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Kids get sick – it’s a fact of life. There are times when you can take them to the pediatrician, and one visit will nip the problem in the bud. However, there are times when your child will need to see a specialist. An ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT for short, and also known in the medical community as an otolaryngologist) can diagnose problems and prescribe treatments that a pediatrician might not be trained for. Read on to learn why all parents should find a good ENT for their kids.
One of the reasons kids need an ENT is because they’re more prone to ear infections than adults. Why is that?
The system that drains fluids from the ear isn’t as well-formed as it is in adults, so bacteria can get stuck and cause infections.
Your pediatrician can treat an ear infection. The problem is when the infections keeps recurring. After a certain number of times (depending on the season as well as the pediatrician), your doctor will likely refer you to an ENT.
Some children are more susceptible to ear infections, such as children with Down Syndrome or cleft palates. In addition, children with Down Syndrome can have other otolaryngological issues that necessitate the services of an ENT.
Up to half of all infants with Down Syndrome have narrow ear canals, which makes it difficult for physicians to diagnose middle ear issues. An ENT will know how to clean them properly to prevent ear infections.
Also, children with Down Syndrome frequently have airway obstructions, which causes sleep apnea. An ENT can diagnose and treat this serious condition. Aside from interrupting your sleep, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems.
In addition, children with Down Syndrome are more prone to chronic rhinitis and sinusitis. Rhinitis is the inflammation of the tissue lining inside the nose, which causes sneezing and stuffiness. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinus cavities. Sometimes, a pediatrician can help patients manage these conditions. However, if the case is really serious, an ENT is the best medical professional to take care of the situation.
Four out of every 1,000 newborns have some hearing loss. ENTs can perform tests to assess a baby’s hearing and discuss treatment options.
What are the warning signs of hearing loss? It depends on a child’s age. If the mother drank alcohol or had German measles, the flu or another virus, that could have an effect on her child’s hearing. Newborns weighing under 3.5 lbs, babies who were jaundiced from birth, had meningitis or failed their newborn hearing screening are also at risk for hearing loss.
Even older children might have minor hearing loss that their parents may not detect, which could nonetheless impact a child’s ability to succeed in school or make friends. Early testing and intervention can change a child’s life and lead to positive outcomes academically and socially.
Your children’s health is a priority, and an ENT can play an important role in helping your child maintain his or her hearing. You want an ENT with years of experience whom you can trust.
Houston Sinus & Allergy specializes in treating nasal and sinus conditions and providing allergy care. Our practice is committed to helping you find long term relief from your symptoms. Dr. Nguyen is a Board Certified ENT – Head and Neck Surgeon with extensive training & experience in diseases of the ears, nose & throat.
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