Tag: nasal

Glue Ear Treatment Without Surgery

What Is Glue Ear?

Glue ear is known medically as otitis media with effusion but if you want it in plain English, it’s an infection of the middle ear with a sticky fluid produced. It mainly occurs in children but adults can also be affected. When the outlet from the middle earĀ (the Eustachian tube) is blocked, a clear fluid forms that fills the Eustachian tube. Over time, this fluid thickens and blocks the tube and this is what is known as the “glue”. Some people with glue ear snore.

What’s A Middle Ear?

The ear has three parts, the outer ear which includes what is known as the Pinna, the part we think of as the ear, right down to the ear drum, then there is the middle ear, which starts behind the ear drum and finally, the inner ear. The middle ear has a tube (the Eustachian tube) going down to the throat at the back of the mouth.

What’s The Eustachian Tube?

The Eustachian tube is a pressure equalizer. Without it, the middle ear has no outlet to the world but it needs one, in order to keep the air pressure inside the middle ear the same as in the air around us, so it can work properly. When we swallow, the Eustachian tube allows air in or out of the middle ear, so it has the same pressure as our surroundings. This is why airlines used to provide hard boiled sweets or candy to suck, for take -off and landing, to help equalize pressure in the middle ear, compared with air pressure in the plane’s cabin.

What’s The Problem With Glue Ear?

Inside the middle ear are three small bones that carry vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear, to help us understand what we are hearing. With glue ear, the ear drum gets pulled into the middle ear a bit and these bones can’t move and vibrate as they should, so the person becomes hard of hearing. In children, especially, this can affect their learning, as they cannot hear what is said. It can also affect their speech, as they cannot repeat back words correctly, for example, one child with glue ear said “wim poo” for swimming pool and “dadaj” for garage.

How Is Glue Ear Treated

Glue ear does NOT damage the ear. Medical treatments such as antibiotics and antihistamines don’t work well and a lot of the treatment is of the “wait and see if it improves” type. This is reasonable as many cases clear up of their own accord within 3 months or so, but not all. For some children, surgery with grommets (vents) being inserted into the ear drum helps but many parents are wary of surgery, especially in young children. The grommets tend to fall out after a time and the glue ear condition can return.

Non Surgical Treatments For Glue Ear

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Not new but receiving a new boost from doctors, is the nasal balloon. This can be used by both children and adults. It is not a medical treatment, so no drugs, nor is it surgical, so no cutting, no hospital stay and no anaesthetic. It’s purely a physical procedure, called autoinflation, which even a child can learn to do safely and with no side effects. The treatment consists of blowing up a balloon through one nostril, or each nostril in turn if glue ear is present in both ears. Once the patient learns how to do this, it should be done 3 times a day for best results. The video below, while not great quality, shows a child being taught to use the nasal balloon. Results can be immediate with an instant return of hearing, though other times, it takes perseverance.

Results

According to research in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, autoinflation, or use of the nasal balloon is more likely to produce normal hearing results than other interventions. Most people will visit their doctor first for consultation and confirmation of whether they have glue ear and if so, whether a nasal balloon might help alleviate this. Nose balloons are available on line.

 

Stopping snoring

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Stop snoring!

Persistent snoring

Snoring – it affects pretty much everyone at one point or another. However, some people snore much more frequently than others. Persistent snoring not only affects the quantity of your sleep, but also the quality of it. This can leave you feeling fatigued throughout the day, which will leave you more irritable. It can also increase the likelihood of developing some serious health problems. Also, snoring may cause your partner to stay awake as well. This can lead to relationship problems if it isn’t addressed sooner or later. They could maybe end up wishing you were in outer space or at least inside a spacesuit! If you are tired of how your snoring is affecting your life, you’ve come to the right place. In the following article we’ll talk about possible causes for your snoring and what you can do to finally get a handle on it and stop snoring immediately – perhaps.

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Why snoring happens

Before looking at how you can stop snoring, let’s look at why you are snoring in the first place. There are several different reasons why someone might snore. Some of the most common include…
1. Age – As you get older, your throat gets thinner and the muscles become weaker making you more susceptible to snoring.
2. Sinus and nasal problems – When your airways are partially blocked, it is harder to breath which can create a vacuum within your throat.
3. Being out of shape or overweight – Lack of muscle tone and excess fatty tissue have been shown to contribute to snoring.
4. Sleep posture – People who sleep on their back are more likely to snore because their throat muscles relax, blocking the airway.
5. Medication, smoking and alcohol – Any of these can cause your throat muscles to relax which can lead to snoring.

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How to stop snoring

If you’re a snorer, chances are you can attribute it to one or more of the causes mentioned above. Having said that, it is possible to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, your snoring altogether. The first thing you are going to want to try is to make some lifestyle changes. If you feel that your snoring may be caused because you are out of shape and/or overweight, you should strongly consider diet and exercise as a means of reducing your body fat and becoming more conditioned. It would also help to stay away from drinking, smoking and any type of sleep medication or medicines that cause you to become drowsy.

Aside from lifestyle changes, you may also want to establish a bedtime ritual that will help keep you from snoring. Make it a habit to stop eating and consuming caffeine at least two hours before going to bed. You may also want to set up a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist, as dry air can also cause you to snore. If you have blocked nasal passages, consider using a nasal decongestant or Neti pot right before you go to bed. When it finally is time for you to go to sleep, position your head so that it is raised slightly because this will make it easier for you to breath throughout the night. Also, make sure not to sleep on your back. Back sleepers may want to tape a tennis ball to the back of their pyjama shirt to make sure they sleep on their side or stomach.

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As mentioned earlier, many of the causes of snoring can be linked to weak throat muscles. There are several throat exercises you can perform throughout the day that may help your muscles become stronger. One great exercise is to place your tongue behind your teeth and move it back into your throat. Hold this position for 3 minutes each day. Another great way to strengthen your throat muscles is to sing loudly. Depending on how good a singer you are, you may want to reserve this exercise for the shower!

If none of the remedies mentioned so far have worked, it may be time for you to see a doctor. There may be some underlying, more serious condition which is causing your snoring. At the very least, your physician will be able to rule out any serious health problems.

Snoring is a completely natural bodily function, however it can become a problem if it occurs too frequently and these tips can help you banish snoring to a considerable extent.

If snoring remains a problem, there are further solutions that can be considered.