You Probably Have Some Questions
Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you don’t see your question, give us a call! 360.326.3966
Ouch! Why Do My Sinuses Hurt?
When viruses, bacterial infections or allergens attack nasal and sinus membranes, they become swollen and congested. The congestion causes pressure and pain. The inflammation also triggers mucus production. The result is a runny nose and sinus pain.
This condition is called sinusitis, and it usually includes nasal congestion, a thick yellow-green nasal discharge, facial pain and pressure.
What Over-the-Counter Medicines Can I Use For My Sinuses?
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications that might make your sinuses feel better. Most of them combine a pain reliever, like Tylenol® (acetaminophen), with a decongestant or an antihistamine (for allergies).
You can use OTC medications to clear nasal passages, reduce nasal congestion (stuffiness), relieve pain and pressure, and reduce the potential for complications. Some common OTC medications include:
Saline: These non-medicated sprays are ideal for all types of nasal problems. The moisture loosens the thick secretions and helps your body get rid of potentially infectious bacteria they may contain.
Decongestant: These sprays clear nasal passages almost immediately and are very helpful in the early stages of a common cold or virus. They are safe to use, and can help prevent Eustachian tube problems (plugged ears) when flying, and can help stop sinus infections after a cold. However, it is important to only use them for 3 to 5 days, because prolonged use leads to rebound congestion, where your sinuses can only be clear when using a spray. This situation is commonly described as “getting hooked on nasal sprays.”
Decongestant: OTC decongestants relieve nasal swelling, pressure and congestion but do not treat the cause of the inflammation. Decongestants do not relieve runny noses.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines fight allergies that lead to nasal congestion. These medications may be used to relieve allergic symptoms of itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion. They relieve the runny noses associated with the allergic inflammation but not when there is an obstruction(blockage) or congestion.
I Don’t Think My Over-the-Counter Medicines Work. Should I Give Up?
There is nothing wrong with using OTC medicines for a cold or seasonal allergies. However, if the symptoms do not fully resolve (you don’t get completely better) within a week or two, if you are getting sick more often, or if you have sinus pressure and pain that doesn’t go away, you may need help from a specialist to resolve the problem.
Are Sinus Headaches Different From Other Headaches?
Headaches come in all types, and not all of them are because of your sinuses.
You could have a headache from tension, a migraine, or from not drinking enough water, and it can be hard to tell the difference.
Sinus headaches usually come with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain and pressure around the eyes, across the cheeks and the forehead
- Achy feeling in the upper teeth
- Fever and chills
- Facial swelling
- Nasal stuffiness
- ellow or green discharge (mucous)
If you think you might have a sinus headache, give us a call at 360.326.3966
Okay, So I Have a Sinus Headache. Now What?
The most important thing is to reduce the sinus swelling and inflammation and help the mucus drain from the sinuses. At home, you can:
- Breathe Moist Air: Use a steam vaporizer or cool-mist humidifier, steam from a bowl or tub of hot water, or steam from a hot shower.
- Alternate Hot and Cold Compresses: Using a towel or a pack to apply pressure, place a hot compress across your sinuses for 3 minutes, then a cold compress for 30 seconds. Repeat these two steps 3 times in a row, 2 to 6 times a day.
- Nasal Rinses: There are several OTC products available to help shrink the sinus membranes and rinse away mucus.
- Decongestants and Antihistamines: Sinus pressure headaches are often caused by allergies and upper respiratory infections. OTC decongestants and antihistamines may be helpful.
If these home remedies don’t help, give us a call at 360.326.3966. Many of our patients have chronic (repeating) problems due to blockages and require treatment from a specialist.
My Child Keeps Getting Ear Infections. What’s Going On?
Ear infections are common in children. The condition is properly called otitis media and is the inflammation of the middle ear – the result of an infection in the middle ear. The problem is most common in young children, but can also happen to adults.
Ear infections are the result of blockages in the Eustachian tube (which connects the ear to the throat) during a cold, allergies, or upper respiratory (lung) infection. If these blocks happen and there are bacteria or viruses present, an infection can occur. Pus and mucus build up behind the eardrum and cause an earache, swelling, and redness. Because the eardrum cannot vibrate normally, hearing is affected.
It is very important to correctly treat ear infections. Otitis Media is the most common reason children go to the doctor AND is also the most common cause of hearing loss in children.
What Does an Ear Infection Looks Like?
In infants and toddlers, look for:
- Pulling or scratching at the ear
- Hearing problems
- Crying and irritability
- Ear drainage (leaking fluid)
In young children, adolescents, and adults look for:
- Feeling of fullness or pressure
- Hearing problems
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Nausea, vomiting
- Ear drainage (leaking fluid)
Without correct (and quick) treatment, damage from an ear infection can cause repeating or permanent hearing loss.
How Are Ear Infections Treated?
Usually, the doctor will give you medicine (antibiotics) to fight the infection, and a medicine to unplug your ears (antihistamine and/or a decongestant). It is very important to take all of the medicine as directed, because the infection can continue or come back if not completely cured.
Do I (or my child) Need Ear Tubes?
Ear tubes are small ventilation tubes (to allow for air flow) that are inserted into a tiny hole in the eardrum. This tube keeps fluid from building up behind the ear drum and gives the Eustachian tube (connecting the ear to the throat) time to heal and return to normal.
This may take several weeks or months.
I don’t hear well. What should I do?
Give us a call! There are some hearing problems that only an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist can take care of. It is important to remember that plenty of hearing problems can be fixed or corrected, as long as the cause can be found. This is why it is especially important to see an ENT specialist if you have sudden hearing loss, dizziness, or pain in your ear.
At ENTOffice, org, we will also have you see our Audioligist for a hearing test. She will be able to tell you what type and severity of hearing loss you have.
Even though places that sell hearing aids can do hearing tests, they do not often have the equipment or expertise to tell you why you are having your problem, or what specifically is going on in your ears.
Do I have hearing loss?
Think about the following:
- Does speech sounds soft or “muffled”?
- Do people sound like they are mumbling
- Do you have a hard time understanding speech in noisy situations?
- Is it hard for you to follow a conversation with 2 or more people?
- Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves a lot?
- When you turn up the television to hear it, is it too loud for those around you?
- Are children’s or women’s voices harder to hear?
- Are you told you respond inappropriately in conversation?
- Do you find yourself wanting to be alone because you have a hard time communicating?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might be experiencing hearing loss-and we might be able to treat it!
Does hearing loss only affect the elderly?
No! Statistics show that approximately 6 million Americans under the age of 65 have hearing loss. That is compared to 4 million Americans over the age of 65.
Approximately 17 of every 1000 children under the age of 18 have hearing loss and 3 in 1000 infants are born with some degree of hearing loss.
Recent legislation requiring newborn hearing screenings at birth has significantly improved the identification of infants with hearing loss. This allows early intervention, preventing significant language delays.
In addition, untreated hearing loss has cost the US economy $56 billion in lost productivity, special education and medical care.
Why Are Hearing Aids So Expensive?
Hearing aids can be expensive. A hearing aid with many “bells and whistles” will be more expensive than a hearing aid with fewer options. Size also plays a part in price. The smaller the hearing aid, the more expensive it is, because the parts have to be smaller. Other factors that also influence the price of hearing aids are the research involved to develop the new technology, the time of your hearing specialist and the cost of services included with the purchase (follow up visits, batteries, warranties, etc.).
We offer a wide range of hearing aids priced to fit both your lifestyle and your budget. Our Audiologist will work with you to research, choose, fit and program the hearing aids best matched with your needs.
Can Hearing Aids Really Help Me?
Yes! Contrary to popular opinion, hearing aids make a significant difference in a person’s ability to hear and understand speech. New digital hearing aids even help improve speech understanding in noisy situations such as restaurants and parties. Hearing aids can help people with all types of hearing loss.
In the past, many patients with “nerve damage” were told hearing aids would not help them. This is not true. The new era of hearing aids are significantly improved and can help a much wider range of people and types of hearing loss. While each person is different, we strongly encourage anyone with hearing loss to be evaluated by a hearing professional and discuss the new options in hearing aids.
In addition, we offer a 60-day trial period on all digital hearing aids. This means that if you are not satisfied with the hearing aids at the end of the 60 days, you can return the hearing aid for a full refund minus a small service charge.
Why Do Some Peoples’ Hearing Aids Sit in a Drawer?
If you know someone who has hearing aids and doesn’t wear them, don’t let that discourage you from trying hearing aids. Many people are not fitted for hearing aids correctly. The hearing aids are either not strong enough or cannot be easily inserted into the ear. Other people do not allow enough time to adjust to wearing hearing aids. A properly fitted and adjusted hearing aid should provide significant benefit to the person wearing them.
Will My Insurance Pay for My Hearing Aids?
Unfortunately, it depends on what type of insurance you have. Many insurance companies (including Washington State Medicare) will not pay for your hearing aids. There ARE insurance plans that DO pay a specific amount toward your hearing aids. The best thing you can do is call the number on the back of your card and ask for your “Hearing Aid Benefit”. We realize though, that this can be a very confusing and difficult process. If you need help understanding your personal hearing aid benefit, we are more than happy to call on your behalf and get verification of your benefits BEFORE going through with the hearing aid fitting and purchase.
Additionally, you may always ask us to send a bill for the hearing aids to your insurance provider, even if there is no guarantee of benefits.
What is Included in the Purchase of Hearing Aids?
In our office, the purchase of hearing aids includes more than just the devices themselves. When you purchase a hearing aid, you will also have the following benefits:
- 2 year repair warranty (on most hearing aids)
- 2 year loss and damage
- 2 Follow up appointments for fine-tuning and counseling (these are important to come to, because most patients will require adjustment of their hearing aid multiple times before it is functioning perfectly)
**Remember, we will continue to work with you as often as necessary until your hearing aids are providing you the best benefit possible
Can I Buy Just One Hearing Aid?
Occasionally, it makes sense to only buy one hearing aid, and in fact, there are some cases where only one hearing aid is recommended. A hearing evaluation will help us determine if one hearing aid or two are needed.
Other times, we may recommend two hearing aids and you would only like one. It is important to realize that You may be more satisfied, and will likely perform better with two hearing aids. In most cases, two hearing aids are recommended and necessary. If you have hearing that is similar in both ears, two hearing aids will be best.
By keeping both ears balanced, you keep your ability to localize to sounds (tell where a noise is coming from), you understand speech better in background noise, have a better sound quality and prevent further deterioration (worsening) of your ability to understand speech.
I’m Dizzy. Who Should I Call?
Dr. Berinstein and Dr. Bloom are Otolaryngologists. An Otolaryngologist is an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist who, among other things, has been trained in the diagnosis and treatment of balance disorders. Many times, dizziness can be caused by problems in the inner ear, an area which should be examined by an ENT specialist. To start, complete this Dizziness Questionnaire. If you end up making an appointment with one of our doctors, bring this worksheet with you. It will help him make a more effective treatment plan for you.
What Causes Dizziness?
There are many causes of dizziness. Some causes include high blood pressure, side effects from medications, disorders of the inner ear, age related changes to the central nervous system or even trauma to the head.
An ENT physician can diagnose most causes of dizziness and, if hearing related, a referral may be made to an Audiologist for treatment or management.
Can You Tell Me Why I am Dizzy?
The doctor will talk to you about your history with dizziness and look at the hearing test performed in our office by the Audiologist. The doctor may also order tests from a local partner, which will then be interpreted by a licensed Audiologist. The two most common tests to diagnose the cause of dizziness are Videonystagmography (VNG – or previously referred to as the ENG) and Electrocochleography (ECochG). The tests look at many aspects of the balance system to diagnose the cause of dizziness.
What is Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that is characterized by severe episodes of spinning dizziness, roaring tinnitus (ringing in the ears), pressure or fullness in the ear, and often nausea or vomiting.
This type of dizziness is not constant, but comes in severe attacks. A low-frequency hearing loss, which can be diagnosed by our Audiologist, is often associated with this type of dizziness.
My Doctor Said I Have “Rocks” in my Head – What Does That Mean?
One of the more common causes of dizziness is BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. It is characterized by calcium deposits within the inner ear that become displaced into one of the semicircular canals of the inner ear. It is commonly referred to as having “rocks” in your ear.
BPPV is most common in people over the age of 65, or in cases of head trauma (injury). Symptoms of BPPV are very unique and include dizziness when laying down, sitting up or bending over. The dizziness is usually very strong at first, lasting less than one minute. BPPV can be treated very easily in the office.
How Common is Dizziness?
Dizziness occurs in approximately 1.8% of young adults and more than 30% of the elderly. It is the number one complaint of patients over the age of 70.
85% of dizziness comes from problems with the inner ear. BPPV is the most common cause of episodic dizziness and is most common in adults over the age of 65.