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Common Otolaryngology Issues for Seniors

While everyone ages in slightly different ways, there are common health issues that occur frequently. Conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat (ENT) are often the result of wear-and-tear and cumulative exposure over the course of your life. 

Included here are some of the most common otolaryngology complaints affecting seniors. When any of these begin to affect your life, book an exam with Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat in Sheridan, Wyoming. Dr. Scott Bateman is an experienced and innovative ENT practitioner, and he specializes in senior care

Presbycusis

Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is perhaps the most common ENT issue facing seniors. More than 25% of the American population 65 and older have some level of hearing loss. This increases to 33% by age 75 and continues to climb as people get older. 

Hearing can decline for genetic reasons, or it may be damaged by long-term exposure to high sound-pressure levels. Typically, you lose high-pitched sounds first. Frequently, presbycusis is accompanied by tinnitus, the occurrence of phantom sounds often described as ringing in the ears, though the sounds can take many forms, including those similar to an electrical hum or the sound of distant surf. Both hearing loss and tinnitus can be treated with hearing aids. 

Some hearing loss may be due to impacted cerumen, more commonly known as earwax. Dr. Bateman offers professional earwax removal as a service. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Snoring isn’t always a health issue, since it’s possible to snore without having sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, though, you’ll snore, due to the collapse of tissue in the throat. The restrictions this places on the airway in your throat causes the vibrations that create snoring sounds. 

OSA occurs when this tissue collapse stops your breathing cycle as you sleep. While your brain wakes you up enough to restart breathing, you may not wake enough to notice the interruption. You won’t get the rest your body needs, and OSA raises your risk of developing other health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is the medical name that describes the sensation of dizziness and vertigo that you feel when you get up too quickly. While these episodes aren’t usually harmful in themselves, they can increase your risk of losing balance and falling. In less common cases, BPPV can be a symptom of other conditions. People prone to BPPV tend to have more frequent and longer-lasting episodes as they get older. 

These are just a few of the ENT conditions you may experience. You may find your senses of smell and taste diminish, or your nose and sinuses may clog up longer or more often. Contact Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat to follow up on any related healthcare issue that may emerge as you get older. You can reach the office by phone at 307-672-0290, or schedule your consultation online now. 

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