How can you distinguish between a regular and a sinus-induced headache?
Sinus problems can be a real nuisance. While a stuffy nose, congestion and facial pressure may be part of the package, you may not realize that sinus problems could also be responsible for your headaches. If you are dealing with persistent or regular headaches, and you are also dealing with sinus issues, your headaches could be due to your sinuses. If this is the case, an ENT doctor can help you treat this common problem.
What causes a sinus headache?
When the nasal passages become congested, a sinus headache can start brewing. You may notice that you develop more sinus headaches during times of the year when your allergies flare up, or you may find that your headaches accompany a sinus infection. Along with allergies, other problems that could trigger a sinus headache include,
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infection (rare)
What are the signs of a sinus headache?
Along with inflamed sinuses, symptoms of a sinus headache are different from that of a tension headache. Signs of a sinus headache include,
- Nasal congestion
- Stuffy nose or runny nose
- Lack of smell
- Facial pressure often in the forehead
- Facial pain that gets worse when leaning over
- Yellow nasal discharge
How a sinus headache is treated will differ from migraines, so it’s essential to spot the differences. If you develop a severe headache accompanied by dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, vomiting or auras, these are telltale signs that you’re dealing with a migraine and not a sinus headache.
How is a sinus headache treated?
While most sinus infections will resolve without treatment, an ENT doctor will be able to provide you with lifestyle changes, medication options and other remedies that could ease your headache and other symptoms until the infection resolves itself. Some ways to treat sinus headaches include,
- Home remedies such as Neti Pot, saline irrigation, steam and a warm compress
- Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and pain medications
- Prescription medications include antihistamines, decongestants and nasal steroids
- Alternative treatment options such as essential oils, homeopathy, acupuncture and herbs
If headaches have become the norm, you may be surprised to discover that your sinuses are to blame. Of course, to get your headaches under control, you should also get your sinus problems under control. For that, you’ll want to turn to an otolaryngologist.
Recognize the early warning signs of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is incredibly common—the NIH reports that one in eight people in the US over the age of 12 years old has some degree of hearing loss. While hearing loss is more common among older adults, this doesn’t mean hearing loss can’t occur in young children, teens, or adults. The key is detecting hearing loss early on so an otolaryngologist can treat the problem and also take measures to prevent hearing loss from getting worse.
Everyone Seems Like They’re Mumbling
You used to be able to understand what people were saying to you but these days it seems like everyone around you is mumbling. While some people are simply soft-spoken if you find yourself having trouble understanding what most people around you are saying this could be a sign that they aren’t mumbling, but rather, that you’re dealing with some degree of hearing loss.
You Say “Huh” A Lot
Along with noticing that people around you are suddenly mumbling a lot more, you may also find yourself saying “What?” or “Huh?” to people a lot. If having people repeat themselves has become commonplace this is another telltale sign of hearing loss.
You Don’t Follow Conversations
When you don’t fully understand what people are saying around you it’s often easier just to tune it all out. The problem is that many people with hearing loss, particularly seniors, feel the social withdrawal that comes with not being part of the conversation. If you also find that noisy settings such as a crowded restaurants make it even more difficult to understand people and conversations, you may want to see your audiologist for a hearing evaluation.
Phone Conversations are More Difficult
Nothing is better than getting to catch up with family and friends on the phone unless you’re dealing with hearing loss. Even mild hearing loss can make it difficult to understand what someone else is saying on the phone. If you find yourself working hard to hear what someone is saying on the phone (or if you have to turn the volume all the way up) you may want to schedule a hearing test with an ENT.
If you are noticing changes in your hearing, it’s important that you turn to an otolaryngologist right away to learn about the cause and degree of your hearing loss, and whether you could benefit from a hearing aid.
Find out whether you might benefit from a hearing aid.
It might seem silly to ask yourself since it might seem obvious whether you need a hearing aid or not, but it’s not always as clear-cut as it seems. This is when it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who will be able to determine whether hearing aids are right for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you decide whether or not you might benefit from wearing a hearing aid:
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it sound like people around you mumble?
- Do you have to turn the volume up on the TV or radio to hear it?
- Do you need people to repeat themselves often?
- Is it difficult to understand people on the phone?
- Do you withdraw from the conversation, particularly in a group or noisy setting?
- Do you find yourself reading lips or focusing on someone when they speak?
If you said “yes” to some of these questions, you could undoubtedly be dealing with hearing loss. One fairly common type of hearing loss is hearing people in a standard pitch but not being able to hear higher-pitched sounds.
How do hearing aids work?
Before getting a hearing aid, it’s important to note that unlike glasses, which can correct visual impairments, hearing aids cannot fully restore your hearing to normal; however, a hearing aid can amplify voices and sounds to make it easier to hear them. Wearing a hearing aid can make joining in and listening to everyday conversations easier. Some advanced features also offer fantastic technology to make communicating in a noisy setting easier. Some hearing aids can also be used to amplify high-pitched sounds.
Since there are so many different technologies, styles, and features when it comes to getting a hearing aid, it’s essential to turn to an ENT doctor who can not only assess your degree of hearing loss but also talk through the different hearing aids options for you based on your health, budget and lifestyle.
Find out what causes allergies and how you can get them under control.
Anyone who has allergies deals with a lot of those same annoying symptoms: the constant sneezing, the red itchy eyes, and the runny nose. Of course, not everyone understands that their symptoms could be due to allergies. What are allergies, and how are they managed? Should you treat your allergies on your own or turn to an ENT doctor?
What is an allergy?
Did you know that allergies are one of the most common long-term disorders people deal with? When exposed to a certain allergen, your body tells you that this allergen is harmful and then goes to work to attack it. This means that your immune system kicks into overdrive and produces antibodies known as immunoglobulin E. An allergic reaction is your body’s natural inclination to overreact to this allergen.
There are many things to which you could be allergic, including,
- Pet dander
Allergy symptoms can range from mild to more severe and even life-threatening. If you suspect that your symptoms are due to allergies, an ENT doctor can quickly diagnose and create a treatment plan that will get you feeling better fast.
Allergy Treatment Options
The treatment you receive will depend on the type of allergy you have and the severity of your symptoms. You’ll be happy to hear that many allergy sufferers find relief through simple medications. Those with very mild symptoms may be able to get away with over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants (to fight nasal congestion).
Your ENT doctor may also prescribe more powerful antihistamines or nasal sprays if your symptoms are more moderate or severe. In some cases, a long-term allergy sufferer may finally choose to get allergy shots to significantly lessen the body’s response to a specific allergen.
Of course, there are also non-medicinal approaches to reducing your exposure to the offending allergen, and an otolaryngologist can offer great tips to reduce allergy exposure at home. Examples include bathing your trusty pet once a week and using allergy-proof bedding.
Don’t let allergies affect your daily life and the activities you love. If you find yourself staying indoors or avoiding things that make you happy for your allergies, it’s time you turn to an ENT doctor for treatment options.
Wondering if your symptoms could be caused by an underlying, undetected allergy?
Allergies can happen to anyone and they can occur all year round. These days, it’s particularly easy to brush off symptoms as a cold or sinus infection when in actuality you could have an allergy. If you suspect that you might have an allergy, a visit to an ENT doctor can provide you with the diagnosis and treatment plan you need.
You Have These Unexplainable Symptoms
Do you often feel like you’re dealing with headaches, a stuffy nose, dry cough or itchy skin? While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have allergies if you are experiencing several of these symptoms for long periods you may want to turn to an allergist. If you have symptoms that keep coming and going you may want to speak with an ENT doctor who can easily diagnose your allergies.
You Notice a Recurring or Itchy Rash
Another common sign of an allergy is an irritated or itchy rash on the body. You may notice that it gets worse when exposed to the allergen (e.g. certain food or medications). If you are dealing with a rash that appears during certain times of the year or for weeks on end, this could be a sign of an allergy and it’s worth turning to a doctor to investigate further. If you notice swelling of the face or you develop hives (itchy welts) these are also common signs of a skin allergy.
You Think You Have a Sinus Infection…
But it keeps coming back or doesn’t seem to go away. If you feel like you’re dealing with cold symptoms or a sinus infection on the regular, it might not be any of these issues but rather allergies. Sometimes allergies can be misdiagnosed as a sinus infection or cold. If you find that the medications you were prescribed by a doctor aren’t working, this is yet another sign that you could have a bad case of allergies. If you also find yourself dealing with upper respiratory infections during certain times of the year, it could be allergies.
You Feel Exhausted
While there are many causes of fatigue and exhaustion, if you are feeling fatigued while also dealing with any of the symptoms above this could be another sign of an undetected allergy. This is because the immune system releases histamine, which causes an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response can lead to weird symptoms such as fatigue or body aches.
If you are experiencing allergy symptoms, turning to an ENT doctor will give you the answers you need to figure out how to properly manage your symptoms. You don’t have to do it alone and over-the-counter medications are often a Band-Aid instead of a solution.
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