Do You Have a Deviated Septum?

Ours nose is in the middle of our face, so naturally we pay a great deal of attention to how it looks. If we look carefully though, most of us will find that our nose is not perfectly straight. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 80% of Americans have a nose that is off-center.  Known as a deviated septum, this condition is not a cause of concern for most, for those with a severely deviated septum the condition can result in multiple issues.

Rhinoplasty

So what exactly is a deviated septum? There is a thin wall of cartilage and bone that separates our nostrils called the septum. A deviation of the septum occurs when it is displaced to one side, making one nasal passage smaller than the other. When severe, a deviated septum can restrict airflow and make breathing difficult. A person can be born with a deviated septum, can develop one during normal childhood growth, or sustain one as the result of an injury or trauma, such as a broken nose.

Regardless of the cause of a deviated septum, when significant enough, it can be the cause of many problems, including:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Nasal congestion (usually on one side)
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sleep disorders, including snoring or sleep apnea
  • Facial pain or headaches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Dry mouth (due to chronic mouth breathing)

A doctor, usually an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear nose and throat specialist can perform a physical examination using an instrument called a nasal speculum to determine how severe the septum is deviated. Based on the doctor’s findings, an appropriate course of treatment will be provided.  In most cases, the symptoms of a deviated septum can be treated through a variety of medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, or steroid sprays.

If medications don’t relieve your symptoms, surgical intervention may be recommended.  A procedure, known as a septoplasty, where the nasal passage is straightened and repositioned in the center of the nose, can be performed. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient level, meaning you can return home the same day, but healing normally takes a few weeks. Symptoms associated with a deviated septum are often completely resolved after surgery.

To make an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5440.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are Headphones Bad for Your Hearing?

download (3)Headphones are popular for a multitude of reasons, such as convenience and sound quality, but there is a downside to these devices. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of teens who have experienced hearing loss has increased by 33% since 1994.  Do you catch yourself blasting music while listening to your headphones for long periods of time? If so, your hearing may be at risk.

Headphones come in a variety of styles, but the two most commonly used are earbuds and around-ear headphones. While around-ear headphones can have negative side effects, earbuds are the more dangerous because they are inserted directly into your ears, providing an uninterrupted route for the music to travel through your ear and straight to your eardrum. When sound enters the ear, the eardrum vibrates. These vibrations travel to the cochlea, where fluid carries them to fine hairs that trigger the auditory nerve fibers, which travel to the brain. When a sound is too loud, the hairs can become damaged, causing permanent hearing loss.

Noise is damaging at about 85 decibels, or the volume of a hair dryer. People who tend to play music up to 110-120 decibels over a long period of time while using earbuds, which increases the sound by 7-9 decibels, can experience a significant amount of hearing loss.

Want to avoid further hearing loss? Try some of these helpful tips:
• Listen to your music for no longer than an hour and no louder than 60% of volume.
• Purchase around-ear headphones with noise-cancelling technology so you can avoid blasting music and prevent music from having direct contact with your eardrum.
• Remove earwax. Earwax builds up every time you push earbuds into your ear canal, so make sure you gently clean it out to prevent hearing loss, discomfort and infection.

If you’re experiencing hearing loss, please call Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center to schedule an appointment with an ENT at 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.