Tag: audiology

Chronic Cough: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatments

A girl experiencing a cough in a light purple sweater sitting on her couch.

This October, flu season, sinus infections, and other seasonal ailments are frequent as we head into the winter months. Many of us experience a cough along with these seasonal sicknesses, and it’s typically nothing to fret about.

But, when is it time to worry about a chronic cough? A cough that just won’t go away can be frustrating and can significantly impact your quality of life. A chronic cough can cause headaches and sleepless nights, and you may wonder if you’ll ever find relief from your pesky cough.

Fortunately, at Excel ENT, our speech-language pathologist, Amy Pittman, encounters many patients who suffer from chronic coughs. Learn more about chronic cough, its common causes, and how Excel ENT’s SLP can help you find a solution.

What is Chronic Cough?

Coughing can help you clear your throat, prevent infections and help protect your airway. But coughs can linger, lasting anywhere from 4 weeks in children and 8 weeks in adults. Usually, a chronic cough is dry and isn’t productive for your airway.

Common Causes of Chronic Cough

Chronic cough can be difficult to diagnose because there are several possible causes. Some of the most common causes include:

Asthma

When you have asthma, the muscles around your airways constrict. The lining of your airways swells, and your body produces thick mucus in response. Coughing is your body’s way of getting air into those tightened areas. Asthma can be triggered or worsened by infections, weather, stress, allergies, tobacco smoke, medications, exercise, and stress.

Postnasal Drip

One of the most common causes of chronic cough is postnasal drip. Runny mucus drops down your throat if a virus, allergies, dust, chemicals, or inflammation irritate your nasal membrane. The mucus in your throat causes you to cough, and you may experience worsening symptoms at night.

Infections

If you’ve recently recovered from a cold, flu, COVID-19, or pneumonia, your cough may remain while your body heals and recovers from the infection. These illnesses can lead to lung inflammation and a lingering cough. To heal itself, your body produces a dry cough to reduce the infection.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) causes acid from the stomach to travel up the esophagus and into the throat. LPR is commonly confused with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but if you’re suffering from LPR, you may experience more pain in your throat. LPR may result in many voice problems, like swallowing problems, sinus drainage, and chronic cough.

Irritable Larynx Syndrome (ILS)

Various symptoms, including chronic cough, chronic throat clearing, the feeling of a lump in your throat, and others can be caused by irritable larynx syndrome. In ILS, the larynx (voice box) becomes sensitive to stimuli, including cold air, talking, and more. Common causes of ILS are viral illness, allergies, sinusitis, certain medications, stress, and others.

Smoking

Smoking negatively affects your lungs, as well as the rest of your body. A chronic cough can be caused by the body attempting to clear out the chemicals that enter the airway and lungs from tobacco. If you stop smoking, you may find relief from your chronic cough and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Testing & Treatment for Chronic Cough

If you’ve been experiencing a cough for longer than 8 weeks, contact your primary care doctor. Regardless of potential causes, if you have a chronic cough that has not been explained or diagnosed, we recommend you seek medical care.

At Excel ENT, our SLP, Amy Pittman, will begin with a consultation to learn the comprehensive history of your chronic cough. For further diagnosis, she may perform a thorough laryngoscopic and stroboscopic examination to examine patterns of vocal fold motion and vocal fold vibration.

Find Relief at Excel ENT

At Excel ENT, we can work to find out what triggers your cough so you can find the relief you deserve. Treatments can vary from medication changes to treatment for medical conditions, such as allergies, asthma, or LPR if those trigger your chronic cough.

The goal of treatment for chronic cough is to give you the tools to manage it better and improve your quality of life, and Amy can teach you more about keeping your vocal cords healthy.

Schedule an Appointment for a Chronic Cough Consultation

Proudly serving the Birmingham area, our team can provide treatment for various ear, nose, and throat ailments. Call us at 205-988-6858 or contact us online to find relief today!

Audiology Awareness: Why Audiologists Help with More Than Hearing Aids

A smiling female audiologist treats an older woman wearing a mustard-colored shirt.

Today, people can buy many types of hearing aids and devices over the counter without ever seeing a doctor. While this may seem like a convenient option, you lose the ability to have your hearing device fitted to your ear, which may make the device less effective.

This October, celebrate National Audiology Awareness Month with Excel ENT by learning about the importance of audiologists and how they can help protect your hearing for years to come.

What Do Audiologists Do?

Audiology became a profession following World War II as our Veterans were returning home with hearing loss. As a result, the field of clinical audiology was formalized to aid many young, healthy soldiers who needed rehabilitation.

Today, the role of audiology continues to grow and expand. Audiologists specialize in all things related to hearing health, including diagnosing any hearing issues, offering treatment plans, managing and diagnosing balance disorders, and custom fitting hearing aids and hearing protection for newborns to senior adults.

As technology has progressed, we’ve been able to treat hearing loss better and better. However, there is still no replacement for natural, healthy hearing, but audiologists across the globe are working to create new and improved hearing models and forms of protection.

Why Are Audiologists Important for People With Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is associated with a myriad of negative outcomes, such as:

  • Dementia
  • Social isolation
  • Balance issues
  • Cognitive decline

The best way to prevent these issues associated with hearing loss is to protect your ears from damage. The most effective way to protect your ears from harm is using properly fitting hearing protection. Custom hearing protection is more than just hearing aids; they’re an investment in your future hearing.

Custom Hearing Protection

While it may seem simple, hearing protection doesn’t function properly if not used correctly by the user. For example, most people do not properly insert foam ear plugs into their ear canal, making them almost useless. At Excel ENT, we are here to help you protect your ears and prevent hearing loss with custom hearing protection.

Custom hearing protection takes the guesswork out of proper fit, with the protection being molded individually to your ear. At EXCEL ENT, we offer two types of ear protection, active and passive.

Active

Our active hearing protection boasts a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Battery-powered
  • Rechargeable
  • Disposable Batteries
  • Apple and Android connectivity

While using active hearing protection, the device provides up to 30 dB amplification to hear what’s happening around you up to 22 dB NRR (noise reduction rating).

Passive

Passive hearing protection comes in two types for your unique lifestyle. These two types include

  • Filtered: We recommend filtered hearing protection for hunting, music, and other special situations.
  • Solid: Solid hearing protection is excellent for swimming, sleeping, and general use.

Make an appointment to have ear mold impressions made and discuss the different options for hearing protection. Project yourself from hearing damage today!

Custom Hearing Protection: Testimonials

Come and see our audiologists and have custom testing, custom fitting, and personalized settings for your hearing devices. Many patients at Excel ENT are already receiving the benefits from custom hearing protection.

When asked about his custom hearing protection, a patient said, “I am confident that I am maximally protected while still being able to hear conversations.” Another patient noted that her customer hearing protection is “so easy to insert and does an excellent job [protecting my hearing].” Discover the confidence and ease that comes along with custom hearing protection from Excel ENT!

Invest In Your Hearing Care at Excel ENT

Proudly serving the Birmingham area, our staff at Excel ENT is committed to your well-being. Receive custom testing, custom fitting, and unique settings for your hearing devices to protect your hearing and prevent any long-term effects from improper hearing protection. Call us at 205-988-6858 or schedule an appointment online today!