yoga for ear nose throat problems

Yoga for ear, nose and throat problems

Yoga for ear, nose and throat problems

Does yoga help with ear, nose and throat problems such as snoring, tinnitus, vertigo and balance problems, etc?

There are a lot of articles and at times misinformation floating around about benefits of yoga for ear, nose and throat problems. In this article, we will try to validate and throw light on whether there are any real benefits of yoga for ear, nose and throat problems.

As we all know yoga is a combination of breathing control, meditation and specific body postures which are supposed to give various health benefits. Though yoga is said to have both physical and mental benefits we will stick to the physical and more specifically ENT benefits of yoga.

Yoga for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a very common issue and generally indicates a more serious problem such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts multiple times during sleep. If you feel sleepy even after a full night’s sleep, gasp for breath during sleep, snore loudly, wake up with a dry mouth, etc., chances are you are suffering from sleep apnea.

We prescribe a device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) for sleep apnea. In addition to CPAP, doing exercises which strengthen muscles around the airway would be helpful. Simple exercises such as – pushing your tongue against the roof and pushing backwards, forcing your tongue downwards against the floor of your mouth, etc would strengthen your airway. Similar exercises from yoga can be performed to achieve a similar benefit.

yoga for ear nose throat problems

Yoga for Tinnitus

tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of ringing in your ears which affects a lot of people. Tinnitus is a symptom and not an ENT condition in itself, we have a detailed explanation of what is Tinnitus, it’s causes, etc here.

Tinnitus could be caused by various reasons as explained in the article above, such as damage to cochlea, ear wax, ear infections, eustachian tube dysfunction, TMJ disorders, etc. Yoga cannot cure or heal any of these conditions but can make the ringing more bearable. Always consult an ENT specialist if you are suffering from Tinnitus.

Yoga and meditation can help with tinnitus by making you feel less anxious about the ringing sensation. You can also try other ways of relaxation such as tai-chi as recommended here.

Consult the best ENT Specialist in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT for all your ENT conditions such as Tinnitus, Meniere's Disease, Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Yoga for Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear condition characterized by vertigo (feeling of spinning around you), tinnitus and hearing loss. Patients who suffer from Meniere’s disease have attacks of dizziness, loss of balance, vomiting sensation, temporary deafness and ringing in the ears.

As in the case of tinnitus, yoga is not a cure for Meniere’s disease but can help overcome an attack. Along with medication, an ENT specialist may recommend relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation for relief.


How do I choose a hearing aid

Do I need a hearing aid, how to choose a hearing aid and common hearing aid myths

Do I need a hearing aid? How to choose a hearing aid? Do I need one or two hearing aids?

Let’s accept it, despite the information available on the internet, wearing a hearing aid is still a social stigma in India. People associate it with a handicap and try means to delay using one even when need arises. Hence no wonder the most often asked questions about hearing aids are – “Do I need a hearing aid?”, “How do I choose the right hearing aids?” and “Do I need one or two hearing aids?”.

At Dr Rao’s ENT, our hearing experts get this questions regularly and we have put together detailed explanations for each of your common queries about hearing aids. We have also compiled a list of common hearing aid myths and tried to dispel them. Read on to have all your questions answered.

Do I need a hearing aid?

Let’s address the first and most obvious question that comes to everyone’s mind. Do I really need a hearing aid? Before we get to the answer, you may quickly glance another article here we have explained in detail about types of hearing loss, which types can hearing aids help with, how does a hearing aid function, etc here.

Now that you understand what are the types and severity levels of hearing loss, let us see if hearing aids can solve your hearing issue.

Hearing aids are suitable for

  1. Any hearing loss that may not be medically treatable
  2. Where a person suffering from hearing loss needs a compensation for reduced hearing, typically in cases of mild, moderate and severe hearing loss.
  3. Even in cases where your ENT specialist or Otolaryngologist may prescribe medicines for your hearing issue, hearing aids can augment your hearing and improve the quality of your life

Do I need a hearing aid?

How do I choose the right hearing aid?

Now that we have addressed “Do I need a hearing aid?”, let’s help you choose one. Choosing the right hearing aid can depend on various factors such as the type and severity of hearing loss, your age and budget. Your lifestyle also plays a role in the decision as some types of hearing aids may not be best suited for a working professional or an athlete. Know more here.

Do I need one or two hearing aids?

If you have hearing loss in both ears, we would recommend hearing aids for both ears. This would provide a more natural signal to your brain similar to how you would naturally hear if not for hearing loss. This would also help you understand speech better and identify the direction of sound.

How do I choose a hearing aid

How does our audiologist help you choose the right hearing aids?

Our hearing aid specialists will start off with a comprehensive test to determine the severity and type of your hearing loss. Based on this assessment the treatment plan would be recommended – medication, hearing aids or a combination of both. Your doctor would help you identify the right choice by discussing the following with you –

  1. Do I need a hearing aid? – We have answered this question here in detail but if you visit our hospital for a hearing aid, our hearing aid specialist will walk you through these questions, only in more detail and in a personalized fashion!
  2. Helping you understand how hearing aids function and how they would help you
  3. How to get used to hearing aids
  4. What features are available and which would be useful based on your lifestyle
  5. Customizing the hearing aids to suit your needs
  6. Choosing the hearing aids with respect to your budget

Consult the best Hearing Aid Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT to have all your Hearing Aids related questions like "Do I need a hearing aid?", "how to choose a hearing aid?" and more answered.

Learning to listen with hearing aids

Unlike eye glasses hearing aids take some time and training to get used to. We will assist you with this process, so there is no need to worry. Common issues new users face is discomfort, voice sounding too loud, etc. Here are the common issues faced –

  1. The hearing aids feel uncomfortable – Since you would be wearing an external object for the first time in/on your ear, it is natural to feel minor discomfort.
  2. You hear background noises – If you hear background noises your hearing aid might have to be adjusted to properly filter out these noises. Our audiologists can help you with this.
  3. There is interference when speaking over the phone – This is possible due to radio frequency interference caused by cellular signals. We would recommend to check with your phone when purchasing a hearing aid.
  4. Your voice sounds too loud – If you have been suffering from impaired hearing for a while, even normal sound levels may sound loud. Most users get used over a period of time and in rare cases we will make necessary adjustments.

Common hearing aid myths

This is a very common misconception. Though chances of getting hearing loss increases naturally with age, they are prevalent across all age groups. Hence there is no reason to believe hearing aids are limited to old people. In fact, if you are a young or middle-aged person suffering from hearing loss, you have long years ahead of you.  Neglecting hearing loss in early stages can have an impact on the quality of your life and affect your mental health.

Just like we wear eye glasses for different power levels, hearing aids are also prescribed from mild to severe hearing loss. Let us look at a scenario where you maybe suffering from mild hearing loss. Due to your inability to hear properly you may crank up the volume of your music, television, etc., which would damage your hearing further. Hence it is always advised to nip the problem in the bud and use hearing aids to address even minor hearing loss.

With advances in technology hearing aids have become compact and discreet. Gone are the days when a hearing aid is that bulky banana like object sitting on your ear! Many hearing aid manufacturers are also coming up with colorful and fashionable models to suit your taste.

Modern hearing aids can be programmed and our audiologists will customize them accordingly. Advances in hearing aids allow custom presets for different scenarios allowing you to have control on your volume levels.

Hearing aids are available in a wide range of price points depending on the type and features. Feel free to discuss with our hearing aid specialists who can recommend the best option for your budget.

This is a common misconception which leads to some inconvenience. If you are suffering from hearing loss for a long period of time, we incrementally tweak your hearing aids so that you adjust easily. This may require follow up visits and adjustments. This is not due to faulty diagnosis or treatment but a way to help you get accustomed to your hearing aids.

Imagine you have been riding a bike/bicycle holding it with both hands and all of a sudden one of your hand is tied behind your back. You can manage to ride for some distance but you would end up putting unnecessary pressure on one hand and may end up tripping in the process. Similarly, our body works best when both ears complement each other and distribute the load. We would highly recommend to get a hearing assessment even if you have hearing loss in one ear. Neglecting it for long periods can impact the performance of the one functioning normally.

As explained above, it is not recommended. Our brains can better judge sounds and distances when both our ears are functioning normally and to full potential. Kindly discuss with our hearing specialists to understand the best way forward.

Which are the top hearing aids brands and styles to choose from?

Some of the top hearing aids brands in India are Widex, Sonova – Phonak & Unitron, Starkey, Elkon and Siemens. Book an appointment with us for comprehensive hearing assessment and assistance in buying the optimum hearing aids.


Hearing Aids in India

Hearing Aids - What they are, how they function, types and more

Hearing Aids - What they are, how they work, types and more

When we think of a Hearing Aid we visualize a bulky banana shaped case sitting behind the ear. Truth is hearing aids have come a long way from that and are now more discreet, stylish and even feature rich. In this article we will explain in detail what is a Hearing Aid, what is it’s function in helping those suffering from hearing loss, types of hearing aids and more.

How does a Hearing Aid work?

A hearing aid comprises of the following components –

Microphone – The microphone captures the sound around you and converts it into a digital message which is sent to the processor. There are different types of microphones such as directional or omni-directional, the directional ones pick up sounds only in front of the wearer whereas the omni-directional mic captures all around.

Processor & amplifier – The processor is customized by our audiologist to amplify certain sounds and remove others. Generally, the processor is programmed to enhance speech and eliminate background noises. The processed digital signal is then sent to the amplifier. The amplifier as its name states, amplifies or makes the sounds louder for the impaired person.

Receiver – These amplified sounds are then sent to the ear by the receiver. The earpiece sits comfortably in the user’s ear and helps receive the highest quality of sound!

Battery – Your hearing aid may come with either disposable or rechargeable batteries. The disposable batteries generally last upto 2 weeks whereas the internal ones are charged overnight just like your phone.

What are the types of hearing loss?

Before going to whether you need a hearing aid, it is important to ascertain what is the type and severity of your hearing loss. The different types of hearing loss are –

Conductive – When something is preventing/blocking sound from reaching your inner ear through outer or middle ear

Sensorineural – When your inner ear is damaged such as cochlea

Mixed – When you have a combination of cochlear damage and outer/middle ear problem

We have a detailed article on FAQs on hearing loss and deafness, do check out the article here.

degree of hearing loss

Image courtesy – US FDA

How severe is my hearing loss?

Hearing loss is measured in decibels hearing level or dB HL. The hearing loss level indicates the softest level of sound you can hear. The lower your limit the better is your hearing and the more severe your hearing loss, the louder sounds you are unable to hear!

0-20 dB HL – Within normal limits
This is the normal hearing which we all should aspire for! You are able to hear quiet sounds as low as 20 decibels.

20-40 dB HL – Mild hearing loss
You have mild hearing loss, i.e., you find it difficult to follow speech in noisy situations.

40-70 dB HL – Moderate hearing loss
If you are suffering from moderate hearing loss, you have difficulty following others speak without a hearing aid.

70-90 dB HL – Severe hearing loss
70 dB is the typical noise level of a passenger car or vacuum cleaner. If you are suffering from severe hearing loss, you need a powerful hearing aid or an implant!

>90 dB HL – Profound hearing loss
Your hearing is badly damaged and you have to rely on sign language or lip reading.

What are the benefits of wearing hearing aids?

Hearing aids go way beyond just improving your hearing. Poor hearing is known to have profound impact on your social life, mental health and various other aspects of your life. Here are the top 3 ways hearing aids will benefit you other than improving your hearing –

  1. We humans are social animals and hearing and speaking form the core activities of our social interactions. Once our hearing is affected, it directly impacts our social interactions and as a result we end up feeling isolated, lonely and frustrated. Using a hearing aid can help you overcome this and get back to your normal social life.
  2. Hearing aids help reduce anxiety, tension and stress. When your hearing is damaged, your brain has to put additional effort trying to understand conversations and this causes fatigue leading to anxiety, tension, stress and poor mental health. A hearing aid takes this stress off your brain and prevents lasting damage to your mental health.
  3. Researchers have found hearing loss to be associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and more. Diabetics are at a higher risk of getting hearing loss and it is highly recommended for patients suffering from diabetes to have regular hearing screening.

What are some limitations of hearing aids?

Hearing aids go a long way in solving hearing impairment but they have their own limitations like any other device. Here are a few limitations to keep in mind before going for hearing aids –

  1. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, as we have explained in this article, the cilia in your ear cannot be repaired once damaged. Hearing aids can only augment your hearing but cannot repair or restore it.
  2. Hearing aids especially analog ones, amplify sound and this can cause background noise and undesired sounds also to hear louder. This is an unwanted consequence which is addressed by modern, digital hearing aids which are capable of process and filter noises.
  3. You need to get accustomed to using hearing aids and until that period sounds may appear too loud, especially after a prolonged period when you were unable to hear properly.
  4. Battery life, maintenance and replacement maybe a minor limitation which users get used to.

Consult the best Hearing Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT Super Speciality International Hospital

What are the different types of hearing aids?

There are mainly two types of hearing aids –

  1. Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals which are then amplified. These are programmed by our audiologist to suit your individual needs and different settings for various environments. Analog hearing aids are generally less expensive than digital ones and are simpler to use.
  2. Digital hearing aids converts sound to digital signals which are processed, filtered, amplified and delivered to your ears. Digital hearing aids are generally more expensive as they are more customizable and offer better features. They are also more compact and more powerful than their analog counterparts.

In terms of design, hearing aids are classified as

  1. Canal – These come in 2 types – In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-canal (CIC). ITC hearing aids fit inside your specific ear canal whereas CIC hearing aids are smaller and hidden completely in your ear. Canal type hearing aids are best suited for mild to severe hearing loss. They are not suited for kids or senior citizens who might have difficulty adjusting to small devices in their ears.
  2. In the ear – These hearing aids fit completely inside your outer ear and are best suited for mild to severe hearing loss. The electronic components are placed in a casing which sits on your outer ear. These are not suitable for children as their ears are still growing in size.
  3. Behind the ear – In Behind the ear hearing aids the components are in a hard case which sits behind your ear and a narrow tube goes into your ear canal. They are suitable for all ages and severity levels. Behind the ear hearing aids may not be discreet at times

Newer hearing aids come with additional features such as noise control & reduction, rechargeable batteries, wireless connectivity with cell phones, variable programming, etc.

Found this article about Hearing aids useful? Check out our article on Do I need a hearing aid? How do I choose the right hearing aid? and more here.

hearing aids

Image courtesy – Wikimedia


hearing loss and deafness

A Guide to Healthy Hearing - FAQs about Hearing Loss and Deafness

Everything about Hearing Loss and Deafness

There is a lot of stigma attached to Hearing Loss and Deafness because of which it is not discussed often. It is treated like any other disability and often individuals suffering from hearing loss & deafness are looked down upon making them feel uncomfortable to discuss the topic freely.

Educating people about the causes, risks and treatment options available, helps clear this air. Hence we at Dr Rao’s ENT have compiled a list of commonly asked questions (FAQs) associated with hearing loss.

hearing loss and deafness

Am I at a risk of hearing loss and deafness?

While anyone can suffer from hearing loss & deafness, you would be more susceptible if you –

  • are 60 years or older
  • work in noisy environments
    • such as a factory or a production facility, security or police
    • or you are a BPO employee where you are constantly hooked to headphones
  • take medicines that may damage your hearing
  • regularly consume loud music for more than 1 hour every day (read more here about hearing loss due to poor listening practices)

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

If you have hearing loss the first people to notice would be your family and friends! Do you ask people around you to repeat themselves? Do your friends complain that you are speaking louder than normal in recent times? Do you find trouble in hearing others in slightly noisy situations or in a group? Chances are you are suffering from partial hearing loss.

Can hearing loss effect my health?

Hearing loss & deafness may not have a direct impact on your other health aspects but can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and relationships. It is generally noticed that individuals suffering from undetected hearing loss tend to isolate themselves from their family and friends. Hearing is a critical function which is key in all our day to day activities and any loss of hearing will directly hamper our activities. This includes everything from our conversations to driving to work and studies.

Does listening to loud music damage my hearing?

Hearing loss caused due to continuous exposure to loud music is becoming a major epidemic. With rising smartphone usage, WHO estimates 1.1 billion people in the age group of 12-35 are susceptible to hearing loss due to poor listening practices.

It is advised to follow the 60/60 rule to prevent hearing loss caused due to loud music – i.e., do not listening to music for more than 60 minutes at more than 60% of volume. Read more here.

How can I test my hearing?

Prevention is always better than cure and it is always advised to constantly check your hearing to ensure it is detected at early stages. Fortunately, we have apps such as hearWHO at our disposal which allow regular screening of our hearing, you can download the app here.

When should I consult an ENT specialist for hearing screening?

  • If you are over 60 years, we recommend a compulsory hearing screening.
  • You may experience temporary hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises, but if the hearing loss stays for longer periods you should visit a hearing specialist.
  • If your family and friends are constantly complaining about your hearing, you can conduct an initial screening using the app above and if your result is Moderate or above visit an ENT specialist.

What would be the tests performed to diagnose hearing loss and deafness?

Your ENT specialist such as Dr Rao’s ENT would perform the following tests to ascertain your hearing issue –

  • Physical examination – A physical examination would help your doctor identify the cause of hearing loss, whether it is because of wax blockage, due to any structural reasons, or any ear infections.
  • General screening tests – Your ENT specialist may perform whisper test to see how well you are able to hear words spoken at different volumes. This is an initial test based on which the doctor will decide if a more comprehensive audiometer test is required.
  • Tuning fork tests – Your doctor can perform a simple tuning fork test to evaluate the extent and location of damage in your ear.
  • Audiometer tests – These tests are performed by an audiologist where you would wear earphones and hear sounds at various levels. These are very comprehensive tests and your ENT specialist would recommend the further course of treatment based on audiometer results.

If my hearing is indeed damaged, should I wear a hearing aid?

There is a lot of stigma attached to the usage of hearing aids and we understand your concern. Short answer would be no. Depending on the extent and cause of your hearing loss we would recommend the appropriate course of treatment. Sometimes temporary hearing loss maybe caused due to wax blockage and removing the blockage can resolve your hearing issue. At times a surgery may be recommended, or a cochlear implant.

Is hearing loss and deafness reversible?

Hearing loss is caused due to damage to your cilia (these are tiny, sensitive hair present in your ear that transmit sounds to your brain) and auditory nerve. This damage is unfortunately irreversible which is why we highly recommend following safe hearing practices and undergo regular screening tests to prevent hearing loss. Depending on the extent and cause of hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants or surgery can treat your hearing loss.

Consult the best Hearing Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT Super Speciality International Hospital


Smoking & tobacco consumption - Ear, nose & throat (ENT) issues

no smoking ear nose throat issues

Consumption of tobacco products and smoking is responsible for over 1 million deaths every year in India, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking and tobacco consumption is the single largest cause of various diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Ear, Nose & Throat problems such as aggravating sinusitis, head and neck cancers, hearing loss, ear infections, etc. At Dr Rao’s ENT we not only specialize in bringing world class ENT treatment to India but also sensitize patients about various health topics. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, we have compiled a comprehensive list of ENT conditions caused by the consumption of tobacco products.

"Tobacco kills more than 1 million people each year in India!"

Does tobacco consumption cause head and neck cancers?

Tobacco is one of the leading causes of mouth and voice box cancers. Typically oral, head and neck cancers refer to carcinoma of the tongue, mouth, throat and voice box. Head and neck cancer also refer to other types of cancers of the nasal cavity, sinuses, thyroid glands, etc. What makes tobacco consumption fatal is 66% of the cases are detected in very late stages of cancer thereby increasing it’s fatality. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of head and neck cancer by 15 times! Most of these cancers can be prevented simply by staying away from smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption.

How does smoking affect your sinuses?

One of the reasons why smoking is deadly is that it affects all the parts which it gets into contact right from your lips to lungs. Membranes in your sinuses are a protective mechanism for your respiratory system and keep you safe from airborne particulate matter, bacteria, etc thanks to cilia which are hair like structures present in the sinuses. Smoking affects these cilia causing sinus infections, allergic reactions, etc. In cases of regular smoking, you may develop chronic sinusitis. Also if you are planning to undergo sinus surgery, chances are you may not get the expected results due to smoking!

Does smoking cause hearing loss and ear infections?

Smoking and nicotine affect the health of your inner ear which may lead to hearing loss! Cigarette smoke interferes with the neurotransmitters which are responsible for your hearing. They are also responsible for irritating the Eustachian tube and lining of the middle ear. As a result your ear becomes susceptible to infections, sensitive to loud noises and in the long term to hearing loss! Though smoking may directly not cause Tinnitus, it has been observed that smokers are more susceptible to tinnitus than non-smokers. For preserving your hearing, it is highly recommended to stay away from tobacco.

Smoking irritates and damages the sensitive tissues in the ear, nose and throat exposing them to different infections. Smoking reduces your overall immunity thereby making you vulnerable to contract infections. Even if you are not a smoker, second hand smoke or passive smoking can also lead to numerous health problems including ear, nose and throat infections.

Does cigarette smoke cause allergy?

Cigarette smoke contains several harmful irritants and leads to allergic rhinitis. Smoking and exposure to passive smoking can cause symptoms such as headache, watery eyes, sneezing, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms. Children are more sensitive to passive smoking and allergic symptoms are triggered more easily.

What are the other non-cancerous ENT problems caused by smoking and tobacco consumption?

If the list of fatal, cancerous problems caused by smoking and tobacco consumption was not enough to scare you, here is a list of non-cancerous ENT problems caused by smoking –

Say NO to tobacco!

It is well known that tobacco consumption and smoking is a major cause of cardio-vascular and a long list of ear, nose, throat related issues. If you are a smoker or consume tobacco in any form, it is never too late to quit the habit. The costs – economic and physical far outweigh the pleasure smokers gain from the habit. Another point to remember is you are affecting your family and friends as well, as they are constantly exposed to second-hand smoke. Tobacco consumption is a ticking time bomb! This World No Tobacco day let us pledge to give up tobacco products and preserve our health for years to come.


prevent hearing loss due to earphone usage

Prevent hearing loss due to earphones usage

Prevent hearing loss due to earphones usage - Safe hearing tips for children, teenagers and young adults

prevent hearing loss due to earphone usage

Are you a working professional or college goer who listens to long hours of music during commute? Do your children in their teens spend a lot of time glued to a smartphone watching videos and listening to music? Are you a young adult who enjoys loud music at the gym, home and parties? Chances are you are one among the billion people at a high risk of hearing loss due to earphones usage. We have compiled this article to help you prevent hearing loss due to earphones usage.

Over a billion young people are at risk of hearing loss simply by doing what they really enjoy doing a lot, which is listening regularly to music through their headphones over their devices” said Dr Shelly Chadha, a Technical Officer, working on preventing deafness and hearing loss at WHO. 

The impending risk is so high that Ear specialists like Dr Rao’s ENT, global health organizations like WHO and smartphone companies like Google are trying within their means to educate about digital wellness and bring in change.

Hearing experts say more than 1 billion people in the age group of 12 to 35 are at risk or have already undergone some irreversible damage to their ears due to exposure to loud sounds such as music played on their phones or speakers. The worrying part is noise induced hearing loss creeps in gradually, you do not lose your hearing dramatically overnight but over a prolonged period. During this time your favorite music starts sounding dimmer, your family and friends find it difficult to communicate with you and it hits your lifestyle and confidence before you realize that it is too late!

What causes noise induced hearing loss?

Our inner ear contains tiny and delicate sensory hair cells which act as receptors for our hearing as well as vestibular system. They are present in the cochlea of the inner ear and are responsible for amplifying and transforming the sound vibrations into electrical signals and relaying them to the brain.

When these hair cells are subjected to loud noise they are permanently damaged and unlike many animals, human beings are not capable of regenerating these damaged cells resulting in a permanent loss of hearing.

What are the safe hearing limits you should be aware of?

Ear experts put the safe hearing threshold at 85 decibels which is as loud as heavy traffic or a window air conditioner. A brief exposure to noise beyond this limit can cause temporary threshold shifts where your hearing gets muffled temporarily and is restored in a few days. This is the body’s protective mechanism for brief exposures to loud noises at a loud club or a concert.

But your ears cannot protect themselves over prolonged period of noise exposure leading to permanent and irreversible damage. If you are exposed to loud noise at a younger age, you may not see an immediate effect but have a more severe hearing loss when you get older.

Once lost, hearing does not come back. In the case of hearing loss, prevention is the only cure. Follow our advice to prevent hearing loss due to earphones usage.

Whispering 30dB
Refrigerator 40dB
Normal conversation 65dB
Ambient noise at home or office 70dB
Vacuum cleaner 75dB
Motorcycle 90dB
Movie theater 90dB
Rock concert, sports event & night club 100dB

Tips for safe hearing

“Save your ears for the golden years” – Listen to what our founder-chairman and renowned ear specialist Dr GVS Rao has to say about safe hearing for children and youngsters.

Follow the 60/60 rule

To prevent damage to ears due to high volume levels, limit your volume to 60%. As a rule of thumb, do not use earphones for more than 60 minutes at a volume level of not more than 60%.

Headphones or earphones – which is the better and safer alternative?

Earphones channel the sound directly into the ear canal thereby increasing the chances of damage. Though headphones can also cause similar damage at high decibel levels, they are a better alternative compared to earphones.

Ear plugs are mandatory for a noise work environment –

If your working environment subjects you to high noise levels such as in a factory, you should wear ear plugs to prevent damage to your ears.

headphones or earphones

Opt for noise cancelling headphones –

We often crank up the volume to cancel out outside noise, for example in our commute we find the traffic noise high. Noise cancelling headphones and over the ear headphones are better at isolating ambient sounds thereby allowing you to enjoy music at a lower volume.

Follow this general advice to ascertain if you are exposing yourself to loud music/audio –

If someone at arm’s length can hear music coming from your headphones, or if you raise your voice to speak to someone at an arm’s distance chances are, your volume is high!

What should you do if you suspect your hearing is damaged?

Book an appointment with us for hearing test. Dr Rao’s ENT has the best panel of Ear specialists led by our founder-chairman, Dr GVS Rao and is equipped with state-of-the art audiology department for thorough screening and diagnosis. We also specialize in hearing aids and cochlear implant surgery.

Early detection

Early detection of hearing loss is crucial for effective treatment and to prevent further deterioration. Fortunately, we have at our disposal many tools which can help us evaluate our hearing from time to time. In case you are seeking expert help, you can visit an Ear specialist like Dr Rao’s ENT for a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan.

WHO has developed a free app called hearWHO which is based on validated digits-in-noise technology that allows the general public to quickly screen their hearing status and monitor it over time. If you regularly listen to music or you are exposed to noise as a part of your profession we highly recommend this screening on a regular basis.

Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hearxgroup.hearwho

iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hearwho-check-your-hearing/id1449966543?mt=8


tinnitus

What is Tinnitus

tinnitus

What is Tinnitus?


Did you ever experience a ringing, hissing or crackling sound in the ears? If you did, you might have experienced a condition medically known as Tinnitus. It can often be a minor, temporary inconvenience but in some cases, it can be a more chronic and persistent problem which requires the help of a medical professional, more specifically an ENT specialist like Dr Rao’s ENT.

Did you know? Tinnitus refers to any abnormal sound in the ear such as ringing, clicking, whistling, hissing, crackling and popping. These sounds may be caused while talking, yawning, gulping food, or any movement of the jaws.

Who is affected by Tinnitus?


Tinnitus is a very common complaint and approximately 7% of the population has experienced it at some stage of their life. Individuals from all age groups – children, teens, adults to senior citizens suffer from this condition but due to different causes. Individuals who are 50 years and above have higher occurrences of Tinnitus.

What are the symptoms of Tinnitus?


Most patients associate Tinnitus with not just physical inconvenience but also mental distress caused by constant ringing sensation in the ears. Tinnitus is known to cause anxiety, lack of sleep(insomnia), poor performance at work and school, irritability and at times even depression. This goes to show Tinnitus is not a condition to ignore.

Causes of Tinnitus


Now that we understand what is Tinnitus and why it is a condition to worry, let’s look at what are the most common causes of Tinnitus.

  1. Damage/loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear
  2. Ear wax
  3. Ear infections
  4. Eustachian tube dysfunction
  5. TMJ disorders
  6. Foreign object in the ear
  7. Noise trauma
  8. Stiffening of the middle ear bones
  9. Head and neck injuries
  10. Certain medications such as aspirin

Did you know? Most people learn to live with Tinnitus but help is always available from ENT specialists for those who find it unbearable.

  • Damage or loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear
    The structures inside the ear responsible for hearing are very complex and sensitive. The damage and loss of tiny sensory hair cells in the cochlea which resides in the inner human ear, is one of the most common causes of Tinnitus. This damage tends to happen with age but at times is caused by exposure to loud noises as well. Hence youngsters exposing themselves to loud music and constant usage of headphones should be wary of this potential damage which may result in hearing loss.
  • Ear wax
    Another common reason for Tinnitus is war wax, the same wax which many of us ignorantly clean with cotton swabs. Eardrum is the key component of the ear responsible for conducting the sound entering the ear and any dry residue of ear wax can result in the improper transmission of sound to the eardrum resulting in crackling sound.
  • Ear infections
    Ear infections can affect the functioning of the ear by infecting the ear and its internal components. This may lead to the individual hearing abnormal sounds in the ear. Hence it is advised to maintain ear hygiene and consult an ENT specialist in case of any discharge or infection in the ear.
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
    Eustachian tube is a 3-4 cm long tube-like structure in the middle ear responsible for air circulation and maintaining the balance of internal and external air pressure in the ear. When the eustachian tube is infected, it results in fluid build-up in the middle ear leading to tinnitus.
  • TMJ Disorders
    Temporomandibular joint syndrome is a pain in the jaw joint caused due to a variety of reasons such as jaw injury, poor posture, arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders. TMJ disorders cause unbearable pain and tenderness in the jaw while eating, speaking or any activity involving jaw movement. TMJ disorders are known to cause tinnitus.
  • Foreign object in the ear
    The presence of foreign objects in the ear is another common cause of crackling or popping sound in the ears. Any foreign object such as an insect that got accidentally trapped in the ear can rub against the eardrum causing tinnitus.
  • Noise trauma
    Children and teenagers are often exposed to noise trauma caused by exposure to high levels of noise. This is often due to the usage of high volume in earphones, exposure to loud music or accidental exposure to noise. Some professions also expose individuals to occupational noise trauma in which cases patients should take precautionary measures to protect their ears. Whatever the reason for exposure, noise trauma can cause tinnitus.
  • Stiffening of the middle ear bones
    Otosclerosis or stiffening of the bones in the middle ear can impact your hearing and cause tinnitus.
  • Head and neck injuries
    In some cases, head and neck injuries are also known to cause tinnitus. The ear comprises of a very delicate and intricate combination of bones that enable us to hear. Any physical force applied to the ear indirectly because of head and neck injuries has the potential to disrupt this mechanism leading to tinnitus.
  • Certain medications – ototoxic drugs
    A good number of medications are known to cause or aggravate tinnitus. Often common medications such as aspirin, antibiotics and not so common drugs used for treating cancers, anti-depressants could cause tinnitus. Most of these drugs are ototoxic, i.e., can damage the auditory nerve. When these medicines are administered incorrectly or in high dosage they can cause tinnitus.

Treatment for Tinnitus

As described above, tinnitus can be caused by a wide range of issues and an ENT specialist would first diagnose the underlying problem and treat the same. For example, if tinnitus is caused by an ear infection, the doctor would treat the underlying ear infection and the problem would be addressed by the end of the treatment. Similarly, if it is caused due to eustachian tube dysfunction, your ENT surgeon would perform an eustachian tube balloon dilation procedure to clear out the fluid built-up in the middle ear. Once the root cause is address, tinnitus would subside.

Closing remarks

In many cases, patients often cope with tinnitus considering it as a minor inconvenience and also get used to other resulting issues such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. From the causes we listed out above, it is evident that tinnitus is often an indication of a more serious underlying problem. Some of these problems can lead to permanent hearing loss or deafness. You may experience tinnitus after a flight or during adventure sports such as scuba diving due to a sudden change in pressure. Such instances may lead to temporary, short-lived tinnitus. But if you are experiencing repeated and severe episodes of tinnitus, visit an experienced ENT hospital like Dr Rao’s ENT Super Speciality Hospital which is equipped with state-of-the-art ENT facilities and a panel of highly experienced ENT specialists who can provide an accurate diagnosis and administer the right treatment.

Hope we could address your queries about tinnitus. Feel free to drop us a message if you have any queries or book an appointment with the best ENT Hospital in India here.


Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation at Dr Rao's ENT

Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation - for the 1st time in India, performed at Dr Rao's ENT Super Speciality International Hospital

Dr Rao’s ENT Super Speciality Hospital is proud to be the first ENT Hospital in India to offer Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation procedure which is widely used globally to treat Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. In our constant quest to bring the best global ENT practices and standards to India, we have recently started offering the surgical procedure at our state of the art international super speciality ENT hospital.

Dr GVK Chaitanya Rao, our Managing Director and member of American Rhinologic Society (ARS) and European Rhinologic Society (ERS) explains what is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, what is the procedure for Balloon Dilation and other details about the surgery.

What is Eustachian Tube

The eustachian tube, also known as the pharyngotympanic tube, is an anatomical structure 3-4 cm long that extends from the middle ear to the nasopharynx region. The main functions of the eustachian tube are –

  1. To ventilate the middle ear,
  2. Facilitate the drainage of secretions produced in the middle ear, and
  3. Prevent the reflux of nasopharyngeal secretions into the middle ear.

What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

The eustachian tube, also known as the pharyngotympanic tube, is an anatomical structure 3-4 cm long that extends from the middle ear to the nasopharynx region. The main functions of the eustachian tube are –

  1. To ventilate the middle ear,
  2. Facilitate the drainage of secretions produced in the middle ear, and
  3. Prevent the reflux of nasopharyngeal secretions into the middle ear.

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How is Tubal Dysfunction diagnosed?

There are several tests to evaluate the functionality of the eustachian tube; however, there are still no defined criteria for the diagnosis of tubal dysfunction. Tympanometry and Sonotubometry are the most commonly used tests.

Tympanometry evaluates the ability of the tympanic membrane to transmit sound energy through the middle ear. After examining the external ear with an otoscope to ensure that the path to the eardrum is clean and that there is no perforation in the eardrum, the test is performed by inserting an instrument (tympanometer) into the ear canal. The device changes the pressure in the ear, generates a pure tone and measures the responses of the eardrum to sound at different pressures. This procedure generates a series of data which is plotted on a computer. The resulting graph is cataloged as one of the following 3 groups: normal, low, or excessive.

Sonotubometry is based on the application of a sound source in the nostrils with the placement of a microphone in the external auditory canal to measure the sound transmitted when the eustachian tube opens and closes. This diagnostic test has the advantage of allowing the assessment of eustachian tube regardless of the condition of the tympanic membrane.

What are the indicators of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

Many of the chronic pathologies of the middle ear are caused because of improper functioning of the eustachian tube leading to reduced ventilation of the middle ear. Balloon dilatation of eustachian tube improves the patency of cartilaginous part of eustachian tube and acquires great value in the treatment and prognosis of serous otitis media, tympanic membrane perforation, chronic otitis media, and cholesteatoma.

What is the procedure for Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?

Balloon dilatation of the eustachian tube can be performed under general or local anesthesia. This procedure involves the introduction of an inflatable catheter into the eustachian tube through the nasopharynx. Once the catheter is inserted, the balloon at its distal end is inflated by the introduction of saline solution, up to a pressure of 10 atmospheric pressure. The balloon is kept inflated at this pressure for two minutes. Then, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed under endoscopic vision. The postoperative period is practically painless, allowing patients to return to their normal lives within a few hours.

This procedure is based on the idea that temporary dilatation of the eustachian tube can improve symptoms (loss of hearing, pain and auditory fullness, otorrhea, tinnitus, and dizziness) of patients with tubal dysfunction.

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What is the clinical effectiveness of Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?

The data on the effectiveness of balloon dilation are based on several comparative studies. In all the studies an improvement was observed in the evaluated variables (tympanometry, mucosal inflammation, improvement of general symptomatology, quality of life).

The proportion of patients whose tympanogram results were classified as A (normal) after the intervention varied between 90-97% (1) (2). The duration of follow-up ranged between 2 months and 4.2 years.

With regards to the findings obtained with the otoscope, it was evidenced that 100% of the patients who presented with retractions of the tympanic membrane before the procedure were free of them after the intervention (2).

To evaluate the improvement of symptoms, a group of German researchers used a composite scale whose values ​​ranged from 0 to 10; Values ​​above 5 indicated functional Eustachian tubes. The mean preoperative value was 2.71 and the postoperative value at 2, 12 and 24 months of follow-up was 5.46; 6.07; and 6.14, respectively (3) (4). In the studies that used this scale, 78% of the eustachian tube balloon dilatation treated patients showed an improvement at 2 months of follow-up.

Several studies have evaluated the inflammation of the middle ear mucosa on a scale of 1 (normal) to 4 (severe), obtaining a pre-surgical mean of 2.8 and 1.4 after the eustachian tube balloon dilatation intervention, evidencing an improvement in the inflammation after surgery in more than 80% of patients (1).

Regarding long-term results, 87% of the population showed persistent improvement of symptoms at 34 months of follow-up (5). The need to repeat the procedure was similar in different studies (2) (5) (6), within a range of 8-10%.

After the eustachian tube balloon dilatation intervention, the quality of life of patients improved both in general health and specifically in relation to the disease. In a study using the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI) questionnaire, a statistically significant improvement was obtained in the global score, in the “general health” subscale and in the “physical health” subscale (7).

What are the risks involved?

Based on the available studies, the safety and tolerability of balloon dilation in adults is good, presenting with mild adverse effects in very few cases. These effects are usually self-limiting or can be treated with local decongestants.

The most frequent adverse event has been the appearance of slight bleeding in the nasopharyngeal region. Otitis media and emphysema have also been observed in the facial area in some cases.

References

  1. Silvola J, Kivekas I, Poe DS. Balloon Dilation of the cartilaginous portion of the Eustachian tube. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;151:125-30.
  2. McCoul ED, Anand VK. Eustachian tube balloon dilation surgery. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2012;2:191-8
  3. Schröder S, Reineke U, Lehmann M, Ebmeyer J, Sudhoff H. Chronic obstructive eustachian tube dysfunction in adults: long-term results of balloon eustachian tuboplasty. HNO. 2013;61:142-51.
  4. Sudhoff H, Schröder S, Reineke U, Lehmann M, Korbmacher D, Ebmeyer J. Therapy of chronic obstructive eustachian tube dysfunction: evolution of applied therapies. HNO. 2013;61:477-82.
  5. Catalano PJ, Jonnalagadda S, Yu VM. Balloon catheter dilatation of Eustachian tube: a preliminary study. Otol Neurotol. 2012;33:1549-52.
  6. Poe DS, Silvola J, Pyykko I. Balloon dilation of the cartilaginous eustachian tube. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;144:563-93.
  7. Bast F, Frank A, Schrom T. Balloon dilatation of the Eustachian tube: postoperative validation of patient satisfaction. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2013;75:361-5.


Take the Sleepiness test

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

Do you have sleepiness issues?

Do you suspect having sleep issues? Do your friends and family constantly keep reminding you to freshen up? How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the different situations such as while reading, watching tv, etc?

The Epworth Sleepiness Index helps you assess your sleepiness by quantifying your chances of dozing off in different situations. Even if you have not done some of these things recently try to determine how they would have affected you. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale helps understand if a patient needs medical attention or not. If you have a Sleepiness Issue, you can always consult the Sleep Disorder Specialists at Dr Rao’s ENT. We are equipped with state of the art sleep lab to assess problems such as sleep apnea & snoring to help provide the right treatment.

Go ahead and answer few simple questions to find for yourself your sleepiness index!

To know more visit this link.


Dr Chaitanya Rao undergoes Advanced Sinus Training at IRCAD Taiwan

Dr Chaitanya Rao undergoes Advanced Sinus Training at IRCAD Taiwan in a quest to become the best Sinus Specialist in Hyderabad (India)

We are proud to share that our Managing Director, Dr GVK Chaitanya Rao, has undergone training in advanced Sinus Surgery at IRCAD, Taichung, Taiwan. Dr Chaitanya Rao who is a member of American Rhinology Society(ARS) and European Rhinologic Society(ERS), joins the list of select ENT Specialists from India to have undergone this training. His areas of expertise include Nose & Sinus surgeries and this training extends his expertise further & places him as the best Sinus Specialist in Hyderabad (India).

About IRCAD, Taiwan

The course was held at IRCAD Taiwan between 15-16 February, 2019 for select ENT Professionals of various nationalities with the objective of equipping them with advanced techniques in Sinus Dissection. The course also gives insights into the global best practices and learn from the peer group.

Advantage to Dr. Rao's ENT patients

Dr Chaitanya Rao believes that in order to deliver the best treatment to patients, doctors need to constantly keep themselves up-to-date with the emerging methods and the training at IRCAD was in this direction. He firmly believes that continuing medical education should be part of every ENT specialists’ DNA. Dr Chaitanya supports his belief by training other ENT specialists through Dr Rao’s ENT Workshops.

With medical advancements, surgeries are becoming safer, efficient and less worrisome to patients. Therefore, by undergoing regular CME programs, doctors can ensure these advancements reach the patients.

Through these programs our doctors will also get exposure to the global best practices. These practices are absorbed into the processes we follow at Dr Rao’s ENT. It has been the vision of our founder & renowned ENT Specialist, Dr GVS Rao, to constantly drive knowledge up-gradation and this has been an integral part of our approach since inception.

Objectives of the training were as follows

  • Structured anatomic preparation, each step referring to clearly defined anatomical landmarks, after concise lectures and master dissection.
  • Dissection training with HD-videoendoscopy, a large variety of microsurgical instruments, shaver and navigation.
  • Intensive supervision with a experienced supervisor.
  • Specific adjunctive course material like access to essential videoclips of all important surgical steps.
  • Each complete, nature-identical anatomical specimen is subjected to preparation by two participants.


Free ENT Screening Camp in association with VR4U in Manikonda, Hyderabad

Dr Rao’s ENT Super Specialty International Hospital in association with VR4U Group organized a free ENT Screening Camp in ZPH Govt School, Manikonda on 27 January, 2019. We are happy to do our bit in spreading awareness about ENT Health and thank all our patrons who participated in the camp to make it a success.


14th Asia Oceania ORL & HNS - 71st AOICON 2019

Dr Rao’s ENT is proud to have successfully hosted the 14th Asia Oceania ORL & HNS – 71st AOICON 2019 as Surgical Venue. Dr Jacques Magnan & Dr Didier Portmann, renowned international ENT Specialists appreciate the contribution of Dr Rao’s towards the success of the conference. We are happy to share our coverage on TV5.