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Disorders of the Ear, Nose, and Throat

Disorders of the Ear, Nose, and Throat

There are some parts of the human body that are almost ancillary – people can technically live without them. However, our ears, nose, and throat (ENT) are crucial body parts that we use on a daily basis, and all three have multiple functions.

Our ears not only support our sense of hearing, but they’re also key to maintaining balance and equilibrium. The nose obviously supports breathing and our sense of smell, but it also contributes to our sense of taste – plus, it filters the air we breathe in order to prevent harmful bacteria from entering our lungs. The throat is important for swallowing our food, as well as for speaking and breathing.

Any disorders or malfunctions in these core areas can affect your quality of life – and may even be life-threatening.

Common Problems of the Ear, Nose, and Throat

If you experience any symptoms of the following common disorders of the ear, nose, and throat, you should see a medical professional right away.


Tonsillitis is any inflammation or infection of the tonsils. This can be caused by something as moderate as a common cold or something serious, such as mono or strep throat.

Tonsillitis can be fairly common; however, it rarely goes away on its own. It causes severe throat pain, and if the tonsils are inflamed, swallowing and breathing can become very difficult.

If the inflammation is severe, lasts a long time, or is recurring, the patient may have to undergo a tonsillectomy – the surgical removal of the tonsils.

Ear Infections

When germs enter the ear and become trapped there, the result is an ear infection. The most obvious signs of an ear infection are pain in the ear(s), hearing loss, difficulty balancing, upper respiratory infections, and drainage from the ear.

Ear infections are more common in small children and can be exhibited in irritability, balance difficulties, and even fever. They may pull or play with their ears.

Chronic ear infections in a child may require your doctor to surgically insert small ventilation tubes inside your child’s ear to help avoid further cases.

Sinus Infections

The cavities in the skull that surround the eyes and nose are your sinuses. When the sinuses become infected with bacteria or a virus, or are inflamed due to allergies, the result is sinusitis.

Signs of sinusitis are breathing issues, constant headache, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, bad breath, pain around eyes or nose, and toothaches.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing for longer-than-natural periods while you’re asleep. Causes of sleep apnea vary, such as being overweight, enlarged tonsils, and a short airway.

Sleep apnea can cause loud snoring or gasping while sleeping. Untreated sleep apnea can cause heart failure, depression, mood changes, and other health issues.

Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctors in Austin, TX

If you experience any noticeable or chronic ear, nose, or throat problems, be sure to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat doctor) to discuss your symptoms.

Contact the Capital ENT & Sinus Center today to schedule an appointment. Call our Austin office at (512) 339-4040 or our Lakeway location at (512) 682-4798 or request an appointment online. We have the experience and technology necessary to diagnose and treat your condition – so you can enjoy life to the fullest.

Dr. Wassmuth is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology with Subspecialty Certification in Sleep Medicine. He specializes in chronic sinusitis and obstructive sleep apnea.

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