Posts for tag: ENT
It’s true. We are going deaf.
Research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has determined that hearing loss is a growing problem in the US. They project that by 2060 2/3 of older people will have hearing loss.
The tragedy is that much of this can be avoided by protecting your ears from loud sounds. An ounce of prevention (ear plugs) is better than a pound of cure (hearing aids). The time to start protecting your hearing is now.
The jury is still out about the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems. Their manufacturers have proposed them as a “safe” alternative to tobacco smoke. But are they? A recent review of the scientific and medical literature on the subject (Palazzolo DL (2013) Electronic cigarettes and vaping: a new challenge in clinical medicine and public health. A literature review. Front. Public Health 1:56. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2013.00056) didn’t reveal much. There is no evidence yet of harm reduction. There definitely is no sign that they decrease cigarette smoking or increase quit rates.
We don’t even know what happens to the lungs when this vapor is inhaled. Do the flavorings cause harm, or not? What is the level of inhaled nicotine relative to cigarettes? Is second hand vapor better or worse than second hand smoke? All of these questions remain to be answered. And likely over time they will be.
I hope that vaping does turn out to be a safe alternative to tobacco smoking. But, in the long run, neither is your best bet. As hard as it may be to quit, your life and health improve in the absence of nicotine.
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
Image from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1869)
Q Tips are bad!
Somebody finally confirmed what ENT’s and audiologists have been telling you all along. Quit cleaning your ears. That wax is not “dirty” but is important to your ear canal skin. It helps the ear canal stay healthy, repels bacterial invaders, and filters our dust and dirt that might otherwise get stuck in there. I know, it feels REALLY good. But you are more likely to cause a problem than solve one with a Q-Tip (apologies to Johnson and Johnson).
Check out the USA Today article here. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/01/05/now-hear-stop-cleaning-your-ears/96193598/
Mark Brown, MD, FACS
There is such a pervasive and unnecessary stigma surrounding hearing aids. Hearing loss affects all ages, not just the elderly. If you can’t hear well you can be socially isolated. Work and productivity suffer if you miss instructions from your boss on your new assignment. Your friends and family can be frustrated that you require special assistance with normal conversation.
Hearing aids are small, hard to see, and improve your life. They are not issued with Dentucreme©, Arthritis strength aspirin, or a walker. They can make a huge difference if you need them. Don’t let old prejudices keep you from making the most of yourself both personally and professionally.
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Dr.Paige Peterson, audiologist, and the Audiology Department offer hearing aids and tinnitus solutions that are appropriate for your individual needs. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.
Recently, the "neti pot," and nasal irrigation in general, have gained widespread interest in the United States after a Segment on Oprah. The practice of nasal irrigation is actually centuries old. For instance, "Jala meti" is the Hindu ritual of cleaning the nasal passages with lukewarm salt water. Despite the fact that nasal irrigation is eons old, some questions are still relevant:
- Is there a salt to water ratio that is ideal? Evidence shows that a hypertonic saline solution is best.
- Is there a downside to irrigating too much? Some research implies it may be counterproductive at some point.
- What exactly happens when you irrigate? See Below
While these are compelling questions, most people who have found a place for nasal irrigation in their routine sinus hygene do not ponder these questions any more than they ponder how taking a shower works.
To maximize your benefit from nasal irrigation, it helps to know a little nasal physiology. The nasal cavity, including the paranasal sinus spaces, is an area much larger than just the nostrils. Think grapefruit size. This space is lined with specilized skin called mucosa. It has two moving parts, the mucus and the cilia.
Mucus originates from mucus glands near the surface of the mucosa. Mucus is a fluid layer that covers the entire side of our nose and sinuses. That is why healthy mucosa is always wet. The mucosa needs to have mucus on its surface the same way that the surface of the earth requires atmosphere to sustain human life. The nasal mucosa typically produces 1.5 liters of mucus every day. It functions as a first line of defense for our immune system. It captures particles like pollen or dust in the air we breathe, isolating and removing them from our breathing surfaces.
Cilia are microscopic cells that reside on the surface of mucosa. Under magnifications, collectively, they look like fields of wheat being blown by the wind. When fucntioning normally, they act like millions of organized oars that move the mucus "downriver." Usually, the cilia beat in a pattern that pushes the mucus backward through the sinus and nasal cavities until it ends up in the thrat where it is swallowed. The cilia, like your heart, are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, sometimes these cilia malfunction. Injury to cilia can occur from smoke, viral infections and sometimes the mucus becomes overloaded with dust or allergens and is too thick to be removed. This can be likened to attempting to stir a paint can with a feather. In rare instances a person can be born with defective cilia.
When you consider how the nose works at keeping itself clean, it is a little easier to appreciate how nasal irrigation assists this normal function. It makes the work a little easier onthe cilia nad helps promote the self-cleaning action of the mucus. We will continue to discuss some of the practical ways you can make nasal irrigation work for you in another blog.
Barry Castaneda, PA-C
Barry Castaneda, PA-C is a Physician Asssitant at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Barry Castaneda treats disoders or the Ear,Nose and Throat for adult and pediatric patients. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.