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hearing loss and the covid-19 vaccine

If you’re been paying attention to the news, or have experienced a recent change in your hearing, you may be aware of a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery that explored a possible connection between COVID-19 immunization and sudden hearing loss. Let’s take a closer look and see if this is something you should be concerned about.

What is Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL)?

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is characterized by problems of the inner ear, or cochlea, and/or the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. It occurs when there is damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlear and/or the auditory nerve leaving them unable to convert sound waves into neural signals that will eventually reach the brain. SSNHL is defined as hearing loss of 30 dB (decibels) or greater over at least three continuous audiometric frequencies within a 72-hour period. Causes for SSNHL can include: viruses, aging, head and acoustic trauma, medication reactions, circulatory issues, and Ménière’s disease.

Is There a Link Between Hearing Loss and the COVID Vaccine?

Back to the study we mentioned earlier. Some researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and around the nation were noticing an increase in patients presenting with sudden sensorineural hearing loss following their COVID-19 immunizations. Using data from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to track any adverse reactions to vaccinations, study authors sought to determine whether there was a correlation between receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and onset of SSHNL.

Researchers considered the amount of vaccine recipients who complained of an onset of SSNHL within three weeks of being immunized between December 14, 2020, and March 2, 2021 and then made estimations on an annualized basis. When accounting for underreporting and the fact that VAERS data is unverified, study authors concluded that the COVID-19 vaccine is not proven to cause an increase in SSNHL. Therefore, if you have not been vaccinated and are planning to be vaccinated there is little reason to be concerned about an impact on your hearing.

What Should I Do if I am Experiencing Sudden Hearing Loss?

Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, frustration and isolation. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of SSNHL it’s important to see a physician to discuss treatment options that can restore your quality of life:

  • Muffled hearing
  • Challenges in understanding speech
  • Stuffiness in the ear
  • Ringing sounds
  • Dizziness

Depending on the cause of your hearing loss you may benefit from surgery, medication or hearing aids to help you hear better.

Don’t Settle for Poor Hearing That May Be Helped

If you’ve experienced a sudden change in your hearing, or maybe you’ve been ignoring your hearing loss for years and are ready to do something about it, why not start with our free three-minute online screening to determine how well you’re hearing. We’ll send you your results and let you know your options accordingly. If you’d like to make an in-person appointment with Dr. Rande Lazar and his team to have your hearing evaluated, call us at 901-821-4300, or book an appointment here on our website.

tonsillectomy

Most parents have been there. You’re putting your child to bed and they begin complaining that their ear is hurting. Your pediatrician’s office closed more than two hours ago so your options are racing to the after-hours clinic or waiting until morning.

Or maybe this is the fourth sore throat your child has had this year. Not only has she missed several days of school, but you’re not excited about the thought of putting her on antibiotics again. Between allergies, the common cold, strep throat, and now COVID-19, it can be hard to figure out what’s going on with your child. And while unpredictable, illness often strikes at what feels like the worst possible time.

How do you know when your child’s sore throat or earache is “just part of childhood,” or whether they’re chronic and it’s time to consider a tonsillectomy?

The What, Where, Why of Tonsils

Located in the back of your throat, tonsils are a pair of soft tissue masses that, along with adenoids, are part of your immune system. Adenoids are located high up in the throat, behind the nose and roof of the mouth and are not visible without special instruments.

Think of tonsils and adenoids as your frontline in defending against bacteria and viruses that enter your body through your mouth or nose. Antibodies in these tissues trap and kill the bacteria to help prevent infection.

Sometimes tonsils (or adenoids) become infected by a bacteria or virus, or are enlarged for unknown reasons, causing your child to become sick.

When Throat Infections Become Chronic

It’s easy to dismiss sore throats and earaches as an unfortunate part of growing up, however, if your child has strep throat or ear infections several times a year, they should see an ENT ( a physician specializing in the ear, nose, and throat; otolaryngologist.)

Your physician will perform a physical examination of the head and neck, possibly using a small mirror or a flexible lighted instrument to better see these areas. If necessary, your child may also receive a throat culture, strep test, or blood test to confirm or diagnose infections that may benefit from antibiotics. If your child is having sleep disturbances, that may be attributed to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a sleep study may be recommended.

Signs a Tonsillectomy May Benefit Your Child

In addition to recurring throat and ear infections, four other signs that indicate your child may benefit from having their tonsils removed include:

  • Difficulty swallowing: if your child has trouble or pain when swallowing while eating or drinking.
  • Breathing through the mouth: if your child’s nose is consistently plugged up and they have to breathe through their mouth which is accompanied by a sour odor.
  • Swollen glands: if your child’s throat is painful and there may be abscesses in the back of the throat and you may actually be able to see their tonsils enlarged.
  • Loud snoring: if your child’s large tonsils or adenoids are partially obstructing their airway you may notice loud snoring, or even labored breathing as they sleep. This may result in disrupted sleep or excessive tiredness during the day.
  • Your child’s strep throat or ear infections are not responding to antibiotics.

If your doctor indicates removing the tonsils (and sometimes adenoids) may benefit your child, a tonsillectomy is a common outpatient procedure, typically lasting 20-30 minutes.

Book An Appointment Today to Discuss Your Options

The team at ENT Memphis, led by Rande Lazar, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the ear, nose, and throat and has extensive experience in pediatric otolaryngology.

We know that the sleepless nights, missed school days, and worry are likely weighing on you as a parent. We also understand that considering surgery for your child is a big decision. We would love the opportunity to discuss your child’s symptoms, as well as a treatment plan that you’re both at ease with, and can improve their health. To book an appointment, please call our office at 901.821.4300 or schedule one today through our website.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Have you found yourself nodding along with conversations you are struggling to follow because you’re too embarrassed to ask someone to repeat themselves? Or maybe your spouse keeps asking why you have the volume on the television unusually loud. Do you have a “good ear” and a “bad ear”? Social situations that used to be fun are now frustrating and stressful. If you’re honest with yourself, maybe you know your hearing isn’t what it used to be.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to have your hearing checked. People too often ignore or dismiss hearing loss, assuming it’s part of aging and that nothing can be done about it. Or maybe it’s a stigma about using a hearing aid that’s preventing you from seeking solutions.

However, untreated hearing loss is not merely inconvenient. It can lead to social isolation, depression, frustration in relationships, and decreased job performance.

Signs You Need Your Hearing Checked

Your ear consists of three main parts with three functions: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. In a healthy ear, these three parts work together to translate vibrations into electrical signals that the brain can interpret and understand. Sound can be distorted or lost anywhere along this path, affecting your hearing.

Hearing damage can be caused suddenly by an injury or stroke. However, more commonly, hearing loss is gradual, and causes include: aging, exposure to loud noises over time, ear wax, medications (including large amounts of aspirin), hereditary factors, tinnitus, Meniere’s disease (which affects the inner ear), or a middle ear disease called otosclerosis.

Hearing loss can begin in one or both ears, and symptoms include:

  • Muffled speech or other sounds
  • An inability to distinguish between similar-sounding words or constants
  • Loss of very high or very low pitch
  • Turning up music or the television to an abnormally loud volume
  • Trouble understanding words in a crowd or in the presence of background noise
  • Asking others to repeat themselves or to speak more clearly and loudly
  • Withdrawing socially or avoiding conversations due to frustrations around communication.

Help for Hearing Loss

The reality is there are treatments available that may improve your hearing—as well as your communication, self-esteem, and enjoyment of social situations.

You may benefit from surgery, medication, or hearing aids to help you hear better. Not your grandmother’s hearing aids, today’s devices come in a variety of styles depending on your needs. They are also smaller and more discreet than ever, whether hidden in the ear canal, cordless, or mounted on a pair of glasses.

Why waste another day settling for poor hearing that may be improved? Take our free three-minute online screening to determine how well you’re hearing. We’ll send you your results and let you know your options accordingly. If you’d like to make an in-person appointment with Dr. Rande Lazar and his team to have your hearing evaluated, call us at 901-821-4300, or book an appointment here on our website.

We are taking the following precautions to protect the health and safety of our patients and staff:

  • Sanitizing rooms in between patients
  • All ENT Memphis staff have been instructed to wear masks.
  • Patients are instructed to wear masks
  • Every patient will be assessed for symptoms; this includes a temperature check
  • Social distancing is being practiced within the office
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the office
  • Patients may opt to wait in the car rather than in the waiting room

Everyone likely has coronavirus on their mind lately, but for allergy sufferers, there might be that nagging question, “Is this a reaction to ragweed or something more?”

There is certainly some overlap between allergy symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19, however, there are also significant differences.

Continue reading COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies? Helpful Hints on Knowing the Difference

Keeping our patients’ experience at the forefront, ENT Memphis is proud to offer CT scanning for sinus using the newest and most proficient system available: the Xoran MiniCAT 2020. The MiniCAT 2020 provides sinus-optimized, non-invasive scanning with the highest degree of accuracy all available in office right here at ENT Memphis. Patients can rest assured as the MiniCAT operates with the lowest radiation dose possible while maintaining powerful image quality. This upright, compact, and open system allows our patients to receive single-visit diagnosis in a comfortable and time-efficient manner. 

Dr Rande Lazar open on SaturdayUnfortunately, you can’t dictate your body to only be ill Monday-Friday. The common standard of patient care after hours is an automated phone tree instructing you to either call 911 or go the emergency room. But what if your problem isn’t life threatening? Do you really want to get lost in the ER triage pool? According to an article in USA Today by Laura Ungar, the average wait in the ER for a non-critical patient is 2 hours during the weekday and 3 hours on the weekend. Not to mention exposure to numerous germs and viruses that may make you even more sick. Then why have ER visits jumped 12% since 2011?

  • Insurance coverage-sure that is one reason.
  • The “right here, right now” trend of immediate gratification-also true but I can’t fix that either.

What I can control, as a practicing Ear, Nose and Throat physician, is open the doors of my solo practice on Saturday. I know the whole “work-life balance” but :

  1. I became a doctor to help patients and take my oath very serious.
  2. People can’t decide when to get sick.
  3. More and more individuals are working 1-2 jobs and need options besides weekdays from 8-5.

Urgent care centers and after-hour clinics are popping up everywhere to combat the higher cost of unnecessary ER visits, which cost approximately 25% more than an office visit, but I want to personally take care of my patients. Am I part of a growing trend to be more patient centric? I don’t know. But if you wake up on a Saturday with inflamed sinuses or your child’s ear infection has returned for the 3rd time, you know where to find me.

Dr Lazar

 

 

 

 

 

Rande H. Lazar
ENT Memphis
901.821.4300

Providing pediatric and adult care for ear, nose and throat disorders since 1970 including:

  • tonsil/ear/sinus/throat infection
  • sleep apnea/snoring
  • hearing loss