Ear, nose and throat problems are very common in young children and adolescents. 83% of children will have at least one ear infection before they even turn three. Some of the problems are preventable or treatable if contracted and some are not. Let’s go over some of these.
Ear Ear problems are the most well known condition; from ear infections to hearing loss. 60% of children who have hearing loss can be attributed to their genes. However, 30% is because of infections while in the womb, environmental causes or because of a complication after birth. There are three types of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss This type can often be corrected medically or surgically.
- Sensorineural hearing loss This type is the most common type of hearing loss and unfortunately, can not usually be corrected surgically or medically.
- Mixed hearing loss This is actually a combination of the previous two types of hearing loss.
Aural Atresia is when the ear canal has not formed and there is no opening from the outside ear to the inner bones. These are congenital abnormalities of the ear and often times can react well to surgery.
Nose Blocked nose which is also known as stuffy nose or nasal congestion is very common in children and not at all fatal. This happens when the tissues that line the nose are swollen. Common causes of this can be anywhere from sinus infections to allergies. Although, in some cases there can be a deformity in the nose. Generally, this happens because of injury and can be righted through surgery.
Throat Laryngopharyngeal reflux, vocal cord paralysis, coughing, sore throat and tonsillitis are all examples of throat problems.
Hypernasal speech is a mix of nose and throat problems. This is when there is too much airflow through the nose when talking. Hypernasal speech always occurs when the child has a cleft palate that has made a hole in the roof of their mouth. Surgery to correct a cleft palate is suggested to be done before the child is 18 months old. Hypernasal speech treatment can attempt to be correct with speech therapy before trying any kind of surgery but if surgery is preferred, the goal will be to get the right size opening and closure. It’s a fine balance because too much closure will end up giving the child a nasal obstruction.
Of course, these are not all the ear, nose and throat issues a child can have so keep an eye on your children and be in tune with their needs so if something does arise it can be treated effectively and quickly.