Dr Egan is the only surgeon in Fairfax County who is trained to implant the Inspire device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Inspire therapy is a breakthrough implantable treatment option for people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea who are unable to use or get consistent benefit from Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). While you’re sleeping, Inspire monitors every breath you take. Based on your unique breathing patterns, the system delivers mild stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve which controls the movement of your tongue and other key airway muscles. By stimulating these muscles, the airway remains open during sleep.
The Inspire obstructive sleep apnea device is controlled by a small handheld remote. The remote allows you to turn Inspire therapy on before bed and off when you wake up.
Why do I snore?
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, 45% of adults snore at least occasionally, and 25% of adults are habitual snorers.
Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction to airflow through the passages at the back of the nose and mouth. The obstruction causes vibration of the collapsible part of the airway, when the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring is more common in men and those who are overweight, and it usually gets worse with age.
There are many causes of snoring. In children, snoring is commonly due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Snoring can cause significant sleep disturbances, and healthy sleep habits are vital to ensure your child’s healthy growth and development. If your child chronically snores, they should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist, who may recommend having their tonsils and adenoids removed.
In adults, snoring can be related to a variety of factors. The following factors can contribute to excessive snoring:
Snoring can also be a sign of a more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea. This condition is characterized by multiple pauses in breathing of 10 seconds or longer. This disrupts the natural sleep cycle and causes patients to feel poorly rested despite getting enough sleep. Additionally, it can cause serious health concerns, as the pauses in breathing cause poor oxygenation of the blood, which in turn forces the heart to work harder. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and many other serious health conditions.
If you or your bed partner are a heavy snorer, it is important to be evaluated promptly to ensure that you do not have obstructive sleep apnea or another serious cause of snoring. Our physicians are expertly training in evaluating and treating snoring conditions.
There are a number of both surgical and nonsurgical options to treat chronic snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. If you or your partner suffer from heavy snoring, please call our offices today to set up a consultation. One of our physicians will thoroughly evaluate you and together, you will come up with a treatment plan tailored specifically to you.
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Do you experience ringing in your ears? Does it sound like an insect is constantly buzzing by your head? If so, you may be suffering from what is known as tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound without an external noise being present. Over 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, and about 1 in 5 adults have bothersome tinnitus which negatively affects their quality of life. Tinnitus is not a disease in and of itself; rather it is a symptom that is most commonly associated with the hearing system.
Tinnitus can be caused by different parts of the hearing system. For instance, an excess buildup of wax can lead to tinnitus, as can middle ear infections. Medications can also sometimes cause tinnitus. One of the most common medications known to cause tinnitus is aspirin. Most tinnitus is due to problems with the inner ear and is related to hearing loss. As we age, the incidence of tinnitus increases.
Pulsatile tinnitus, or tinnitus that sounds like your heartbeat, is a special category of tinnitus. In this instance, the tinnitus may signal the presence of vascular abnormality in the middle or inner ear. If you experience this type of tinnitus, you should see your ENT as soon as possible for a full evaluation.
Unilateral (or tinnitus only in one ear) tinnitus may also signal the presence of an abnormality, such as a benign tumor, on or near your hearing nerve. Again, your physician will work with you to determine if this is the cause.
Tinnitus can commonly be affected or exacerbated by stress, fatigue, poor diet and exercise, and excess caffeine intake.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for tinnitus, although there are several management techniques that can help minimize it. Here are some tips to help you cope:
If you experience any of these symptoms, or you are bothered by your tinnitus, call our office today to schedule a visit. Our doctors are expertly trained in this subject and will work with you to determine the cause of and best treatment plan for your tinnitus.
Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of different things; however, sudden onset hearing loss is an alarming condition. Imagine that one day you can hear perfectly and the next, your hearing is gone. This condition is known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss, and it is an ENT emergency. Prompt evaluation and treatment is key to recovery.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (or SSNHL) is usually one-sided. There are a number of causes for SSNHL, but the most common of these is a viral infection that attacks the inner ear and hearing nerve. Another, less common, cause of sudden hearing loss is a vestibular schwannoma, or a benign tumor of the hearing nerve. SSNHL is rare, with estimates of the annual incidence ranging from 5-20 cases per 100,000 people. This may be an underestimate, however, as many cases likely go unreported.
If you experience a sudden loss of hearing, urgent evaluation is recommended, as the longer treatment is delayed, the less likely there is for recovery of hearing. During your evaluation, you will undergo a thorough ear exam, as well as a hearing test. Your doctor will determine if other testing, such as an MRI, is needed to further evaluate your hearing loss.
After you have been diagnosed with SSNHL, your doctor will discuss a treatment plan with you. If you do not have other medical issues that prohibit it, this plan will almost certainly include a steroid burst followed by a taper. Intratympanic (or through the ear drum) steroid injections have also been shown to significantly improve hearing in patients with severe sudden sensorineural hearing loss. These options will all be discussed with you in detail at your appointment.
If you experience sudden onset of hearing loss, do not delay in seeking care. Recovery in hearing depends strongly on the promptness of evaluation. Call us today if you think you might be experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
Most people associate “reflux” with heartburn symptoms. However, a significant portion of people afflicted with gastroesophageal reflux don’t have any of these symptoms. Instead, these people suffer from “silent reflux,” otherwise known as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). The etiology is the same, but the symptoms can be entirely different. Both types of reflux occur when there is a backflow of stomach contents going up towards your mouth. The stomach acid irritates the lining of the throat and causes symptoms.
Surveys suggest that over 60 million adults suffer from GERD. This is likely an underestimate, however, as many people suffer from silent reflux and do not associate their symptoms with heartburn. Often, LPR can be overlooked or misdiagnosed. As otolaryngologists, we are experts in this topic. In fact, up to 10% of an ENT’s practice can be comprised of patients suffering from LPR.
The most common symptoms associated with LPR include globus sensation (or a “lump in the throat”), chronic cough, throat clearing, excessive throat mucus, sore throat, and hoarseness. Often, these symptoms will be worse in the morning or after a big meal.
Treatment involves a combination of dietary and behavioral modifications, and medical therapy. LPR can be difficult to treat, and may take weeks to months before you notice any changes. Other, more serious, conditions may mimic the symptoms of LPR, so it’s important to be evaluated by an expert if you experience any of these. Call us today to schedule an appointment to see if LPR may be causing some of your symptoms.