Providing specialized care for adult and pediatric patients

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s physicians provide specialty expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious, inflammatory and neoplastic conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat in adult and pediatric patients. 

Our nationally ranked Adult and Pediatric General Otolaryngology team diagnoses and treats a broad range of conditions. Patients benefit from our experience with the latest technologies. For example, we perform minimally invasive treatment of thyroid and parathyroid disorders, chronic sinusitis and obstructive sleep apnea.

General ENT Conditions

General ENT Conditions

Chronic cough

Coughing is a reflex that keeps your throat and airways clear. Although it can be annoying, coughing helps your body heal or protect itself. Coughs can be either acute or chronic. Acute coughs begin suddenly with a cold, flu or bronchitis and usually last no more than two to three weeks. Chronic coughs last longer than two to three weeks. If the cough is accompanied by wheezing or high temperature or if phlegm or blood is present, you should seek the care of a physician from Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

Chronic ear infections

A chronic ear infection is more common in children than adults. It is marked by fluid, infection or swelling in the back of the eardrum. A chronic ear infection will often return, not heal or cause lasting damage to the ear.

Signs your child has a chronic ear infection:

  • Ear pain and/or pressure
  • Irritability or crying more than usual
  • Fluid draining from the ear
  • Hearing problems or loss
  • Low-grade fever

These symptoms can come and go or last a long time. Sometimes symptoms can be difficult to detect, which can delay treatment. Bacterial ear infections may be treated with antibiotics. Surgery may be needed to remove tissue that has gathered inside the ear or to correct other issues. Chronic ear infections in children may require that they have special small tubes inserted in their ears to relieve pressure and restore hearing.


Chronic tonsillitis

Tonsils are located on top of the throat in the back of the mouth. They help prevent infection in the body by filtering germs like bacteria. When you have a bacterial or viral infection, the tonsils can become inflamed, which is called tonsillitis. It’s common for children to get tonsillitis, and strep throat is usually to blame.

Repeat infections can lead to enlargement and chronic inflammation, which can create:

  • Breathing problems
  • Swallowing problems
  • Sleeping disorders

Those who suffer from chronic tonsillitis can benefit greatly from a tonsillectomy, which is a procedure to remove the tonsils.


Facial nerve diseases and paralysis

Certain diseases can lead to facial nerve disorders. For example, a viral infection is believed to be the cause of Bell’s palsy, which is the most common type of facial paralysis. Nerve diseases, like trigeminal neuralgia, which usually creates chronic facial pain, spasms and trouble with eye or facial movement, can be caused by tumors or multiple sclerosis.

Treatment options include medicines, surgery and other techniques.

Source: NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


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Facial pain from the sinuses

Rhinosinusitis is an inflammatory condition of the nose and sinuses that can have different causes. Facial pain or headache are some of the symptoms of rhinosinusitis. 


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Hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is interference with the transmission of sound in the outer or middle ear, while sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the hair cells in the cochlea or damage to the auditory nerve. 

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Laryngology

Laryngology is the area of medicine that treats illnesses including disorders and injuries of voice-related areas in the throat, like the larynx. Some common conditions are vocal fold nodules, polyps, spasms, voice overuse and cancer. 

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Nasal obstruction

Anything that stops air from entering or exiting either nostril is a nasal obstruction. These obstructions can be caused by a sinus condition, medication or physiological issue, like inflamed adenoids, a deviated septum, turbinate hypertrophy, a foreign object or polyps. Many types of obstruction are temporary, but in some cases where the cause is physiological, surgery may be required. 


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Nasal polyposis

Nasal polyps are growths of soft tissue in the nose or sinuses and develop as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation from allergies, asthma or infection. Small polyps usually don’t create any significant problems or symptoms. Large polyps can lead to a sinus infection by blocking airways and sinuses. Medicine can help, but surgery is usually required to remove nasal polyps. 


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Neck masses

Neck masses are lumps caused by abnormal cell growths, cysts, hormonal changes or an immune reaction. The masses can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). 


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Nosebleeds (epistaxis)

Nosebleeds are common and usually result from minor irritations due to cold temperatures or dryness, colds or sinus issues. Other causes include blood thinner medication, a deviated septum, injury or nasal obstruction. Repeated nosebleeds can be an indication of a bleeding disorder, high blood pressure or a tumor. You should see a doctor for nosebleeds if they are frequent, the result of a head injury or if bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your breathing to stop or become very shallow. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. Pauses may occur 30 times or more an hour. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when your airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. 


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Oral mucosal disorders

Inside of the mouth is a mucous membrane lining. Unusual appearance, coloration and other changes to the lining can result from alcohol and tobacco use, vitamin deficiency and can also be an indication of disease, including diabetes.

Rhinosinusitis

Rhinosinusitis is an inflammatory condition of the nose and sinuses that can have different causes.

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Salivary gland disorders

Your salivary glands make saliva, which helps you chew, swallow and digest food. They also clean your mouth and contain antibodies that can kill germs. Problems with salivary glands can cause the glands to become irritated and swollen. This causes symptoms such as:

  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Pain in the face or mouth
  • Swelling of the face or neck

Causes of salivary gland problems include infections, obstruction, benign growths or cancer. Problems can also be due to other disorders, such as mumps or Sjogren’s syndrome.

Antibiotic treatment usually eliminates infection and restores salivary gland function. The condition may go away on its own or require other treatment depending on the cause.


Sleep disorders

If it’s hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, or if you wake up feeling tired or sleepy during the day even though you slept at night, you may have a sleep disorder. One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea. 

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Smell and taste disorders

People with taste disorders may taste things that aren’t there, may not be able to tell the difference in tastes or can’t taste at all. People with smell disorders may lose their sense of smell, or things may smell different. A smell they once enjoyed may now smell bad to them.

Many illnesses and injuries can cause taste and smell disorders, including colds and head injuries. Some drugs can also affect taste and smell. Most people lose some ability to taste and smell as they get older. Treatment varies depending on the problem and its cause.

Source: NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders


Snoring

Snoring is the sound you make when your breathing is blocked while you are asleep. The sound is caused by tissues at the top of your airway that strike each other and vibrate. Snoring is common, especially among older people and people who are overweight.

When severe, snoring can cause frequent awakening at night and daytime sleepiness. It can disrupt your bed partner’s sleep. Snoring can also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

NIH: National Institute on Aging


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Swallowing disorders

If you have a swallowing disorder, you may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Some people cannot swallow at all. Others may have trouble swallowing liquids, food or saliva. This makes it hard to eat. Often, it can be difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish your body. Anyone can have a swallowing disorder, but it is more likely in the elderly.

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Swimmer's ear (chronic otitis externa)

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is infection, inflammation or irritation of the outer ear and ear canal. Bacteria found in unsanitary water is usually the cause for swimmer’s ear, although it can also be caused by an obstruction or scratch in the ear.

Swimmer’s ear can be long-term (chronic) when you have an allergic reaction to something you’re putting in your ear or if you have psoriasis, eczema or other ongoing skin conditions.

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Green or yellow fluid drainage from the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Itching
  • Pain

Treatments may include:

  • Acetic or antibiotic ear drops
  • Anti-inflammatory/anti-itch corticosteroids
  • Oral antibiotics (with a middle ear infection)
  • Pain relievers

Thyroid and parathyroid disorders requiring surgical therapy

Thyroid surgery can be necessary for various thyroid conditions, including thyroid cancer, benign cysts, goiters (thyroid enlargement), nodules and overactive thyroid glands. Surgery may include removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. 

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Tinnitus ringing in the ears

Tinnitus can be ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing or buzzing sound in the ear and can cause trouble hearing, working and sleeping. 

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Tonsillar and adenoidal enlargement (hypertrophy)

Tonsils and adenoids are part of your lymphatic system. Tonsils are in the back of your throat. Adenoids are higher up, behind your nose. Both help protect you from infection by trapping germs coming in through your mouth and nose.

Sometimes your tonsils and adenoids become infected. Tonsillitis makes your tonsils sore and swollen and causes a sore throat. Enlarged adenoids can be sore, make it hard to breathe and cause ear problems.

The first treatment for infected tonsils and adenoids is antibiotics. If you have frequent infections or trouble breathing, you may need surgery. Surgery to remove the tonsils is tonsillectomy. Surgery to remove adenoids is adenoidectomy.


Voice disorders

In your larynx, also known as the voice box, are two bands of muscle that vibrate to make sound. These are your vocal cords. Talking too much, screaming, constantly clearing your throat or smoking can injure vocal cords and make you hoarse. This can also lead to nodules, polyps and sores on the vocal cords.

Most voice problems can be successfully treated when diagnosed early. Treatment for voice disorders varies depending on the cause. 

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