, banana peels, castor oil and baking soda, cinnamon supplements, and improving their diet. Sometime these methods do not work though and you will need medical attention. Trying to get rid of them is not always a safe option though. If you have skin tags around your eyes you definitely want to seek medical treatment. You also do not want to try any methods unless you know that they are definitely skin tags. They may be cancerous and you will want a doctor’s care to determine if further action is needed.
Have you ever had a bad cold that leads to your voice feeling stressed and strained all the way to not getting any noise out when you talk? This is what people call losing their voice and there are several reasons this can occur. Your voice is a tool you can use to communicate and it uses muscles as well as your vocal cords to make the noise that forms sounds. When you cannot talk you have to use creative methods to get your point across. There are some people that seem to lose their voice more often and this can be a sign that there are underlying problems. You want to make sure you keep track of things like this so that you can talk to your doctor. And you want to make sure that you do what you can to prevent any damage that may be permanent. ENT Specialists outlines what could be causing your voice to go hoarse or to make you lose your voice.
Virus Can Cause a Hoarse Voice
One of the main causes of a person losing their voice happens to be from some minor illness. Everyone has been in a position where they wake up with a tickle in their throat. Maybe you have a stuffy nose or your eyes are feeling itchy. These are all signs of allergies but can also be the onset of a viral infection as well. This is not usually a big deal and many times it does not require any medical treatment. The infections that you might have are laryngitis as well as many forms of the flu. The illness can have an effect on the vocal cords as well as the larynx. The virus will cause them to become inflamed and that is what will cause the change in your voice. The sound may feel strained all the way to not allowing almost any sound out at all. The best treatment when this is the cause it to drink lots of fluids and be sure to rest your vocal cords as much as you can.
Hoarse Voice Due to Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition that some people that is usually referred to as heartburn. It is called that because it can feel like there is a burning in your chest and it can then cause burning in your throat as well. The reason is that the gastric fluid that is full of acid will come back up your esophagus and that will create what is called acid reflux. This can then start to cause your voice to become hoarse from the acid damaging the cords. You want to make sure that you see a doctor about treatment for it and to keep it under control.
Vocal Cord Lesions
You also might have a problem with lesions or even masses on your vocal cords if you start to notice that you have a raspy voice in between bouts of losing your voice. The lesions can restrict the movement of the cords and that will then create a change in the voice. It is good idea to have our throat checked for any growths, lesions and masses and make sure that they are treated and found the reason for their presence.
Doctors often recommend ear tube placement for children plagued with constant infections in both ears or one of the ears, nose and throat. This procedure consists of inserting a small pressure equalization (PE) tube which is designed to alleviate pressure and drain trapped fluid. To make a small incision in the ear drum, the otolaryngologist uses a surgical microscope and the myringotomy, or ear tube placement, is an outpatient procedure. Within a few days, the incision in the ear drum would naturally heal without the ear tube. To equalize the pressure in the ear and in order to allow fluid in the middle ear to drain, the tube keeps the hole open. There are many questions parents have regarding the procedure, especially how the tubes are removed after the problem is rectified. With this in mind, we at ENT Specialists would like to clarify the basics, including how the tube is removed once it is no longer needed.
Eustachian Tube Treatments
Ear tubes are used to treat several conditions, such as chronic and recurrent ear infections, known as otitis media; persistent, antibiotic-resistant bacterial ear infections; residual fluid buildup in the middle of the ear following an ear infection that has been cleared for months; and Eustachian tube dysfunction, a condition that causes blockage or dysfunction in the tube that travels from the ear down the back of the throat. Typically, short-term ear tubes are only in place 6-18 months where long-term tubes can remain in place for years.
Ear Tube Removal
As the ear drum heals, generally the tubes are naturally pushed out. They will then slide out of the ear canal; most patients are unaware when the tubes are gone. Ear tubes can uncommonly get trapped in the ear and do not slide out on their one as they are trapped in wax buildup in the ear canal. During follow-up appointments, your specialists will closely examine your ear drum. Should the tube become displaced through the course of natural healing and become contained in the ear wax, the specialists will use micro instruments to gently remove it during your follow-up appointments. In rare cases, the tube remains in the ear drum after it is no longer required; when this occurs, a brief procedure may be needed to remove it. Because the tube has stayed in the ear drum, the surgical incision has not been able to heal or close. If the specialists need to remove the tube manually, they may ensure the hole is closed as well.
Placement of Ear Tubes
Your child can be spared from series of painful, chronic ear infections with a simple myringotomy procedure. Additionally, adults can benefit from the fluid build-up from the middle of the ear as well and find relief. If you feel you or your child may benefit from ear tube placements, call the professionals of the ENT Specialists and we will evaluate and consult with you about your concerns and find the right treatment.
Most rely on their voices for communication, humming their favorite tune, or singing at karaoke night. When there is abnormality to our voices, many people can feel a little anxious. Where there can be many issues that lead to losing your voice, there are others more common. Today, we at the ENT Specialists would like to elaborate on vocal cord nodules.
Vocal Cord Lesions
Growths that include nodules, polyps, and cysts are vocal cord lesions, otherwise known as vocal fold lesions which are benign (noncancerous). Usually this condition associated with vocal overuse or vocal cord trauma and commonly lead to hoarseness.
Vocal Cord Nodules
Frequently the result from repetitive overuse or misuse of the voice, vocal cord nodules, sometimes called singer’s nodules or nodes are callous-like growths that develop in the middle area of the vocal folds. Under the microscope, vocal cord nodules look like calluses are can occasionally be associated with abnormal blood vessels. Though this condition can develop in both men and women, ladies between the ages of 20 and 50 years old are more prone to vocal cord nodules.
Vocal Cord Polyp
Since they can occur on either one or both vocal cords, vocal cord polyps differ from nodules. They have more blood vessels and appear reddish in color as they tend to be more vascularized than nodules. Usually larger than nodules and resemble blisters, these growths can vary in size and shape. Polyps can be caused by overuse or misuse of the voice, much like vocal cord nodules, however, can also be caused by a single episode of vocal abuse; such as being overly vocal at a sporting event. Associated almost exclusively with smoking, another type of vocal cord polyp, polypoid corditis (Reinke’s edema).
Causes of Vocal Cord Nodules & Polyps
Both caused by different forms of trauma, vocal cord nodules and polyps can develop from the following:
– Singing – Especially in professional singers.
– Excessive talking – particularly for coach, teacher, salesperson or radio personality.
– Extra muscle tension from smoking, alcohol use, speaking, allergies, sinusitis, and rare hypothyroidism.
Vocal Cord Cyst
Having a sac around a fluid-filled or semisolid center, vocal cord cysts are growths and they are less common than vocal cord nodules and polyps. There are two types of cysts on the vocal cords; epidermoid, or sometimes referenced as sebaceous cysts, and retention cysts.
Vocal Cord Lesions
Vocal cord lesions Using the voice while sick with an upper respiratory infection or laryngitis, vocal cord lesions result in hoarseness, multiple tones, loss of vocal range, breathiness, vocal fatigue or loss of voice.
Describing their voice as harsh, raspy, or scratchy, patients with vocal cord nodules or polyps will likely experience easy vocal fatigue with use or there may be a decreased range of vocal sounds and voice breaks. They will also likely have frequent bouts of throat clearing, coughing, or general fatigue. Occasionally, they may feel a shooting pain from ear to ear, general neck pain or as a lump in the throat.