Seasonal Holidays

Tinnitus: It’s Not Love’s Bells

Last week, the world was abuzz with love. However, you’re now discovering that the buzzing in your ears is still there, a week later. Sure you may have found the love of your life, but you also may have tinnitus.

Tinnitus manifests as a “phantom” ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing. You can have it in one or both ears and it can be soft or piercing. For some people, the sound can be so intense that it masks actual sounds or makes it difficult to concentrate.

There are two different types of tinnitus:

  • Subjective tinnitus, the most common type, which can only be heard by the patient.
  • Objective tinnitus, which can be heard by your physician during an examination.

Tinnitus affects 1 in 5 people and is a symptom rather than an actual disorder. There are numerous causes of tinnitus, but sometimes the root of the problem is unknown.These causes may include inner ear cell damage, ear bone changes or blood vessel problems. Exposure to loud noise can also cause tinnitus, and if you’ve ever left a concert or a club and heard a ringing in your ears, you have actually experienced the sensation. Fortunately, the type that results from short-term exposure, such as to a DJ or band, goes away within a few hours.

While tinnitus is not a serious medical condition in itself, it can negatively affect your daily life. Some of its effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Sleep problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and irritability

These conditions, in turn, can cause problems for your health as well.

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, many people respond well to treatment that addresses the underlying medical condition or through different types of sound therapies, such as masking devices or hearing aids, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

At Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat, our expert physicians have the most up-to-date knowledge and facilities for diagnosing and treating tinnitus. If you or someone you love are experiencing any of these “phantom” sensations, call us today at (888) 230-3715 to see how we can help.

For more information on everything ear, nose and throat, visit our website and blog.

How to Prevent Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmers Ear

Swim season is coming, which could easily mean lots of fun, but could also lead to a good deal of ache if you are not careful. A lot of people do not realize how delicate their ears are and that they should be given just as much consideration as other parts of their bodies. Swimmer’s ear is also known as acute external otitis since it occurs in the outer ear canal. When water gets stuck in this area of your ear after swimming (or even if you get bacteria in there from sticking your finger or a cotton swab inside), bacteria can grow out of control and make for one painful infection. After all, those warm, moist environments are where bacteria thrives the most.

You will normally be able to tell on your own if you are developing a case of swimmer’s ear. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, make sure you call us soon and ensure you get your appointment on the books.

  • Itching or redness in your ear
  • Discomfort that is worse when you pull on your outer ear
  • Drainage of clear, odorless fluid (or puss at later stages)
  • Feeling of fullness and increasing pain in the ear

 Treatment for swimmer’s ear is not difficult if caught within a reasonable amount of time. Normally, you can pick up a bottle of eardrops from your pharmacy with a simple prescription. Prompt treatment of swimmer’s ear can help prevent progression and complications. We aren’t telling you to stay out of the water! Just be aware of what can possibly happen.

 If you are prone to getting these infections, wear earplugs if you’re going to be swimming a lot. Simply shaking the water out of your ear also may help in the short term. This may sound silly, but a trick that works for a lot of people is hopping on one foot with your head tilted to the side if you feel leftover water stuck in your ear. Often it will wiggle itself out and you will have absolutely nothing to worry about. However, if you ever do experience a problem with this, there are no better people to go to for assistance than your friends here at Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat!


Allergies in the Home


Asian woman with nose allergy

It’s one of those times during the year that you’re likely trying to prep your house for guests, as both Easter and Passover are approaching. No one wants family or friends to see a dirty home during a holiday season, so you may be frantically running around trying to make everything look perfect… then you sneeze. Don’t panic: If you don’t have a cold but rather think there may be allergens in your home that are setting off your sinuses, all you need to do is think about what the root of the problem might be. What could be causing your allergies?

If your allergies are flaring up, it could very well be that your guests’ will, too. Make a good impression and ensure that both you and your guests are as comfortable as possible. There are lots of things that could be contributing to your body’s reaction. Mold can be common in bathrooms since they are prone to creating a warm and moist environment. Old collectables can accumulate dust mites. It could even be your precious cat running around, spreading the less visible (yet still highly irritating) pet dander everywhere as he goes. It is always a good idea to come be evaluated by CT Sinus Center or at Westwood Ear Nose and Throat if you’re not sure what it is that is bothering you.

If you are already considering making an appointment, you could use the following techniques in the meantime. First, mold will often grow in the bathroom when there is not enough ventilation to let out the steam. Use an antimicrobial cleaning agent on any iffy spots you see (greenish, blackish, or brownish), then be sure to open a window for a few hours after taking a particularly hot shower. Your belongings should be dusted periodically so that mites are less likely to gather. Pets are also part of the family, and you will want something that offers permanent relief (hint: this is not something you can get from over-the-counter solutions, so don’t bother with the drugstore… just come on in, already!)


Not EVERYTHING Should Be Green This St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's DayEverywhere you turn lately, you’re seeing green. Both St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring are this week, which means bars and restaurants, shops, and probably even some of your friends have been prepping for the last couple weeks (if not longer). People are excited—they’re eating and drinking green things, wearing green clothes, putting up green decorations in their homes—the works. We know you want to be festive too and join in on the fun, but while you’re trying to out-do each other in “greenness” if you will, just remember this: not everything should be green this holiday.

If you see green or yellow discharge coming out of your nose, it could point to a sinus infection or other issues. Schedule a simple evaluation with us to see what is going on with your nasal passages. We’re finally getting a break from that frigid cold. Very soon there will be no more snow banks causing visibility and traction issues on the roads, and that grimy salt will quit staining your shoes. When there are so many things to be relieved about, you surely don’t want to enter into the coming sunny, spring days feeling down in the dumps. You should be celebrating, as this is the kind of weather that usually lifts spirits and spreads joy—but it is also a time when people tend to have their allergies flare up or sometimes catch colds (which can cause a buildup and progress into a more frustrating sinus condition).

Don’t you want to be able to smell the flowers instead of feeling all clogged up? Wouldn’t you like to be able to celebrate with your friends without the feeling of being in a constant haze (often accompanied by headaches, stuffiness, and facial pain)? We want you to have a nice time this week and this season just as much as you do. When you choose us as your doctors, as much as your impression from other places may be that medical professionals are here to scare you, you will get an expert that actually cares. To us you are patients, not “customers.” We are here to help you and make sure you have the best quality of life that you deserve, without common irritants around you bringing you down.



Allergy and Sinus Treatment Fit for a President

Allergy and Sinus Treatment Fit for a President

It sure was cold this President’s Day, which means you were probably planning to turn the heat up as soon as you got home (after a long day of work—or shopping, making use of those sales). This would naturally be among the first solutions that we all think about, and it’s okay, but we’d like you to be aware of what this could mean for next time. Circulating such dry heat could stir up dust, pet dander, other irritants, and even cause nosebleeds (it’s dry enough as it is with the cold weather outside).


If you were under the impression that you were done having to run around looking for the right allergy and sinus treatment once spring ended, this wake up call is probably enough to make you want to tear your hair out. Unfortunately, lots of us are finding that allergies can hit you all year round (they’re just different kinds). Good thing you have us, virtually around the corner, to help you get relief when you need it—and treat you like a VIP all the while. Our motto is “patient centered” care, and if you are not used to getting top quality care, well, you haven’t been to Westwood ENT/ CT Sinus Center.


While we would, of course, always suggest you come see us for long-term allergy and sinus treatment, you can also use these simple tips if there’s too much snow and you can’t come in right away. One, perhaps the more obvious choice, is don’t be so quick to get your hands on that thermostat. Take it easy on the heat, as we know it can toss some pesky polluting elements into your air. Since dryness can quickly irritate the inside of your nasal passages, you will also want to start running a humidifier in your home. This should keep the necessary moisture flowing nicely, prevent tissue from drying and cracking, and help you breathe easier. This, as a reminder, is merely a temporary fix. When you come to us, you can expect your allergy and sinus treatment to be much more permanent and less frustrating than trying to find an over-the-counter drug that really works.

Don’t Let Allergies Ruin The Romance


Ah, the second week of February. We know what that means—either you have plans for someone special in mind this weekend, or you were simply planning to have some relaxing time to yourself. Whether you’re buying wine for some “you” time or are getting ready to impress your sweetheart, you have enough prep on your plate as it is. Wait, what was that, now? Was that a sniffle? Let’s not let it get out of hand… we all know how that can be. Congestion can really hold you back, and we wouldn’t want to let allergies ruin your life. From breathing issues to constant headaches to that over-all icky feeling, you know this is not something you want to deal with—especially not now (I mean, could it be hitting you at a worse time?)

If you were in fact hoping to spend the time with another person, by all means, we know they don’t want to deal with your phlegm any more than you do (no matter how nicely some may try to hide a feeling of disgust from the throaty sounds he/she heard you making at dinner, during a romantic session, or even at night while trying to sleep). So please, for your own sake and for his/hers, don’t let allergies ruin the romance. Come see us to put a stop to what you and/or your loved ones are experiencing due to your clogged sinuses. There is no reason to put anyone through the torture that congestion can bring, when you all could have had such a lovely time otherwise.

Valentines Day is coming, and let’s be frank with each other: A lot of it does have to do with attraction… the sniffles are not very attractive. When there’s a risk of having your allergies ruin the heat of the moment, it’s up to you to do something about it. Taking the proactive approach to relieving the pressure (both in your head and in your love life) is as simple as dialing the number on our new and improved website.