Our ear, nose, and throat are organs linked together in our heads that are prone to illnesses. Some of them are minor while others could lead to serious health conditions. When one of these organs encounters a problem, it can affect any of the other two.
If you notice a persistent runny nose, sore throat, or blocked ears, you may associate it with a common cold that won’t go away. But it could actually indicate an ear, nose, or throat problem that requires treatment. In this article, we talk more about the common signs and symptoms of an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) issue, and when you should see an ENT doctor.
Common Signs & Symptoms and What They May Indicate
A runny nose may indicate illnesses such as sinusitis or allergic reactions. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavities due to allergens, it could be a chronic or acute condition. Any reaction to pollutants in the environment can also cause allergy or allergic rhinitis. Acute problems can sometimes go away without treatment.
Sore throats can be a sign of abscess, tonsillitis, and other ailments. Abscess is the formation of pus beneath or near one of the tonsils, while tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils in the back of your throat, usually caused by bacterial infection. Other symptoms such as swelling and difficulty swallowing may occur.
Coughing is our body’s natural response to an irritant in our throat or airways. Strep throat, bacterial tonsillitis, allergic reactions, or sinusitis may trigger coughs.
Many ENT conditions can lead to pain in your ear. For example, an ear infection, sinusitis, allergies, sore throat, excessive ear wax, and more. Some of these issues are minor, but others, such as ear infections, may develop into serious problems if left untreated. Infections can spread to the areas surrounding the ear and in some rare cases, even into the skull, resulting in meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord.
Hearing loss is frequently associated with loud sounds and believed to be untreated. However, it can also be caused by problems with the ear canal, ear drum, middle ear, or the bones around it. These issues may be treated by an ENT doctor.
Snoring is a common occurrence. However it can also point to a condition known as sleep apnea, which causes disruption in your breathing during sleep. It may have detrimental effects on your health if left untreated, and even bring about other symptoms such as dry throat, fatigue, morning headaches, and more.
Facing issues with balance? It could be a sign of vertigo, labyrinthitis, meniere’s disease, or other ailments. These usually occur due to infections or issues with the inner ear
Nasal congestion, or blocked nose, may stem from an irritation of the nasal tissues. They include the common cold, acute or chronic sinusitis, allergies, structural abnormalities such as deviated septum and more.
Hoarseness is an abnormal change in your voice that makes it sound strained, weak, and raspy. It is usually the result of acute laryngitis, which is a viral infection in your breathing tract that causes swelling in your vocal cords.
Throat clearing may arise when you’re suffering from acid reflux, allergies, environmental irritants, or asthma. When left untreated, it can become a damaging bad habit. Trauma caused by constant throat clearing may lead to redness and swelling of your vocal cords, or small growths that may affect your voice quality in the future.
Many ear, nose, and throat conditions don’t cause alarming symptoms, and it depends on your own observation skills to determine whether you need a trip to the ear, nose, and throat clinic. If your