Ear, Nose & Throat

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    Mike Murray, James Gaylor
    Last Updated: August 16, 2022

    Ear, nose, and throat health ecompasses the proper functioning of smelling, swallowing, and hearing.

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    What is the relationship between the ear, nose, and throat?

    The ear, nose, and throat are all interconnected parts of the body and control the functions of balance, smelling, speech, swallowing, and hearing. The ears are connected to the throat through a passageway called the Eustachian tubes, which balance air pressure and drain fluid internally from the ear. The nose is directly connected to the throat (referred to as the pharynx) to help with breathing. Conditions such as allergic rhinitis, tinnitus, vertigo, and throat infections can affect ear, nose, and throat health.

    How could diet affect the ear, nose, and throat?

    Anecdotally, some people have reported improvements in various conditions involving the ear, nose, and throat after dietary changes. Although there is some evidence to suggest there is an association between dietary interventions and a reduced risk of hearing problems[1] and allergic rhinitis,[2] further research is needed to determine specific dietary recommendations.

    Which supplements are of interest for the ear, nose, and throat?

    Notable supplements that may help with allergic rhinitis include probiotics,[3] pelargonium sidoides, and spirulina. vitamin c,[4] zinc,[5] and probiotics[6] may be helpful for treating or preventing upper respiratory infections. melatonin may provide benefits in the context of tinnitus.

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    Frequently asked questions

    What is the relationship between the ear, nose, and throat?

    The ear, nose, and throat are all interconnected parts of the body and control the functions of balance, smelling, speech, swallowing, and hearing. The ears are connected to the throat through a passageway called the Eustachian tubes, which balance air pressure and drain fluid internally from the ear. The nose is directly connected to the throat (referred to as the pharynx) to help with breathing. Conditions such as allergic rhinitis, tinnitus, vertigo, and throat infections can affect ear, nose, and throat health.

    Should earwax be removed?

    Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a naturally occurring substance that protects and cleans the outer ear canal. It usually does not have to be removed, as it is excreted from the ear with the help of regular jaw movement. The accumulation of earwax is completely normal and does not indicate poor hygiene or ear health.

    However, excessive earwax accumulation can cause problems, such as earwax impaction. In this case, wax builds up in the ear canal and hardens, sometimes completely blocking the ear canal. Causes of earwax impaction include anatomical differences (a narrow or curved ear canal), ear diseases, differences in earwax texture, or overproduction of earwax. People with earwax impaction may experience hearing loss, a feeling of "fullness” in the ear, dizziness, itchiness, or ear pain. Using cotton swabs to clean the ear canal is not advised, as it may push wax deeper into the ear canal rather than remove it. If a person is experiencing symptoms of earwax impaction, it is best to seek treatment from a healthcare provider.[7] [8]

    How could diet affect the ear, nose, and throat?

    Anecdotally, some people have reported improvements in various conditions involving the ear, nose, and throat after dietary changes. Although there is some evidence to suggest there is an association between dietary interventions and a reduced risk of hearing problems[1] and allergic rhinitis,[2] further research is needed to determine specific dietary recommendations.

    Which supplements are of interest for the ear, nose, and throat?

    Notable supplements that may help with allergic rhinitis include probiotics,[3] pelargonium sidoides, and spirulina. vitamin c,[4] zinc,[5] and probiotics[6] may be helpful for treating or preventing upper respiratory infections. melatonin may provide benefits in the context of tinnitus.

    References

    1. ^Dawes P, Cruickshanks KJ, Marsden A, Moore DR, Munro KJRelationship Between Diet, Tinnitus, and Hearing Difficulties.Ear Hear.(2020)
    2. ^Oh HY, Lee SY, Yoon J, Cho HJ, Kim YH, Suh DI, Yang SI, Kwon JW, Jang GC, Sun YH, Woo SI, Youn YS, Park KS, Cho HJ, Kook MH, Yi HR, Chung HL, Kim JH, Kim HY, Jung S, Jung JA, Woo HO, Koo KO, Kwon SO, Lee JK, Chang WS, Kim E, Lee J, Kim S, Hong SJVegetable dietary pattern may protect mild and persistent allergic rhinitis phenotype depending on genetic risk in school children.Pediatr Allergy Immunol.(2020-11)
    3. ^Alexander E Zajac, Austin S Adams, Justin H TurnerA systematic review and meta-analysis of probiotics for the treatment of allergic rhinitisInt Forum Allergy Rhinol.(2015 Jun)
    4. ^Hemilä H, Chalker EVitamin C for preventing and treating the common coldCochrane Database Syst Rev.(2013 Jan 31)
    5. ^Jennifer Hunter, Susan Arentz, Joshua Goldenberg, Guoyan Yang, Jennifer Beardsley, Stephen P Myers, Dominik Mertz, Stephen LeederZinc for the prevention or treatment of acute viral respiratory tract infections in adults: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trialsBMJ Open.(2021 Nov 2)
    6. ^Sarah King, Julie Glanville, Mary Ellen Sanders, Anita Fitzgerald, Danielle VarleyEffectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysisBr J Nutr.(2014 Jul 14)
    7. ^The content of this page was partially adapted from MedlinePlus of the National Library of Medicine accessed 10 October 2022
    8. ^Schwartz SR, Magit AE, Rosenfeld RM, Ballachanda BB, Hackell JM, Krouse HJ, Lawlor CM, Lin K, Parham K, Stutz DR, Walsh S, Woodson EA, Yanagisawa K, Cunningham ERClinical Practice Guideline (Update): Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) Executive SummaryOtolaryngol Head Neck Surg.(2017-01)