Common ENT Problems Are Treatable and Curable


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There are a number of ear, nose and throat conditions that can cause problems in children ranging from sleep disorders to speech problems. The good news is that there are treatments for most of these conditions, and children will outgrow some of them.

One of the most common otolaryngological conditions afflicting children is ear infections. It’s estimated that 83% of children have at least one ear infection by the age of 3, and nearly one in three have had at least three. Ear infections usually are fairly minor and can be cured with antibiotics, but chronic ear problems also can lead to some complications such as hearing loss.

Among the other common ENT problems is enlarged tonsils. This can be due to tonsillitis or other infections, but some children just have tonsils and sometimes adenoids that are larger than normal. Large tonsils are not only a concern because of infections, but they also can cause other problems, such as snoring and sleep disordered breathing. Snoring occurs in about 12% of children while sleep disordered breathing occurs in 1 to 3%. Tonsillectomies can be the cure for many problems associated with enlarged tonsils, and more and more such surgeries are being done for reasons other than chronic infections. Of the 300,000-400,000 tonsillectomies done annually in young people, about 80% are to deal with sleep disorder problems, and only 20% are because of chronic infections. Thirty years ago, 90% of such surgeries were done because of frequent infections.

A not as common but more serious ENT issue is hypernasal speech. This is a condition that causes abnormal resonance because of too much air going through the nasal passages. It is caused by an incomplete closure of the soft palate. It is present with children who have a cleft palate but can also be a consequence of some other abnormalities as well. Hypernasal speech treatment consists of a couple of options that depend on how serious the condition is. The less-intense form of hypernasal speech treatment is speech therapy. IN more serious cases where such therapy doesn’t work, however, surgery may be necessary.

While ENT problems can be serious and cause chronic problems, they are mostly treatable with medicine or surgery.

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