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Excellence in ENT care

Carolina Ear, Nose & Throat

Dr. Timothy J. Heffron, M.D. and Carolina Ear, Nose & Throat have been providing excellence in ENT care to adults and children since 1990. We have built our reputation by personalizing each patient visit and attentive listening to their concerns. Our state of the art office and superior staff allow us to offer outstanding delivery of medical services to our community.

We provide a full array of ear, nose & throat services.

Our Services

At Carolina Ear, Nose & Throat, we offer both medical and surgical treatment of a wide vareity of ear, nose, sinus, throat, head and neck problems in children and adults. We offer expert management of these and other problems:

EAR

  • Ear Infections
  • Hearing Loss and Hearing Problems
  • Hearing Rehabilitation
  • Hearing Aids
  • Vertigo
  • Middle Ear infections
  • Head and Neck Tumors
  • NOSE

  • Sinus Problems
  • Balloon Sinuplasty in office with local or general anesthesia
  • Nasal Airway Obstruction
  • Snoring and Sleep-related sinus problems
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Dysphagia
  • THROAT

  • Acid Reflux
  • Tongue-Tie Release for Newborns In-Office
  • Thyroid / Parathyroid Surgery
  • Voice Disorders
  • Recurrent Tonsilitis
  • Benign and Malignant Facial Lesions
  • Salivary Gland Infections and Tumors



  • Why Choose Carolina Ear Nose & Throat?

    Because Carolina Ear Nose & Throat is the ENT next door. Our location is easily accessible from most anywhere in the Triangle. Also...



    Experienced Doctors & Staff

    Decades of combined experience in ear, nose and throat medical services.

    Personal Care & Attention

    Your well being rests where expert ENT care meets an expert personal touch.

    Online Scheduling

    Easy appointment requests and scheduling online.

    State of the Art Facilities & Equipment

    The latest technology and equipment are operated during time
    proven surgical procedures.



    What Our Patients Say

    If you are a current patient and would like to add a review we look forward to hearing about your experience!

    Please click here, then "Write a Review" to add a Google Review.

    Eric

    Patient


    This is a top notch doctors office. From the front desk staff to the medical team everyone was patient, kind, and cooperative. Dr. Heffron was understanding, compassionate, and knowledgeable. It is hard to find good health care providers these days. I highly recommend this office if you have an Ear Nose or Throat issues.

    Steven Gamelin

    Patient




    Very thorough and patient ENT, highly recommended!


    Isabella Outlaw

    Patient




    Awesome group of doctors!


    Jessica Shireman

    Patient

    Very good experience with Dr. Heffron. He performed ear tubes surgery in 3 small children (3 under three) with non-invasive anesthesia (gas), good follow up, on-time appointments with good staff. Not excited about having ear tubes in all the kids but they are all doing well and couldn't be happier about the experience.

    We have had bad experiences with other ENT practices.

    Julio

    Patient




    Awesome services



    Paul S.

    Patient - Raleigh, NC

    Dr Heffron has a great bed side manner, and is always informative. He really seems to enjoy what he is doing and enjoys the people he works on.

    Only down side is the three times I have been there he seems to be behind and your service always starts 45min to 1hour late. In the upside he always apologizes we're as most doctors don't seem to care if they are behind

    Your Care Team

    Our state of the art office and superior staff allows us to offer outstanding delivery of medical services to our community.

     

    Dr. Timothy J. Heffron

    Practice Administrator


    Dr. Timothy J. Heffron , a graduate of Villanova University and Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia PA , is an otolaryngologist with 30 plus years of experience. His passion for excellence combines both the strong desire to resolve patient issues and to preserve a positive patient experience. In his words, without this combination, I have failed the patient. He realizes however, that the patient experience is also dependent on professional and caring employees and he believes that he has assembled an outstanding staff. Dr. Heffron has experience in all aspects of ENT practice but has a special interest in sinus disease. He continues to obtain CME credits for advanced studies in new sinus surgery techniques.

    Dr. Heffron lives in Raleigh with his wife Auleen, and two rescued dachshunds, Georgia and Novak who have been with him for the past six years. As typical dachshunds, they are mischievous, determined, clever, and always entertaining. Most recently his daughter Madison graduated from Penn State University of which he and his wife are extremely proud. Her future plans include attending nursing school next year. Interests besides puttering in his yard on weekends is golf, something that he wishes he could spend more time playing . He also enjoys looking for new recipes and planning and preparing dinners on weekends which allows him to relax and enjoy some family time.

    Accepting new patients:
    Yes

    Primary Specialty:
    Ear, Nose and Throat

    Undergraduate Education:
    Villanova University : 1972

    Medical Education:
    Thomas Jefferson University : 1976

    Internships:
    Geisinger Medical Center : 1977

    Residency:
    Geisinger Medical Center : 1981

    Fellowship:
    Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery : 1982

    Board Certifications:
    American Board of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery : 1981

    In Practice Since:
    1977



    Renee Golian

    Clinical Administrative Director

    Kate Berry, MS-Audiology

    Audiologist

    Jackie Sampson

    Patient Service Representative

    Missy Watson

    Patient Care Coordinator

    Tricia Ferrell

    Patient Service Representative

    Sarah Young

    Medical Assistant

    Resources & Education

    Valuable information spanning over many related support topics for our patients. If there are any questions you need not answered here, please contact us any time!



    Accepted Health Insurance


    Click here to view insurance plans we are contracted with. If you have coverage with one of these carriers, you will be asked for your co-pay at the time of service and we will file your claim for you. If your insurance company is not listed here, you will be asked to pay in full and we will file your claim as a courtesy.


    If your insurance plan requires a referral from your Primary Care Physician, it is your responsibility to acquire it prior to your visit. If you do not have this referral in place before your appointment date, you will be asked to reschedule or pay in full.

    Accepted Health Insurance


  • Aetna
  • Aetna (PPO)
  • Aetna Duke Select *NOT IN NETWORK*
  • Alignment Healthcare-Humana (Medicare Replacement/Advantage-HMO) *PRIOR APPROVAL IS NEEDED*
  • Anthem BCBS (out of state included)
  • Anthem HMO Healthkeepers
  • BCBS-NC (PPO), BCBS-NC-FEP (PPO), BCBS-State Health Plan (PPO), BCBS-NC (Medicare Supplement) but NOT Blue Value or Blue Local
  • Beech Street
  • CIGNA
  • First Health
  • Great West
  • HealthNet Federal Services (Tricare North-Standard) *PLEASE CALL PRIMARY PHYSICIAN FOR A REFERRAL*
  • Humana *SOME PLANS REQUIRE A REFERRAL*
  • Mail Handlers
  • MedCost
  • Medicare (including all Medicare replacement policies/supplements)
  • Multiplan/PHCS
  • United Healthcare/United Healthcare (PPO)
  • United Healthcare (Medicare Replacement/Advantage-PPO)
  • UMR-United Healthcare (PPO)

  • If you do not see your insurance on this list, please call your insurance provider to confirm that Carolina Ear, Nose and Throat is an approved network provider.
     

    Post-Operative Instructions


    Explore post-operative instructions for different procedures listed at the left.

    Post-Operative Instructions


    Sinus and Nasal Surgery


    1. No alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, or aspirin containing products for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your surgery.
    2. Your nose will become crusty and stuffy. This is normal. You will also experience some postnasal drip and your ears will feel clogged. Do not blow your nose for the first week. If you sneeze, do so with your mouth open.
    3. Use over-the-counter saline nose spray (AYR, Ocean or Salinex). Start on the 3rd day after your surgery and use it 3 to 4 times a day. Do not blow your nose after the nasal spray during the first week. Do not use any other nasal sprays!
    4. No heavy lifting. Do not lift anything over 10 pounds for the first week. Weight may be slowly increased over the next few weeks.
    5. No bending over. Bend at your knees if you need to pick something up off the floor.
    6. No exercising (including sexual activity of any kind), running or swimming for 4 weeks after the date of your surgery.
    7. For the first 24 hours, use an ice pack on the bridge of your nose intermittently if desired for comfort.
    8. Avoid hot baths or showers since it may cause your nose to bleed.
    9. No straining. Use laxatives or enemas if constipated.
    10. You will be out of work for at least one week, most likely two weeks after your surgery. The recovery time depends on what procedures were performed.
    11. Call the office if you have any bright red bleeding, severe pain unrelieved by the pain medication, a fever above 101. Call if you are unsure of a problem or have any concerns. Your post operative appointments have been made prior to your surgery. If you are unsure of when you are to return, please call the office.
    12. Any anesthesia related concerns should be directed to the anesthesia department during your pretesting appointment at the hospital or facility.
     

    Post-Operative Instructions


    Tympanostomy (Tubes)


    1. Advance diet as tolerated. Begin with clear liquids. Generally, children will be able to resume a normal diet by 12 noon or sooner on the day of surgery.
    2. During bathing and hairwashing, avoid getting a lot of water in ears. Do not allow the water to run directly into the ear.
    3. Temporary difficulty with balance is often seen for a few days following the procedure, but usually resolves within a week. Be especially careful about your child’s balance on the day of surgery. Avoid trampolines, bicycles and gymnastics for the first 24 hours to prevent injury from falling.
    4. Some discharge from the ear may be noted for 1-2 days after the surgery. It may or may not be bloody. If the discharge continues after 2 days, or if it seems excessive, please call the office at (919) 790-2255.
    5. For most children, Tylenol or Ibuprofen is all that is required for pain control. Dose according to age and weight recommendations on the packaging. Most patients need only one or two doses and are usually pain free in three to six hours after surgery.
    6. Many children need to adjust to their improved hearing. They may still be crying at night and pulling at their ears for as long as two weeks after surgery.
    7. If your child will be swimming, please discuss the use of ear plugs with your physician.
     

    Post-Operative Instructions


    Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy


    1. DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN, IBUPROFEN, ANY FORM OF ALCOHOL, ALKA SELTZER, APSERGUM OR ANY PRODUCTS CONTAINING ASPIRIN FOR 2 WEEKS PRIOR TO AND 2 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY.
    2. Rest is generally recommended for the first week after surgery. The patient is allowed limited activity after that, but no active running, playing or swimming for 2 weeks. Patient will be seen by the doctor 7 to 10 days after surgery and will be cleared for school or work at that time. Adult patients should avoid any sexual activity for three weeks.
    3. The only restrictions on diet are to avoid potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, crisp french fries or other foods with sharp edges. Citrus and spicy foods should also be avoided. Otherwise, any food that the patient can eat or drink is acceptable and safe. Abundant fluid intake (10 to 12 glasses per day) is a must to avoid bleeding and dehydration.
    4. A fever up to 102 for the first 2 or 3 days is common. If the temperature goes above 103 or if fever above 101 lasts more than 3 days, please call the office.
    5. Expect to see a yellowish or gray, slimy, thick unpleasant looking coating on the throat and possibly on the tounge. This is totally normal and will go away within 3 weeks. Expect very bad breath and a foul taste in mouth. Chewing gum and drinking lots of fluids will help.
    6. It is common to have significant earaches after tonsillectomy. The earache can be intense and can awaken the patient from sleep several times per night. This is normal and will go away within 2 weeks. It does not usually indicate infection but rather is due to an irritation of a nerve that supplies both the throat and ear.
    7. Expect pain to worsen between days 4 through 7 after surgery. This is due to the maximum swelling that normally occurs in the tissue form the trauma of surgery.
    8. Cough very gently; clear your throat or blow your nose, if necessary.
    9. Bleeding can occur anytime from the day of surgery to up to three weeks later, but is most common between day 5 and day 14. Do not ignore it if it occurs. Most of the time is stops spontaneously, but can be serious if it contiues. Please notify us immediately and / or proceed to the emergency room if continuous bleeding occurs.
    10. Nausea and vomiting are common postop. You can expect to see some streaks of blood if vomiting occurs. This is nothing to be alarmed about. If vomiting persists for more than 24 hours, or if the patient is unable to eat or drink anything for more thatn 24 hours, please call the office.
    11. The uvula ( the thing that hangs down in the back of your mouth ) may swell quite a bit and remain swollen for several days.
    12. You may notice some voice changes (nasal and high-pitched) that will subide with time. You may regurgitate some fluid through your nose. This is all normal and may continue for several weeks.
    13. Do not use any mouthwash or throat sprays until you are cleared to do so.
     

    Post-Operative Instructions


    Mastoid/Tympanoplasty


    1. No alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen or aspirin-containing products for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery.
    2. No heavy lifting. Do not lift anything over 15 pounds for 4 weeks after surgery. No heavy nose blowing for 1 month.
    3. No bending over from waist. Bend at knees only.
    4. No exercising, running or swimming for 4 weeks after surgery.
    5. No straining. Use laxatives if constipated.
    6. You will need to be out of work for at least one week.
    7. Call the office if you have bright red bleeding, dizziness, severe pain/pressure unrelieved by pain medication or a fever above 101. Call if you aare unsure of a problem or have any concerns. Your post operative appointments have been made prior to your surgery. If you are unsure of when you are to return, please call the office.
    8. Keep ear canal totally dry for one month after surgery. Shower with a Vaseline coated cotton ball in ear.
    9. Any anesthesia related concerns should be directed to the anesthesia department during your pretesting appointment at the hospital or facility.
     

    Post-Operative Instructions


    Nosebleed


    1. Avoid blowing your nose until given permission by your physician.
    2. Avoid lifting anything heavier than 10 or 15 pounds.
    3. Avoid bending over at the waist and generally try to keep your head higher than your heart at all times. Sleep with your head elevated.
    4. If you have to sneeze, open your mouth and let it come out. Do not try to hold it in.
    5. If your nose should bleed in spite of the packing or whatever treatment has been provided, please apply pressure to your lower nose by pinching your nostrils together tightly and holding this for 5 – 10, or even 15 minutes continuously. If you cannot stop the bleeding in this way, please contact us as soon as possible at 790-2255.
    6. Please contact us if you experience any of the following: A fever above 101, shaking chills, bleeding that lasts more than 15 minutes, weakness or lightheadedness or fainting spells.
    7. Please refrain from taking aspirin or any other product containing aspirin such as BC or Goody powders, or Alka-Seltzer.
    8. If possible, avoid anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Advil or Motrin. Occasionally these have been known to contribute to easy bleeding.
    9. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
     

    Frequently Asked Questions


    What is the first sign of hearing loss? Most complain that people mumble or talk too fast. Hearing loss is often accompanied by tinnitus. A buildup of earwax, medication, exposure to loud sounds and hearing loss can all cause ringing in the ears, or tinnitus. The ringing might be constant or occasional, but it is often the first sign of hearing loss.

    Is sudden hearing loss an emergency? Not all sudden hearing losses are necessarily a really bad sign, the problem is that it could be, so therefore you should treat it as such. SSHL is, and should be treated as a medical emergency when it occurs. When any sudden onset hearing loss occurs, the faster you get it checked, the better the outcome may be for your hearing. If it is SSHL, the faster you get treatment, the better it will be for your long term ability to hear. Sudden deafness could be just a temporary conductive problem, that's a problem with your middle ear or ear canal, not a problem with your cochlea (inner ear).

    Is dizziness and vertigo the same thing? Vertigo and dizziness, are symptoms rather than a disease.Vertigo (a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not actually moving). Unsteadiness (a sense of imbalance or staggering when standing or walking). Lightheadedness or feeling as if you are about to faint.

    What triggers vertigo attacks? The most common causes of vertigo are inner ear infections or diseases of the ear such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, and Meniere's disease. BPPV can occur when calcium builds up in canals of the inner ear, causing brief dizziness that lasts from 20 seconds to one minute.

    What can I do about my tinnitus? Our audiologist may help you develop some coping strategies to make the tinnitus more manageable.

    What causes ear fullness? The most common cause for ears to feel clogged or plugged is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Symptoms of ETD can include a sensation of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing and/or discomfort created by a difference in air pressure between the ear canal and the middle ear space

    How do I know if I have ear wax build up? You may think you can deal with earwax on your own, but there's no way to know if you have excessive earwax without having someone, usually your doctor, look in your ears. Having signs and symptoms, such as an earache or decreased hearing, doesn't necessarily mean you have wax buildup. It's possible you have another medical condition involving your ears that may need attention.

    What is sinusitis? Medically known as rhinosinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria, or rarely fungus, may cause a sinus infection. Other conditions such as allergies, nasal polyps, and tooth infections can also contribute to sinus pain and symptoms.

    What are common causes of nasal obstruction? Common causes of nasal obstruction include a deviated nasal septum, nasal turbinate enlargement and nasal polyps (benign growths).

    What causes sinusitis and how is it treated? Infection of the sinus cavities often occurs due to inflammation and obstruction of the sinus drainage pathways. People with chronic sinus drainage may benefit from endoscopic sinus surgery and or balloon sinuplasty.

    What is balloon sinus surgery? Balloon sinus surgery (BSS) may be used during functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) or as an alternative. During BSS, the physician uses a small balloon to expand the sinus opening and clear blocked passageways. The procedure is minimally invasive, requires no cutting or removal of bones or tissue, and is often performed in the doctor's office.

    When should I see a doctor for a sinus infection? Make an appointment with your doctor if you have a runny nose with discolored drainage, stuffy nose, and sinus pressure that lasts for more than 10-14 days or is recurrent over several weeks.

    What can be done about my snoring? Snoring is a common problem that may occur alone or in combination with obstructive sleep apnea. Primary snoring typically is caused by vibration of tissues within the oral pharynx (the uvula and palate) Nasal obstruction can be another cause. Obstructive sleep apnea is a cessation of breathing that last ten seconds or more.

    Would my child benefit from a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy? Surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids in children is performed for two primary reasons: recurrent tonsil/adenoid infections and airway obstruction with snoring with associated sleep apnea.

    Are tonsil stones normal? Crypts in the tonsils are normal, however, they can accumulate food, mucus, and other debris which can lead to the formation of tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) and the following symptoms: bad breath, a feeling of having something stuck in your throat, a chronic sore throat, and foul smelling cheese-like clumps in your mouth.

    What causes my hoarseness? Hoarseness, due to irritation of the larynx, is commonly caused by upper respiratory infections, reflux of stomach acid and/or postnasal drip. Less common causes of hoarseness and voice change include decreased thyroid function, vocal cord paralysis, vocal cord nodules or polyps, and tumors of the larynx.

    What are the most common causes for laryngitis? The most common kind of laryngitis is an infection caused by a virus. Other causes of laryngitis include:

    Allergies
    Bacterial infection
    Bronchitis
    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    Injury
    Irritants and chemicals
    Respiratory infection

    What causes acid reflux or heartburn? Heartburn is actually a symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and is caused by acid refluxing back into the esophagus. Risk factors include those that increase the production of acid in the stomach, as well as structural problems that allow acid reflux into the esophagus.

    Does acid reflux go away? The symptoms of GERD usually respond to optimal treatment with medications such as PPI drugs and or acid-suppressing medications. If the symptoms go away the problem is likely have been due to acid reflux. If symptoms do not go away with acid suppressing medications or other PPI drugs, there are two possible explanations. First, the symptoms may be due to something else other than GERD. Second, the medications are not adequately shutting off the production of stomach acid.

    What is a thyroid nodule and how is it evaluated? Nodules within the thyroid gland are very frequent in the adult population. Some studies suggest up to 50 percent of the adult population have thyroid nodules. Thyroid nodules may be identified during routine physical exams by general medical physicians.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions


    Is sudden hearing loss an emergency? Not all sudden hearing losses are necessarily a really bad sign, the problem is that it could be, so therefore you should treat it as such. SSHL is, and should be treated as a medical emergency when it occurs. When any sudden onset hearing loss occurs, the faster you get it checked, the better the outcome may be for your hearing. If it is SSHL, the faster you get treatment, the better it will be for your long term ability to hear. Sudden deafness could be just a temporary conductive problem, that's a problem with your middle ear or ear canal, not a problem with your cochlea (inner ear).

    Frequently Asked Questions


    What is sinusitis? Medically known as rhinosinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria, or rarely fungus, may cause a sinus infection. Other conditions such as allergies, nasal polyps, and tooth infections can also contribute to sinus pain and symptoms.

    Frequently Asked Questions


    Does acid reflux go away? The symptoms of GERD usually respond to optimal treatment with medications such as PPI drugs and or acid-suppressing medications. If the symptoms go away the problem is likely have been due to acid reflux. If symptoms do not go away with acid suppressing medications or other PPI drugs, there are two possible explanations. First, the symptoms may be due to something else other than GERD. Second, the medications are not adequately shutting off the production of stomach acid.

    Insurance/Payment Policy


    Please completely read our Insurance/Payment Policy.
      
     

    Ear, Nose & Throat Educational Resources


    Sinus Information
    Valuable information for sinus sufferers.
    URL: http://www.sinusinfocenter.com/

    General ENT Information
    The American Academy of Otolaryngology’s website offers information on most Ear, Nose and Throat issues.
    URL: http://www.entnet.org/

    Pediatric ENT Information
    on children’s and ear, nose and throat issues. Tips for parents and questions answered on many ENT topics.
    URL: http://www.entnet.org/AboutUs/kidsENT.cfm?CFID=39446765&CFTOKEN=29481213

    Tonsils and Tonsillitis
    This site is designed to provide information on children’s tonsillar problems.
    URL: None

    5 Ways to Protect Your Hearing
    From House Research Institute, a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with hearing loss and related disorders, has outlined five simple ways people can preserve their hearing.
    URL: https://sonicscoop.com/2012/01/11/five-ways-you-can-protect-your-hearing-in-2012/

     

    Ear, Nose & Throat Educational Resources


    Acid Reflux: What you need to know


    Acid reflux is when stomach acid washes up and irritates your throat. Although its symptoms can be troubling, acid reflux is not life threatening.

    Although throat symptoms can be felt at any time, you may notice them most when you are lying down. You may have acid reflux if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent need to clear your throat
  • Feeling like you’re choking
  • Chronic cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sensation of having ‘a lump in the throat’
  • Sour or acid taste
  • Recurrent sore throat

  • You can ease your symptoms by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes. If needed, the physician may also suggest medications that may help.

     

    Ear, Nose & Throat Educational Resources


    What is a Middle Ear Infection?


    Middle ear infections occur behind the eardrum. In many cases, both ears are affected.

    Middle ear infections are most common in young children, whose ear anatomy is not fully developed. Children under age 5, boys, bottle-fed infants and children in daycare run the greatest risk of infection. Although much less common, middle ear infections can also occur in older children and adults.

    Middle ear infections can be painful and they tend to disrupt sleep- for you as well as for your child. But this isn’t the full extent of the problem. Middle ear infections can also limit the eardrum’s flexibility, reducing your child’s ability to hear. This could make it harder for your child to learn to talk. Depending on when the hearing problem starts and long it lasts, your child’s learning ability could be affected.

    Middle ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or viruses. In young children these germs probably reach the middle ear by traveling the short length of the eustachian tube from the throat. Once in the middle ear, they multiply and spread. This irritates the delicate tissues lining the middle ear and eustachian tube. If the eustachian tube lining swells enough to block off the tube, air pressure drops in the middle ear. This pulls the eardrum inward, making it stiffer and less able to transmit sound.

    Once the eustachian tube swells shut, moisture can’t drain from the middle ear. Instead, fluid builds up in the chamber. This may raise pressure behind the eardrum, decreasing pain slightly. But if the infection spreads to this fluid, pressure behind the eardrum shoots way up. The eardrum is forced outward, becomes painful and may break.

    If the eardrum doesn’t break and the tube remains blocked, the fluid becomes chronic (an ongoing condition). As the acute (immediate) infection passes, the middle ear fluid thickens. It becomes sticky and takes up less space. Pressure drops in the middle ear once more. Inward suction stiffens the eardrum, affecting hearing. If the fluid is not removed, the eardrum may be stretched and damaged.


    Tube Placement


    In some cases, medical care (antibiotics) alone cannot control middle ear problems. If your child has hearing loss or if fluid still remains after several months, surgery may be recommended to treat the middle ear. Our physicians will discuss this procedure with you and answer any questions you may have.

    During the surgery, the physician removes the fluid from the middle ear and places a tiny tube in the eardrum. This tube creates a very small tunnel between the outer ear canal and the middle ear. This tunnel balances air pressure on both sides of the eardrum and prevents fluid buildup, even if the eustachian tube becomes blocked again. In most cases, surgery can be performed on both ears in less than 30 minutes.


    What is the Eustachian Tube?


    As the link between the middle ear and the throat, the eustachian tube has two roles. It helps drain normal, cleansing moisture from the middle ear. It also controls air pressure inside the middle ear chamber. When you swallow, the eustachian tube opens. This balances the air pressure in the middle ear with the pressure outside the eardrum. In infants and young children, the eustachian tube is short and almost level with the ear canal. By about age 7, however, the eustachian tube has become longer and steeper. This improves how well it works.


    What is the Middle Ear?


    The middle ear is an air-filled chamber that lies behind the eardrum. Pressure in the middle ear changes to match air pressure outside of the eardrum. When inside and outside pressure is balanced, the eardrum is flexible and normal hearing is more likely. Problems occur when air pressure in the middle ear drops. This is usually due to a block in the eustachian tube, the narrow channel connecting the ear with the back of the throat.

     

    Ear, Nose & Throat Educational Resources


    Sinus Surgery Facts


  • If medications don’t correct nasal obstructions, sinus surgery may help.
  • Most sinus surgery is done on an outpatient basis in the hospital under general anesthesia.
  • Since surgery is performed through the nostrils, there are no external incisions.
  • Today’s surgery is less extensive than the surgery performed many years ago. It does not require nasal packing.
  • Good results require good surgical techniques and cooperation between the patient and the physician throughout the healing process.
  • Most patients experience minimal post-operative discomfort.
  • Although sinus surgery does not cure allergies, it may help to lessen symptoms during allergy season
  •  

    Ear, Nose & Throat Educational Resources


    Sinus Symptom Quiz


    Answer ‘yes’ if you have had any of the following symptoms for ten days or longer.

    1. Facial pressure / pain?
    2. Headache pain?
    3. Congestion or stuffy nose?
    4. Thick, yellow-green nasal discharge?
    5. Low-grade fever (99-100F)?
    6. Bad breath?
    7. Pain in upper teeth?

    If you answered ‘yes’ to three or more of the questions, you may have a sinus infection.

     

    Ear, Nose & Throat Educational Resources


    Interesting Sinus Facts


  • Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year.
  • Sinusitis may be acute or chronic.
  • A cold or allergy attack that won’t go away may actually be sinusitis.
  • Irritating environmental pollutants may precipitate a sinus infection.
  • Bacteria can cause an acute bacterial sinus infection.
  • Antibiotics are often effective in treating acute sinusitis.
  • Recurrent or untreated acute sinusitis can lead to chronic sinusitis.
  • Frequent bouts of sinusitis or sinus infections that last three months or more may be chronic sinusitis.
  • Symptoms of chronic sinusitis are facial pain or fullness, nose congestion, persistent inability to smell, post-nasal discharge and headache.
  • Chronic sinusitis is a mechanical problem. Relief of obstruction requires long-term therapy with prescribed oral and/or nasal medication.
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery may also relieve obstruction.
  •  

    Experience the difference
    at Carolina Ear, Nose and Throat