Diseases and disorders of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck negatively impact the lives of millions around the world. Our health information, created by our member physicians, provides a basic overview of diagnoses and treatment for many of these conditions.  
Pediatric ENT
Children face many of the same health problems that adults do, however symptoms may show themselves differently and treatment methods that work well in adults may not be appropriate for children. This section identifies common pediatric ENT, head, and neck ailments and what you should ask your child's doctor about diagnosis and treatment.
01.  Doctor, why does my child's ear ache?
02.  What causes Otitis Media?
03.  What are the symptoms?
04.  What causes Swimmer's Ear
05.  Is My Baby's Hearing Normal?

06.  What is Tonsils and Adenoids?


01.  Doctor, why does my child's ear ache?

Otitis media means inflammation of the middle ear. The inflammation occurs as a result of a middle ear infection. It can occur in one or both ears. Otitis media is the most frequent diagnosis recorded for children who visit physicians for illness. It is also the most common cause of hearing loss in children.

Although otitis media is most common in young children, it also affects adults occasionally. It occurs most commonly in the winter and early spring months


02.  What causes Otitis Media?

Blockage of the Eustachian tube during a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection and the presence of bacteria or viruses lead to accumulation of fluid (a build-up of pus and mucus) behind the eardrum. This is the infection called acute otitis media. The build up of pressurized pus in the middle ear causes earache, swelling, and redness. Since the eardrum cannot vibrate properly, you or your child may have hearing problems.

Often after the acute infection has passed, the effusion remains and becomes chronic, lasting for weeks, months, or even years. This condition makes one subject to frequent recurrences of the acute infection and may cause difficulty in hearing.



03.  What are the symptoms?

In infants and toddlers look for:

Pulling or scratching at the ear (especially if accompanied by the following
Hearing problems
Crying, irritability
Ear drainage

In young children, adolescents, and adults look for:

Feeling of fullness or pressure
Hearing problems
Dizziness, loss of balance
Nausea, vomiting
Ear drainage

So, remember . . .
Otitis media is generally not serious if it is promptly and properly treated. With the help of your physician, you and/or your child can feel and hear better very soon. Be sure to follow the treatment plan, and see your physician until he/she tells you that the condition is fully cured.

Swimmers Ear Symptoms

The ear feels blocked and may itch
The ear canal becomes swollen, sometimes swelling shut
The ear starts draining and a runny milky liquid
The ear becomes very painful and very tender to touch, especially
  on the cartilage in front of the ear canal.

If you experience these symptoms or if glands in the neck become swollen, see your doctor.


04.  What causes Swimmers Ear?

When water gets into the ear, it may bring in bacterial or fungal particles. Usually the water runs back out; the ear dries out; and the bacteria and fungi don't cause any problems. But sometimes water remains trapped in the ear canal, and the skin gets soggy. Then bacteria and fungi grow, flourish, and can infect the outer ear.


05.  Is My Baby's Hearing Normal?

Three million American children under the age of 18 years have varying degrees of hearing loss. You, the parents and grandparents, are usually the first to discover hearing loss in your babies, because you spend the most time with them. If, at any time, you suspect your baby has a hearing loss, discuss it with your doctor.

Your baby's hearing can be professionally tested at any age. Computerized hearing tests make it possible to screen newborns. Some babies have more than an average chance of having hearing loss than others. All children should have their hearing tested before they start school. This could reveal mild hearing losses that the parent or child cannot detect. Loss of hearing in one ear may also be determined in this way. Such a loss, although not obvious, may affect speech and language.

Hearing loss can even result from earwax or fluid in the ears. Many children with this type of temporary hearing loss can have their hearing restored through medical treatment or minor surgery.

In contract to temporary hearing loss, some children have nerve deafness, which is permanent. Most of these children have some usable hearing. Few are totally deaf. Early diagnosis, early fitting of hearing aids and an early start on special education programs can help maximize the child's existing hearing.


06.  What is Tonsils and Adenoids?

Tonsils and adenoids are masses of tissue that are similar to the lymph nodes or "glands" found in the neck, groin, and armpits. Tonsils are the two masses on the back of the throat. Adenoids are high in the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth (soft palate) and are not visible through the mouth without special instruments.

Tonsils and adenoids are near the entrance to the breathing passages where they can catch incoming germs, which cause infections. They "sample" bacteria and viruses and can become infected themselves. Scientists believe they work as part of the body's immune system by filtering germs that attempt to invade the body, and that they help to develop antibodies to germs.

This happens primarily during the first few years of life, becoming less important as we get older. Children who must have their tonsils and adenoids removed suffer no loss in their resistance.

Tonsillitis and its symptoms

Tonsillitis is an infection in one or both tonsils. One sign is swelling of the tonsils. Other signs or symptoms are:

Redder than normal tonsils
A white or yellow coating on the tonsils
A slight voice change due to swelling
Sore throat
Uncomfortable or painful swallowing
Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
Bad breath

Enlarged adenoids and their symptoms

If you or your child's adenoids are enlarged, it may be hard to breathe through the nose. Other signs of constant enlargement are:

Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose most of the time
Nose sounds "blocked" when the person speaks
Noisy breathing during the day
Recurrent ear infections
Snoring at night
Breathing stops for a few seconds at night during snoring or loud breathing
  (sleep apnea)
Cape Cod Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists. Head & Neck Surgery, P.C.
65 Cedar Street, Hyannis, MA 02601
(508) 790-0611