If you are the parent or guardian of a baby, toddler, teen, tween, or any other variety of young person, then congratulations, you can count on dealing with your fair share of Ear, Nose, and Throat problems. That’s because virtually all young people will experience some of these common issues before they turn 18, and as a parent, it’s often your job to know what to do (or at least pretend that you do).
Common Ear Nose and Throat Problems in Children and Adolescents
If your son or daughter hasn’t had an ear infection yet, don’t worry, their time will come. Five out of six youngsters will have at least one ear infection by the time they turn three, and some will have chronic ear problems. Ear infections are by far the most common ENT problems, and they’re usually easily remedied by a trip to your ENT doctor.
Thirty years ago the vast majority of tonsillectomies in young people (90%) were performed for recurrent infections, while a much smaller number were performed for breathing difficulties like obstructive sleep apnea. Now, that ratio has been reversed, with the vast majority of these surgeries being performed for children with OSA or similar diagnoses. In either case, you should consult with your pediatrician or schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor.
Then there are ENT problems that don’t necessarily require any action at all, like snoring. While sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing can be serious problems that cause fatigue and other issues, many children snore with no adverse side effects at all, besides cranky siblings.
Less Common Ear Nose and Throat Problems in Children and Adolescents
While cleft lip and cleft palate repair remains rare, it’s a problem that often requires swift action at a young age. So too can issues like hearing loss, vocal cord paralysis, and parathyroid diseases. If you suspect your son or daughter is suffering from serious conditions with their ear, sinuses, or airways, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a local pediatric ENT doctor.