Allergy, Nose & Sinus
8 Common Conditions Treated by ENT Specialists in Singapore
January 16, 2020
Otolaryngology is a medical speciality that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, throat (ENT) and head & neck disorders. The physicians trained in this medical field are referred to as ENT specialists or otolaryngologists. They provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions that affects both adults and children in the ear, nose and throat regions as well as structures of the neck and face.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common conditions that people seek help from an ENT specialist.
1. Snoring and sleep apnea
More than just a disrupting rattling noise made during sleep, snoring can be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). This medical condition occurs when a person stops breathing for a short period during sleep, caused by the throat muscles intermittently relaxing and blocking the airway. If left untreated, OSA can lead to more serious complications such as cardiovascular problems.
2. Sensitive nose (Rhinitis – Allergic and Non-allergic)
Rhinitis, or sensitive nose, refers to an inflammation of the nasal cavity. Symptoms include sneezing, blocked nose, frequent and clear runny nose, and itchy eyes. Allergic rhinitis is triggered due to exposure to allergens in the air, such as house dust mites. On the other hand, non-allergic rhinitis can be triggered by strong odours, temperature changes, cigarette smoke and hormonal changes.
Sinusitis occurs when there is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. As a result, mucous can be trapped in the sinuses and lead to bacterial infection. Symptoms may include thick or coloured mucous, blocked and congested, facial pressure and reduced sense of smell.
Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils, which are two oval-shaped lumps of tissues found at the back of the throat. The infection can be recurrent, and patients usually experience severe sore throat, difficulty in swallowing and fever. Surgical removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be recommended to reduce the frequency of getting tonsil infections.
5. Impacted earwax
Earwax helps to keep the ear canal clean and protect it from water, foreign objects, injury and infection. But when there is excessive wax build-up (known as impacted earwax) which fails to clear on its own, this may cause a person to have decreased hearing level in the affected ear, earache, or a secondary ear infection. Removal of ear wax can be done under microscope guidance by an ENT specialist in Singapore.
6. Ear infections
Ear infections can affect the outer ear or inner ear. Otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear, is infection and inflammation of the ear canal. Another type is middle ear infections (Otitis media), which is more common in children as their eustachian tubes are immature and germs can reach the middle ear more easily.
7. Tinnitus and hearing loss
Tinnitus can be described by a ringing, buzzing or hissing sound in the ear. These can be caused by hearing loss from prolonged exposure to loud noises or age-related hearing loss. While the majority of tinnitus cases are not dangerous, symptoms like hearing loss in one ear (or worse in one ear) and tinnitus of a thumping nature can be red flags to indicate a more serious underlying condition.
8. Thyroid nodules/lumps
Thyroid nodules can develop in any part of the thyroid gland. These lumps can be solid or filled with liquid and appear as a single nodule or in a cluster. Though common, thyroid nodules are benign or non-cancerous, 90% of the time. Benign nodules can be monitored and managed, otherwise a thyroid surgery may be recommended if a thyroid nodule is suspected to be cancerous.
Seeking the help of a specialist
Primary care physicians can help to rule out or treat simple conditions. Common ENT conditions such as sensitive nose, sinusitis, ear infections and tonsillitis, for example, can be evaluated and treated first by your family doctor.
But if the symptoms or condition still persist, this should prompt a referral to a doctor specialised in ENT care. Further diagnosis, testing, and monitoring by an ENT specialist in Singapore may be required to determine the appropriate treatment.
Where to get help
Medically reviewed by Dr Gan Eng Cern