Physician specializing in treatment of Sinus, Ear Disease, and Allergies, including in-office allergy testing, allergy shots, and treatment of sinus disease. As an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, Dr. Light offers a comprehensive approach to the management of nasal and sinus disorders. Get information about the same in this blog.
Sunny weather, beautiful
plant life, and warm temperatures are what we appreciate living in Boynton
Beach and South Florida in general. No winter worries, accept for those few
chillier than normal days each year. Although we are fortunate to live this tropical
lifestyle, there is a downside to our climate. Allergies are something that
many Boynton Beach residents have to
endure throughout the year.
When is Allergy Season in South Florida?
Unlike most allergy
seasons in the US, our warmer weather and long summer cause flowers to bloom
longer and continue producing pollen long after their northern cousins have
stopped. In fact, allergy season in Boynton Beach can last from spring well
Symptoms of Late Spring / Early Summer Allergies in
The symptoms of allergies
can be pretty uncomfortable regardless of the time of year! If your on the 12th
fairway at Hunters Run or trying to sink a putt at Leisureville golf club and
your eyes are itchy and watering, it makes it difficult to play your ‘A’ game.
Even trying to shop at Publix or in Boynton Beach Mall is challenging when you
are sneezing and constantly patting a runny nose. Look for the following
symptoms if you think you may be having an allergic reaction to a high pollen
count or mold:
Allergy Symptoms May Include…
Itchy and watery eyes
At Light ENT in Boynton Beach, we test can help you determine whether or not you have allergies. By
reviewing a history of your symptoms, evaluating your diet, exercise, and your
overall lifestyle habits, one of our ENTs can determine if you are suffering from an allergy.
The best way to confirm you are suffering from allergies is to
have an allergy test.
Allergy shots and immunotherapy are the best options for treatment and are
both available at our Boynton Beach office. At home treatment programs are
obtainable if office hours are not convenient for you.
In many ways, allergies
have similar symptoms to colds and the flu! Symptoms lasting over two weeks may
indicate that allergy problems are occurring.
Allergies are the result
of an allergic reaction to something in the environment. Fortunately, there are
ways to reduce your exposure and help make your spring, summer, and fall a
The Effects of Noise on Your Hearing and Your Health
What You Are Hearing Can Hurt You
In the past, your parents may have scolded you about playing your music too loud or turning up the television at high volumes. Damage to your hearing was their concern. It’s been known for years that excessive decibels over long periods of time can damage your hearing. Further research has brought to light another issue, however. Everyday environmental noise that may or may not be bothersome can cause health problems. Dr. Light feels this study is important to pay attention to. Your hearing is his priority. Take a close look at the effects of noise on your health and hearing.
Increasing Blood-Pressure and Cholesterol Numbers
Your workplace may have noisy conditions, including factories and warehouses. Recent research revealed that workers exposed to loud noises for four hours a day during several days each week will have higher cholesterol and blood-pressure numbers. The theory behind these negative results is reactions to stress. A body under chronic stress will react with rapid heart rates and survival instincts. The body tends to store fat, including blood cholesterol, when the tissues are under strain.
Impacting Your Cardiovascular Health
If you live in an urban environment, the hum of the city may be causing heart-related incidents. Irregular heartbeats were found among many people living around city sounds that might include trains, car horns and yelling. The constant sounds negatively impact the heart, which can lead to cardiovascular strain or even strokes.
Open up the windows around the house, and ambient noise might be the norm. It may quiet a bit during the night, but many urban areas are plagued with constant noise. Noisy nights equate to lost sleep, which leads to obesity, diabetes and other health issues. Everyone needs quality sleep or else you compensate for the lost energy with junk food and excessive coffee volumes.
Making Poor Dietary Choices
Obesity is a serious health concern for every age. Noisy environments tend to encourage poor dietary choices. Go to a bar, and you’re eating greasy foods with high-fat dips. Enjoy a quiet bistro, however, and salad or fruit options tend to rule the ordering habits.
Your children and grandchildren may be at risk for hearing loss too. Noise doesn’t discriminate on age. Young children in noisy environments tend to do poorly on their reading tests, suggests recent studies. They need quiet environments for their brains to expand and absorb their studies. Closing the windows and creating white noise, such as a blowing fan, might improve their grades.
Getting Serious About Ear Protection
Protect yourself and loved ones by carrying hearing protection at all times. Today’s earplugs have advanced designs so that they’re comfortable to wear while allowing you to carry on conversations. They simply filter out the ambient noise. Wear hearing protection at work too. Your employer should supply the protection in these cases. Turn down the volume on those earbuds as well. Your hearing health is just as important as any other sense.
Meeting With an ENT Professional
Noise pollution affects everyone. Ideally, meet with an ENT professional at least once a year as you enjoy your golden years. Dr. Light confirms all of these facts surrounding noise and your health. Work alongside this professional so that you can prevent further hearing loss. One consultation sets you on a path toward a healthier you.
Dr. Light remains passionate about this subject as his schooling and experience reflect on his ENT professionalism. If you have any concern about your hearing health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Light today at 561-349-6621. He’s proud to serve the communities of Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, Florida.
Hearing Loss Left Untreated Can Have Damaging Effect on Cognitive Function
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Function Hearing loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. Different from the damage that occurs from concerts or noisy workplaces, age-related hearing loss can manifest itself a little bit differently, such as problems when there is increased background noise.
As of today, we have no way to reverse this process, but with the advent of technologies like hearing aids, there's no need to simply resign yourself to years of unhappiness thanks to hearing loss. In fact, in my years of experience, I've observed that doing so can cause much more trouble than just minor annoyances. Hearing loss left untreated can actually damage your brain!
According to a recent article in the New York Times, research by Johns Hopkins University, which surveyed over 150,000 adults over the age of fifty, untreated hearing loss increases the risk of developing dementia by an extraordinary fifty percent. A combination of social isolation, your brain working overtime to process a message it isn't receiving clearly, and increased difficulty in remembering that message due to lack of clarity all lead into the characteristic symptoms of the disease.
Your brain is overloaded with trying to process information, but isn't getting the same positive engagement thanks to social isolation (little point in heading out to the Wick Theater in Boca Raton if you can't hear the actors!), and so it burns out.
That social isolation, by the way, often makes older people more depressed as well. The same study found that untreated hearing loss increases risk of depression by forty percent, and the reason for that is simple: not only are you unable to fully participate in activities you used to love, conversation with others also becomes a struggle, and you may find that you aren't truly engaging with people the way you would like to.
Accidents, especially falls, are another problem faced by those with untreated hearing loss. You may startle more easily, because you cannot hear when someone is approaching, and this may lead to a fall. The risk is compounded by the fact that your sense of balance is governed by your ears. Damage to that system can result in a nasty tumble, and especially as you get older, those falls can lead to more serious injuries and even emergency room trips. As one of the authors of the study puts it,
“hearing loss itself is not very expensive, the effect of hearing loss on everything else is expensive.”
If any of this resonates with you, feel free to give my office a call or click here to set up a consultation. I'm here to help you not only avoid turning minor annoyances into serious problems, but also to improve your quality of life and time spent doing the things you love, with the people you love.
Palm Beach County’s population swells this time of year for one major reason…the wonderful climate. And with sunshine practically year-round, being outdoors is part of the lifestyle. The moderate temperatures have a downside though – chronic allergies. Dr. Joshua P. Light is a double board-certified otolaryngologist who offers a wide array of allergy treatment options including immunotherapy.
What Causes Allergies?
Pollen is the leading cause of allergies in Palm Beach County. While the rest of the country experiences colder temperatures and snow, trees and grasses are releasing pollen. Some of the most common sources of chronic allergies are:
The symptoms that you experience in response to these allergens is triggered by an hyper-reaction from your body. Your body tries to expel the allergens through sneezing, mucus production, tearing eyes and coughing.
Treatment for Chronic Allergies
The most common method of treating chronic and seasonal allergies in the Boynton Beach area is to take medications, either by prescription or over-the-counter from your Delray Beach CVS or Boynton Beach Walgreens. These medications aim to provide relief from your symptoms, but many people are dissatisfied with this option because the effects are short-term.
Also known as immunologic desensitization, immunotherapy is a treatment approach that helps your body build a tolerance to certain allergens. As your tolerance increases, you are less likely to have the normal hyper-reaction when exposed to pollen and grasses.
Benefits of Immunologic Desensitization
The non-prescription medications that you use for your allergies can only help you manage the symptoms. Using these products does not change your allergy sensitivity. Immunologic desensitization essentially trains your body not to react to specific allergens. You may experience fewer allergic episodes, be less dependent on medications and be able to spend more time outdoors. Immunologic desensitization is also considered a more cost-effective approach to treatment.
The Procedure for Immunotherapy
Immunologic desensitization for allergy treatment involves having injections that contain a small amount of the allergen that causes your allergic reaction. The amount of the allergen in the dosage is small enough to not trigger a severe reaction, but adequate for your body to detect the allergen. Using this approach allows your body to more properly manage the allergen.
As you continue with the injections, your tolerance builds and you are more able to manage allergens while outdoors and in other environments. Dr. Light recommends that you start this type of allergy treatment a few months before the Palm Beach County allergy season begins about October. You can continue the injections for up to three years until you reach the desired level of tolerance in your body.
Is Immunologic Desensitization Safe for Children?
Children can have treatments for immunological desensitization. Dr. Light adapts the treatment protocol to safely help your child overcome the hyper-reaction to allergens. Some research has shown that children who are treated with immunological desensitization for one allergen are less likely to develop allergies to other substances, and they may also have a lower risk for asthma.
To learn more about immunologic desensitization and our other treatments for conditions that affect the ears, nose and throat, contact us to schedule an appointment with double board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Joshua P. Light at our Boynton Beach office.
Tinnitus, which is characterized by a seemingly phantom ringing in the ears, is a common problem. While it can be a sign of hearing loss, of the nearly 30 million Americans with the condition, 44% haven’t experienced a decline in hearing.
Tinnitus can be caused by several things, from something as simple as a buildup of ear wax to something far more serious, like a head injury.
Anyone who experiences tinnitus beyond the occasional, random occurrence should be examined by a doctor. The cause could be something mild and easily treatable, but it could also be a sign of permanent hearing loss, damage to the inner ear or an underlying health condition. Only a qualified doctor, like an ENT, can properly diagnose the cause.
Since tinnitus is considered a symptom, anything that further aggravates the underlying cause is going to make it worse. The constant ringing or chirping is bad enough without additional stimuli to amplify the severity.
Regardless of the cause, there are several things – commonly referred to as tinnitus triggers – that almost always make it worse.
The 5 Most Common Tinnitus Triggers Explained
Unless there is an underlying treatable cause, most people with tinnitus will be prone to repeated occurrences throughout their life. And even when a treatable cause is identified, the unpleasant symptom can be bothersome during treatment. In both cases, it’s important to take steps to avoid triggers that could make it worse.
Here are 5 most common tinnitus triggers:
Noise – Excessively loud noise, like what you might encounter at a construction site or concert, can cause short term ringing in the ears. It can also make existing tinnitus worse. On the other side of this is silence. Silence itself won’t make it worse, but the lack of background noise can make the ringing more noticeable.
Excessive Ear Wax – Earwax is normal and acts as a protective barrier that keeps the inner ear safe from bacteria, dust and other irritants. Earwax usually makes its way out of the ear on its own, but in the case of an overproduction, the accumulation of earwax can put pressure on the eardrum and affect the way it vibrates.
Stress and Fatigue – Most people with tinnitus say that it gets worse when they’re tired or stressed. Headaches, inflammation and additional pressure in the ear area are common when stress and fatigue are present and can contribute to a worsening of symptoms.
Medications – Certain medications can affect on the inner ear. These medications include NSAIDS, certain antibiotics and some antidepressants. If you think tinnitus might be worse because of a medication, speak with your doctor before discontinuing treatment on your own.
Smoking cigarettes – Smoking works as a vasoconstrictor that narrows the blood vessels. In some cases, the lack of oxygenated blood that reaches the inner ear can induce or exaggerate tinnitus.
Learn More About Tinnitus and What Makes It Worse
Tinnitus is not a symptom to ignore. Not only is the constant ringing bothersome, it can also be a sign of hearing loss or other health issues. Often, it can be treated, but only if the underlying cause is identified. This can’t happen without the help of an ENT specialist experienced with Tinnitus patients. You don’t have to live with the ringing. Contact our office today at (561) 349-6624 to learn more about tinnitus and your treatment options.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that is caused when your throat relaxes during sleep, obstructs your breathing, and prevents your body from taking in more oxygen. Over 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and almost 80% of cases that are moderate to severe go undiagnosed.
The 3 Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common and manifests when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and obstruct airflow, which results in snoring.
Central Sleep Apnea – Central Sleep Apnea is much more serious. It occurs when the brain does not send the correct information to the throat. This can lead to a laundry list of problems, including chronic fatigue, excessive daytime drowsiness, and nighttime chest pains.
Complex Sleep Apnea – Complex Sleep Apnea needs to be treated immediately. It occurs when someone with central sleep apnea also has obstructive apnea, which disables breathing at night and can lead to suffocation.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
It’s often difficult to determine whether you’re suffering from obstructive or central sleep apnea since symptoms often overlap. For a proper diagnosis, you should see an otolaryngologist. This will also ensure you’re treated properly.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea include:
Periods at night when breathing completely stops, which is usually witnessed by another person
Abruptly awakening at night needing to catch your breath
Dry mouth and sore throat upon waking up
Headaches in the morning that are similar to a hangover
Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
Prolonged daytime sleepiness
Inability to focus
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is caused by a variety of different things. The most common, however, is due to inflammation caused by inhaling substances that irritate the throat, including smoking and allergies.
Other causes of sleep apnea are:
Swollen tonsils or adenoids
A deviated septum
Blocked nasal passageways
Consumption of alcohol before sleeping
Brain infection, stroke, and trauma to the neck can also cause sleep apnea.
How to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Some sleep apnea symptoms are acute and directly connected to activities like drinking or taking sleeping pills. In these types of situations, the symptoms will go away on their own.
Others, like blocked nasal passageways or a deviated septum, can be treated through minor surgery. Sadly, for causes related to asthma or allergies, there is no good way to permanently cure sleep apnea. There are, however, things you can do to alleviate the symptoms:
Sleeping on your side instead of on the back. This will cause your throat muscles to relax on the side, which leaves a larger opening for breathing.
Using nasal decongestants, which will open your nasal passageways.
Using inhalable steroids, which will keep your muscles firm longer.
There are also devices that you can place in your mouth at night to prevent your tongue from closing your throat.
Finding an Otolaryngologist in Boynton Beach & West Palm Beach
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, contact Joshua P. Light MD today at (561) 349-6825. Our team will take the time to learn more about your symptoms, get to the root of the problem, and set up an appropriate treatment plan.
Gradual hearing loss as we age is quite common. In fact, 50% of people over the age of 65 experience some degree of hearing loss. Often, gradual hearing loss begins with subtle signs, like having trouble hearing someone talk amidst background noise or feeling like the volume on the television is never quite loud enough. These symptoms might be barely recognizable as hearing loss at first, but as time progresses, it becomes more and more obvious that there’s an issue.
The most common first signs of hearing loss include:
Difficulty understanding spoken words, especially against background noise
Difficulty hearing or differentiating consonant sounds
Frequently asking others to repeat themselves or speak louder
Frequently asking others to speak more clearly
A general muffling of sounds, including speech
Needing to turn the up the volume higher than usual in the absence of additional background noise
Lack of participation in conversations
The realization that hearing loss is an issue brings with it both concern and confusion. Should you make an appointment with your regular doctor or try to see a specialist? What happens next? The right plan of action makes all the difference in the quality of treatment you receive.
How to Protect Your Hearing
The steps outlined here are intended for people who are experiencing gradual hearing loss. If hearing loss is a sudden event, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor to be seen right away. If your physician is unavailable, head directly to an emergency room for an assessment.
Step 1: Don’t Lie to Yourself about Hearing Loss – When hearing loss first occurs, it can be easy to sweep it under the rug and think it’s no big deal. Hearing loss is a very significant health issue on its own, but the underlying cause could stem from something even more serious. Hearing loss impacts your life and requires medical attention.
Step 2: Make an Appointment with a Hearing Specialist – Your regular doctor can do an initial check. You’ll need a specialist for a complete assessment and to help guide you through your treatment options, however.
Step 3: Learn What’s Covered Under Your Insurance Policy – Health insurance policies offer varying degrees of coverage for hearing loss services and devices like hearing aids. Learning what your coverage is will help you make the best possible decisions about your treatment.
Step 4: Consider Your Treatment Options and Stay Open to Change – Talk through all your options with your doctor and your family. Also, keep in mind that the first hearing aids you try might not be the best fit for your lifestyle. Stay open to new options.
Step 5: Don’t Keep It to Yourself – There’s no reason to hide your hearing loss. From a mental health perspective, it’s important to talk about your condition so that you feel supported.
Stop Suffering Alone with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can affect your physical and mental health, along with your quality of life. If you or someone you care about is showing signs of hearing loss, the time to act is now. Call our office today at (561) 349-6630 to schedule an appointment.
When springtime hits and flowers bloom, nothing is worse than coming down with a sinus infection. For many, permanent sinus disorders cause frequent discomfort throughout the year. Fortunately, most disorders are treatable.
Here are a few of the most common sinus disorders we see.
This disorder is characterized by the inflammation of air cavities within the passages of your nose. It can be caused by allergies, an infection, or irritation of the sinuses through other means. Symptoms include headaches, tenderness, pressure in the ears and teeth, fever, stuffiness, sore throat, coughing, swelling.
In most cases, a simple sinusitis treatment can relieve discomfort. If your case is problematic and ongoing, however, endoscopic sinus surgery is a possible solution. Your physician can assist in determining whether surgery is the right course of action for your treatment.
These are noncancerous growths that develop in the sinuses and cause blockage. Polyps (or cysts) are filled with water and may swell to the size of a grape. Anyone can suffer from nasal polyps, but they are frequently found in asthma patients.
Medication is a common treatment for polyps. Like sinusitis, endoscopic sinus surgery is a solution when traditional medication fails. Once your polyps clear, you’ll be able to breathe and smell normally.
In your nose, there is a portion of flesh separating the nostrils. This is called the septum. In many people, the septum is crooked – either from a nose-related injury or from birth. Those who suffer from a significantly deviated septum can experience serious blockage. Endoscopic sinus surgery is often required to restore breathing and straighten the septum.
Home Remedies to Increase Comfort
To treat common disorders like sinusitis, use acetaminophen, decongestants, and over-the-counter nasal irrigation. If your symptoms don’t improve within a week, see your physician as soon as possible – as something more serious can develop.
Doctors also recommend plenty of fluid and bed rest. Sinusitis can be stubborn. The longer you wait to treat it, the longer it can stick around.
The Balloon Sinuplasty
Those suffering from chronic sinus problems may find a balloon sinuplasty appealing. This minimally-invasive surgery removes no bone or tissue from the nose. Instead, doctors open your swollen and irritated sinuses the same way heart surgeons relieve blockages during a balloon angioplasty.
Contact a Florida Board Certified Physician for Assistance
If you’re suffering from a sinus disorder – or have experienced sinus-related symptoms – contact an experienced Florida board-certified physician at Light ENT. Dr. Joshua Light specializes in sinus and allergy treatment and has been nationally recognized as an expert in minimally-invasive techniques for managing chronic sinus problems. Call our office at (561) 737-8584.
Suffering from hearing loss can inhibit your social life, mood, and job performance – among other things. The introduction of a hearing aid can change the way you live, from the first thing you hear in the morning to the last thing you hear before bed.
A hearing aid is a small device that uses a microphone, amplifier, and speaker to generally improve hearing. The microphone receives sound, converts the sound to electrical signals, and sends those signals to the amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and sends them through a speaker to your ear.
Unfortunately, only 20% of those who might benefit from a hearing aid choose to use one. If you suffer from hearing loss, contact a Florida board-certified physician at Light ENT. Our team is dedicated to your treatment and care.
Aside from hearing improvement, there are numerous benefits of using a hearing aid, including:
#1: Improved Mood
With the assistance of a hearing aid, you’ll hear the sound of birds chirping, wind blowing, and friends calling your name. When you’ve gone without for so long, these little pleasures add up.
#2: Heightened Brain Function
According to recent studies, improved hearing has been linked to heightened brain function in those who suffer from hearing loss. Scientists are still exploring the details of this phenomenon, but you’ll benefit from faster thinking, increased focus, and better memory.
#3: Better Job Performance
It goes without saying that, in a work environment, you must follow the instructions of your supervisor at all times. When you suffer from hearing loss, this can be difficult – if not impossible – to do. Using a hearing aid can vastly improve your work performance, making it easier to complete important tasks on time.
#4: Improved Psychological Health
As your social and career-related skills begin to improve, your psychological health will follow. When your primary method of communication is speaking, few things are more frustrating than not being able to hear. Without this roadblock, stress is less potent.
#5: Heightened Social Skills
The better you hear, the better you respond! When you’re finally able to hear your friends and family, you may feel less anxious about communicating with them. Rather than asking for constant repetition, you’ll be able to have ongoing conversations without pause or frustration.
Contact a Florida Board Certified Physician for Assistance
No one deserves to suffer from ongoing hearing loss – especially when a proper hearing aid can make a significant difference. While a hearing aid may not improve your hearing completely, it will improve your social interactions and decrease your stress level.
If you suffer from hearing loss, contact a Florida board-certified physician at Light ENT. Dr. Joshua Light is a nationally-recognized expert with a subspecialty focus in the medical and surgical treatment of ear disease. We offer the option of implant hearing devices and maintain the latest hearing aid brands. Call (561) 737-8584.
Fighting allergies can be frustrating and exhausting. Instead of rolling over and letting pollination win, take action against your springtime blues by following a series of proven tips, including spending more time indoors, avoiding irritants, and keeping your lawn trimmed.
To learn more about allergy prevention – or to inquire about Florida allergy testing – contact Dr. Joshua Light at Light ENT. We redefine the health care of our patients by keeping them informed about their condition.
Spend Less Time Outside
During the spring season, plants release billions of grains of pollen into the air. For some individuals, breathing these grains can trigger an allergic reaction. If you regularly experience these reactions, consider staying inside on windy days and during the early morning, when pollen counts are highest.
Find Natural Relief
According to Web MD, there are dozens of natural remedies for allergies, including an extract called butterbur and a Chinese herbal formula called Biminne. You should, however, be cautious before starting a new method of treatment. Butterbur itself can cause an allergic reaction, while Biminne conflicts with diabetes medicine. The moral of the story? Speak to your physician first.
Change Your Habits
Small changes can make a big difference. Avoid wearing your shoes in the house, use an air conditioner rather than a fan, shut your windows to keep out pollen, and clean your floors with a vacuum that includes a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Finally, don’t hang your clothes outside to dry. All of these habits can help you avoid unnecessary pollen exposure.
While this cannot eliminate your symptoms altogether, wearing sunglasses can help keep pollen away from your eyes. Try large, dark glasses that wrap around your face, blocking as much pollen as possible.
According to Everyday Health, your allergies can be worsened when your sinuses are exposed to irritants like chemicals and smoke. Smoking can significantly worsen your symptoms, in addition to wood fires and wood-burning stoves. Avoid strong odors, perfumes, paint fumes, disinfectants, and air fresheners. All of these can cause an allergic reaction.
Trim Your Grass
The tidier your lawn, the less pollen you’ll encounter. Remember to always wear a dust mask while working outside to avoid breathing in pollen directly.
Shower Before Sleep
During the spring season, showering is your friend. You should hop in the shower to rinse off before bed and after spending a significant amount of time outdoors. This process will rinse off allergens that may be stuck to your skin and hair. You don’t need to shampoo every time you shower – a brief rinse should do the trick.
Visit a Florida Allergy Testing Center to Learn More
If you struggle with springtime allergies, we can help at Light ENT. Dr. Joshua Light is a double board-certified physician in Otolaryngology. He can help perform Florida allergy testing, in addition to creating a plan of attack that meets your specific needs. Contact Light ENT by calling (561)-349-6645.