3 Common Myths About Ear, Head & Neck Conditions

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There are many myths surrounding ear, head and neck conditions that cause unnecessary anxiety among patients. In this article, we will debunk 3 common myths relating to these conditions, helping patients to decide if they need to seek a second opinion with a trusted ear, head and neck doctor.

Myth 1: Perforated eardrums require surgery to close it

A common cause of perforated eardrums is trauma inflicted by cotton buds and other foreign objects that people may stick into their ears. Most traumatic perforations heal by themselves as long as they don’t get infected. It is therefore important to not allow water to enter the ear during this period to prevent infections. Blood clots encourage bacteria to grow so the doctor may have to clean up the ears to prevent infection. If worried, the doctor may prescribe some antibiotics to prevent infection.

Eardrum perforations can also occur after middle ear infections. Too much pus in the middle ear could result in a jagged perforation of the ear drum which usually does not heal. For this reason, the doctor may make a small clean cut in the eardrum (known as myringotomy) to release the pus to prevent spontaneous perforation. Such a cut will usually heal once the infection settles.

Nowadays, strong antibiotics are usually very effective in treating middle ear infections, removing the need to even perform a myringotomy. For this reason, the doctor may need to look at the ear soon after starting antibiotics to make sure they are working. In rare circumstances, a myringotomy may still be performed.

Myth 2: Ear fluid can cause permanent deafness in children

After ear infections or a common cold, there is a chance for fluid to accumulate in the middle ear space. This usually causes mild hearing loss but over time, the fluid will dissipate naturally.

Parents may worry that undrained fluids within their child’s ear will lead to permanent hearing loss. The middle ear canal usually will not accumulate a large amount of fluid that causes discomfort or necessitates surgery. That being said, surgery may be recommended if the fluid does not clear with conservative treatment after 3 months.

There is a possibility that hearing loss will affect speech development in young children and cause learning disabilities in the long run. This is why parents should continue to monitor the fluid in their child’s ear as a safety precaution and seek further medical advice if needed.

Myth 3: A biopsy and surgery needs to be done immediately upon detecting a thyroid nodule in the neck

A biopsy is usually done when the doctor suspects that the lump in your neck might be cancerous. During ultrasound screening, it may be common to see small nodules (below 1cm) appear but it does not immediately put the patient at high risk for thyroid cancer. Many of these nodules tend to be benign with no suspicious features standing out to doctors. Of course, the probability of cancer can never be ruled out, but a biopsy may not always provide conclusive results.

Sometimes, abnormal cells of no significance can be detected in normal nodules during a biopsy. In the worst-case scenario, this may lead to some doctors advising on surgical biopsy to determine if there is cancer. Like any other invasive procedures, surgery to remove thyroid nodules has its risks and should only be considered as a last resort.

Consult a leading ear, head and neck specialist today

Amandela is a leading group of ENT specialists that provide subspecialty care which patients can trust. With over a decade of experience in treating various nasal, head and neck conditions, our ear, head and neck doctors are ready to help you address your concerns. Make your appointment today with us.

Amandela ENT Head & Neck Center Mount Elizabeth Novena
Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road #10-45/47
Singapore 329563
T: 6694 1990
F: 6694 1992
E:  info@amandela.sg
Biz Reg No. 201210742D

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