Ear, Nose, and Throat Conditions

Ear Nose Throat Doctor Port Huron, Michigan

ENT physicians Dr. Brettschneider and Dr. Obermyer can address problem involving ear pain, earache, chronic sinusitis, allergies, and other general ENT concerns. If you are facing the prospect of any ENT surgical procedure, Port Huron ENT physicians and staff ensure that your questions are answered and make you feel as comfortable as possible with the process.

Allergies

Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, food allegies, and pet allergies. Common symptoms of allergies are itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, nasal congestion, drainage, scratchy sore throat, hoarseness, or cough.

It's highly important for people to be aware of what they are allergic to. It is valuable information to any physician that may be treating you. In some cases, knowing your allergies may even save your life! For this reason, our office provides extensive allergy testing. We test our patients for allergic reactions stemming from a variety of sources, such as inhalants, foods, metals, latex, chemicals, and fragrances.

Allergy Treatment Allergic RhinitisLearn more about allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever) by watching our short informational video.

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed? What are the treatment options for hay fever? How to avoid seasonal allergy symptoms?

Possible Treatment Options for Allergies

Back to Top

Sinusitis and Chronic Sinusitis

Sinusitis means your sinuses are infected or inflamed. Your sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones surrounding the nose. They produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen, this can block the sinuses and cause pain and infection. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting for less than four weeks, or chronic, lasting much longer. Acute sinusitis often starts as a cold, which then turns into a bacterial infection. Allergies, pollutants, nasal problems and certain diseases can also cause sinusitis.

Common symptoms of sinusitis can include fever, weakness, fatigue, cough and congestion in addition to bad breath or loss of smell, generally not feeling well, headache -- pressure-like pain, pain behind the eyes, toothache, or facial tenderness, nasal congestion and discharge, sore throat, and postnasal drip. Treatments include antibiotics, decongestants and pain relievers. Using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays and vaporizers can also help.

When medicine fails, surgery may be the only alternative for treating chronic sinusitis. The goal of surgery is to improve sinus drainage and reduce blockage of the nasal passages.

Sinus Surgery Chronic SinusitisLearn more about Sinusitis by watching our informational video.

How is sinusitis treated? When should I call my doctor? What symptoms are associated with chronic and acute sinusitis?

Possible Treatment Options for Chronic Sinusitis

Back to Top

Dizziness and Balance Issues

Patients with vertigo, spinning, lightheadedness, imbalance, and hearing disorders may be offered vestibular testing.

For patients with symptoms of hearing loss, The Hearing and Balance Center of Port Huron can assist you with selecting the best hearing aid for your needs and budget. Please visit Hearing Aids - Hearing and Balance Center Port Huron website for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Back to Top

Ear Infections

Otitis media (ear infection) is an infection or inflammation of the middle ear. This inflammation often begins when infections that cause sore throats, colds, or other respiratory or breathing problems spread to the middle ear. These can be viral or bacterial infections. Seventy-five percent of children experience at least one episode of otitis media by their third birthday. Almost half of these children will have three or more ear infections during their first 3 years. Although otitis media is primarily a disease of infants and young children, it can also affect adults.

One factor that makes children more susceptible to otitis media is that adenoids in children are larger than they are in adults (see enlarged adenoids). Adenoids are composed largely of cells (lymphocytes) that help fight infections. They are positioned in the back of the upper part of the throat near the eustachian tubes. Enlarged adenoids can, because of their size, interfere with the eustachian tube opening. In addition, adenoids may themselves become infected, and the infection may spread into the eustachian tubes.

Common symptoms of ear infections include unusual irritability, difficulty sleeping, tugging or pulling at one or both ears, fever, fluid draining from the ear, loss of balance, unresponsiveness to quiet sounds or other signs of hearing difficulty, such as sitting too close to the television, or being inattentive.

Possible Treatment Options for Ear Infections

Back to Top

Enlarged Adenoids

Enlarged adenoids refers to swollen lymphatic tissue that is found in the airway between your nose and the back of your throat. The tissue is similar to the tonsils. Enlargement of the adenoids may occur naturally (beginning when the baby grows in the womb), or it may be caused by long-term inflammation. The adenoids normally shrink as children reach adolescence.

Common symptoms of enlarged adenoids include bad breath, cracked lips, dry mouth, mouth breathing (mostly at night), mouth open during day (more severe obstruction), persistent runny nose or nasal congestion, restlessness while sleeping, and snoring.

Antibiotics may be used to treat tonsil and adenoid infections when they occur. Surgery to remove the adenoids (adenoidectomy) may relieve symptoms or prevent complications in those with frequent ear or sinus infections or fluid behind the ears. It may also be done when ear tubes have not successfully reduced infections.

Possible Treatment Options for Enlarged Adenoids

Back to Top

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common, frustrating problem, and is usually related to inner ear damage, or unrelated medical problems. Hearing aids aren't necessary for all cases of hearing loss, but will be recommended when the problem is significantly reducing your ability to communicate with others.

Please visit Port Huron Hearing and Balance Center for information on signs of hearing loss, hearing aids, hearing testing, and other hearing and audiology related services.

Mastoiditis (Infected Mastoid Air Cells)

Mastoiditis is usually caused by a middle ear infection (acute otitis media). The infection may spread from the ear to the mastoid bone of the skull. The mastoid bone fills with infected materials and its honeycomb-like structure may deteriorate. Mastoiditis usually affects children. Before antibiotics, mastoiditis was one of the leading causes of death in children. Now it is a relatively uncommon and much less dangerous condition.

Common symptoms of mastoiditis include drainage from the ear, ear pain or discomfort, fever (may be high or suddenly increase), headache, hearing loss, redness of the ear or behind the ear, swelling behind ear, may cause ear to stick out.

Mastoiditis may be difficult to treat because medications may not reach deep enough into the mastoid bone. It may require repeated or long-term treatment. The infection is treated with antibiotics by injection, then antibiotics by mouth. Surgery to remove part of the bone and drain the mastoid (mastoidectomy) may be needed if antibiotic therapy is not successful. Surgery to drain the middle ear through the eardrum (myringotomy) may be needed to treat the middle ear infection.

Treatment Options for Infected Mastoid Air Cells

Back to Top

Laryngitis

Laryngitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the voice box (larynx) that is usually associated with hoarseness or loss of voice. The voice box (larynx) is located at the top of the airway to the lungs (trachea). The larynx contains the vocal cords. When the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they swell. This can cause hoarseness, and may sometimes block the airway.

Common symptoms of laryngitis include fever, hoarseness, swollen lymph nodes or glands in the neck.

Because most common laryngitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics may not help. Your health care provider will make this decision. Resting your voice helps by reducing inflammation of the vocal cords. A humidifier may soothe the scratchy feeling that comes with laryngitis. Decongestants and painkillers may relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, if you have one.

Treatment Options for Laryngitis

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is more dangerous but less common. You should have your doctor check any suspicious skin markings and any changes in the way your skin looks. Treatment is more likely to work well when cancer is found early. If not treated, some types of skin cancer cells can spread to other tissues and organs.

Skin cancers may have many different appearances. They can be small, shiny, waxy, scaly and rough, firm and red, crusty or bleeding, or have other features. Therefore, anything suspicious should be looked at by a physician. Common symptoms of skin cancer are:

  • Asymmetry: one half of the abnormal skin area is different than the other half
  • Borders: irregular borders
  • Color: varies from one area to another with shades of tan, brown, or black (sometimes white, red, blue)
  • Diameter: usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in size (diameter of a pencil eraser)
  • Any skin growth that bleeds or will not heal

Skin Cancer Surgery Learn more about Melanoma Screening by watching our informational video.

Who is most at risk for melanoma? What does melanoma look like? Is melanoma treatable?

Treatment Options for Skin Cancer

Sleep Apnea

Adults patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) suffer from poor sleep quality, fatigue, and health risks including heart disease and high blood pressure. One of the problems associated with sleep apnea is that the mouth’s soft palate partially or totally blocks, or obstructs, the patient’s airway. The vibration of the soft palate is what we hear when a person snores. More dangerous is the cutting off of the patient’s air supply -- he or she can stop breathing as often as hundreds of times per night and sometimes for a minute or longer each time.

Sleep Apnea TreatmentsLearn more about Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Causes of Sleep Apnea, and Treatments by watching an informational video.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea? What are the primary causes of sleep apnea? Am I at higher risk for cardiovascular disease if I have sleep apnea?

Sleep Apnea ChildrenLearn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children.

The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children are enlarged adenoids or tonsils which may be treated with a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy. 2-4% of preschool children are affected by sleep apnea. Does your child snore? Untreated sleep apnea can lead to behavior problems, learning difficulties, nightmares, morning headaches, and sleep deprivation. Learn how obstructive sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated by Port Huron ENT.

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Tonsillitis

Your tonsils and adenoids are part of your lymphatic system. Your tonsils are in the back of your throat and your adenoids are higher up, behind your nose. They help protect you from infection by trapping germs coming in through your mouth and nose. Sometimes your tonsils and adenoids become infected themselves. Tonsillitis makes your tonsils sore and swollen. Enlarged adenoids can be sore, make it hard to breathe and cause ear problems. The first treatment for infected tonsils and adenoids is antibiotics. If you have frequent infections or trouble breathing, you may need surgery. Surgery to remove the tonsils is tonsillectomy.

Treatment Options for Tonsillitis