Anatomy Of Ear

Anatomy of Nose

Anatomy of Throat


What is audiology?

Audiology is the clinical evaluation and management of hearing and balance problems in people of all ages. It also involves the fitting and management of hearing aids and other hearing assistive devices.
The specialist who practices audiology is called an audiologist.

Signs that may indicate the need to see an audiologist for a hearing evaluation:

  1. problems hearing over the telephone.
  2. trouble following conversations when two or more people speak at once.
  3. trouble following conversations in a setting with a noisy background.
  4. confusion about where sounds are located.
  5. having to ask people to repeat themselves.
  6. problems hearing or understanding speech of children or women.
  7. most people seem to mumble or not speak clearly.
  8. problems with misunderstanding others and making inappropriate responses.
  9. others notice that television volume is high.
  10. missing sounds of telephone or doorbell ringing.
  11. avoiding activities because of problems with hearing and understanding speech.

Ear infection

An ear infection, or otitis media, is the most common cause of earaches. Although this condition is a frequent cause of infant distress and is often associated with children, it can also affect adults.

The infection in the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum where tiny bones pick up vibrations and pass them along to the inner ear) very often accompanies a common cold, the flu, or other types of respiratory infections. This is because the middle ear is connected to the upper respiratory tract by a tiny channel known as the eustachian tube.

Germs that are growing in the nose or sinus cavities can climb up the eustachian tube and enter the middle ear to start growing.

Untreated, ear infections can lead to more serious complications, including mastoiditis (a rare inflammation of a bone adjacent to the ear), hearing loss, perforation of the eardrum, meningitis, facial nerve paralysis, and possibly — in adults — Meniere’s disease.

Causes of an ear infection

The most common cause of an ear infection is an upper respiratory viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. These disorders can make the eustachian tube so swollen that air can longer flow into the middle ear. Allergies — to pollen, dust, animal dander, or food — can produce the same effect as a cold or flu, as can smoke, fumes, and other environmental toxins. Bacteria can cause an ear infection directly, but usually these organisms come on the heels of a viral infection or an allergic reaction, quickly finding their way into the warm, moist environment of the middle ear.


You may be able to prevent your child from getting middle ear infections by:

  1. Not smoking. Ear infections are more common in children who are around cigarette smoke in the home. Even fumes from tobacco smoke on your hair and clothes can affect the child.
  2. Breast-feeding your baby. There is some evidence that breast-feeding helps reduce the risk of ear infections, especially if ear infections run in your family. If you bottle-feed your baby, don’t let your baby drink a bottle while he or she is lying down.
  3. Washing your hands often. Hand-washing stops infection from spreading by killing germs.
  4. Having your child immunized. Current immunizations don’t specifically prevent ear infections. But they can prevent illnesses, such as Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and flu (influenza) that may lead to ear infections. Have your child immunized at the ages suggested by national guidelines.
  5. Having your child immunized with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) may help reduce the risk of ear infection.
  6. Taking your child to a smaller child care center. Fewer children means less contact with bacteria and viruses. Children in child care settings can easily spread germs to each other. Try to limit the use of any group child care.

Ears and Airplane Travel, Ear Wax, and Ear Cleaning

The experience of “popping” ears when flying on an airplane is the most common medical complaint of airplane passengers. Due to an air pocket in the middle ear that is sensitive to air pressure changes, the changing altitude as the plane takes off or lands can cause discomfort in the ears.
Swallowing or yawning usually can help “pop” the ears (activating the muscle that opens the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear with the nasopharynx) and ease the discomfort. However, ears that are already blocked (by a cold, for example) cannot equalize the air pressure in the middle ear adequately, therefore, creating a vacuum that sucks the eardrum in and stretches it. When the eardrum cannot vibrate, the sound is muffled and the stretched eardrum can be very painful.
If swallowing or yawning does not relieve the ears, the American Academy of Otolaryngologists recommends trying the following ear-clearing technique:

  1. Pinch the nostrils shut.
  2. Breathe in through the mouth.
  3. Force the air into the back of the nose as if trying to blow your nose.

Small children are especially vulnerable to blocked ear canals because their Eustachian tubes are narrower. Use of a bottle or pacifier during take-off and landing may help pop their ears.

What is ear wax?

Earwax, also called cerumen, is naturally produced by the outer part of the ear canal to keep the ear clean. It performs this task by trapping dust and sand particles before they reach the eardrum. Wax also coats the fragile skin of the ear canal and acts as a water repellent. Accumulated wax usually migrates to the ear opening, dries up, and falls out.

How should ears be properly cleaned?

Normally, ears canals are self-cleaning and should not need cleaning with any devices or cotton-tipped applicators. Cleaning the ear can cause problems by pushing the ear wax deeper into the ear canal and against the eardrum. However, sometimes wax can accumulate excessively, resulting in a blocked ear canal. In the case of a blocked ear canal, consult your physician. He/she may recommend one or more of the following:

  1. Irrigation of the ear canal to wash out the wax
  2. A vacuuming of the ear canal to remove the wax.
  3. The use of a special instrument(s) to remove the wax.
  4. Prescription eardrops or mineral oil to soften the wax.

Always consult your physician for a diagnosis and for additional information.

Hearing Aids

What are hearing aids?

Nearly 36 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids can help improve hearing and speech especially in persons with sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss in the inner ear due to damaged hair cells or a damaged hearing nerve). Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by virus or bacteria, noise, injury, infection, aging, certain medications, birth defects, tumors, problems with blood circulation or high blood pressure, and stroke.
Hearing aids are electronic or battery-operated devices that can amplify and change sound. A microphone receives the sound and converts it into sound waves. The sound waves are then converted into electrical signals.

What are the different types of hearing aids?

The type of hearing aid recommended for the individual depends on the person’s home and work activities, his/her physical limitations and medical condition, and personal preference. There are many different types of hearing aids on the market, with companies continuously inventing newer, improved hearing aids every day. However, there are four basic types of hearing aids available today. Consult your physician for additional information on each of the following types:

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids
These hearing aids come in plastic cases that fit in the outer ear. Generally used for mild to severe hearing loss, ITE hearing aids can accommodate other technical hearing devices, such as the telecoil, a mechanism used to improve sound during telephone calls. However, their small size can make it difficult to make adjustments. In addition, ITE hearing aids can be damaged by ear wax and drainage.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
Behind-the-ear hearing aids, as the name implies, are worn behind the ear. This type of hearing aid, which is in a case, connects to a plastic ear mold inside the outer ear. These hearing aids are generally used for mild to severe hearing loss. However, poorly fitted BTE hearing aids can cause feedback, an annoying “whistling” sound, in the ear.
Canal aids Canal aids fit directly in the ear canal and come in two sizes: in-the-canal (ITC) aid and completely-in-canal (CIC) aid. Customized to fit the size and shape of the individual’s ear canal, canal aids are generally used for mild to moderate hearing loss. However, because of their small size, removal and adjustment may be more difficult. In addition, canal aids can be damaged by ear wax and drainage.
Body aids Generally reserved for profound hearing loss, or if the other types of hearing aids will not accommodate, body aids are attached to a belt or pocket and connected to the ear with a wire.

Who may be a candidate for hearing aids?

Anyone who has hearing loss that may be improved with hearing aids can benefit from these devices. The type of hearing aid recommended may depend on several factors, including, but not limited to:

  1. The shape of the outer ear (deformed ears may not accommodate behind-the-ear hearing aids)
  2. Depth of depression near the ear canal (too shallow ears may not accommodate in-the-ear hearing aids)
  3. The type and severity of hearing loss
  4. The manual dexterity of the individual to remove and insert hearing aids
  5. The amount of wax build-up in the ear (excessive amounts of wax or moisture may prevent the use of in-the-ear hearing aids)
  6. Ears that require drainage may not be able to use certain hearing aid models

Taking care of hearing aids :

Hearing aids need to be kept dry. Methods for cleaning hearing aids vary depending on the style and shape. Other tips for taking care of hearing aids include:

  1.  Keep the hearing aids away from heat.
  2. Batteries should be replaced on a regular basis.
  3. Avoid the use of hairspray and other hair products when the hearing aid is in place.

Considerations when purchasing a hearing aid :

A medical examination is required before purchasing a hearing aid. Hearing aids can be purchased from an otolaryngologist (a physician who specializes in disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck), an audiologist (a specialist who can evaluate and manage hearing and balance problems), or an independent company. Styles and prices vary greatly. Consider the following questions when buying hearing aids:

  1. Can the hearing loss be improved with medical or surgical interventions?
  2. Which design will work best for my type of hearing loss?
  3. May I “test” the hearing aids for a certain period?
  4. How much do hearing aids cost?
  5. Do the hearing aids have a warranty and do it cover maintenance and repairs?
  6. Can my audiologist or otolaryngologist make adjustments and repairs?
  7. Can any other assistive technological devices be used with the hearing aids?

Ayurveda for Ear Infection

Ayurveda has much to offer in the way of gentle, natural remedies for ear infections

  1. Garlic Oil: Herbal oils are used widely in ayurvedic medicine to treat ear infections. Garlic oil is a mainstay in this category. The technique involves squirting aged garlic oil into the affected ear before bedtime, then inserting a cotton ball to keep the oil from running out. In some cases, this type of herbal treatment has been as effective as conventional anesthetic medications, according to naturopath Michael Tierra, author of the book, “The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: The Most Complete Guide to Natural Healing and Health with Traditional Ayurvedic Herbalism.” Use herbal oils under the guidance and supervision of a health care professional trained in their use.
  2. Vasaka: Vasaka, or Malabar nut, is an important ayurvedic herb for the treatment of respiratory infections, coughs, colds, and asthma. For ear infections, the dried leaves of this plant are made into a powder that is then boiled in sesame oil and used to irrigate the ear. A study published in the December 2010 issue of the “Journal of Biosciences” found that two active compounds in Vasaka showed strong antibacterial activity against multi-drug-resistant respiratory bacteria. Researchers recommended the herb for further research and possible development into an antibiotic drug. Consult your doctor about using vasaka to treat an ear infection.
  3. Salt Water: Nasal washes with a device called a neti pot can help clear congestion and prevent or treat sinus and ear infections. The neti pot looks like a small teapot with a spout. It holds a small amount of saltwater, which is tipped into each nostril and allowed to run through the nasal and sinus passages and out the other nostril. You can also inhale an aromatic oil such as menthol or eucalyptus before using the neti pot, according to Dr. David Frawley, author of the book, “Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda.” These oils have cleansing and antiseptic properties that can help upper respiratory and ear infections drain and heal.
  4. Lymphatic Massage: Ayurvedic medicine also uses a technique for massaging the lymphatic system — a part of the immune system that carries clear fluid, called lymph — to promote drainage of the ear. Daily lymphatic massage can help keep ear passages clear, remove toxins and prevent ear infections from recurring.


How do I get a broken nose?

You can break your nose during play, sports, accidents, fights, and falls. But it may be hard to tell if your nose is broken. Swelling can make your nose look crooked even if it is not broken. When the swelling goes down after a few days, it is easier to tell if your nose is really crooked and possibly broken.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a broken nose include:

  1. Nose pain.
  2. Swelling of the nose.
  3. Bruising around the nose or eyes.
  4. A runny nose or a nosebleed.
  5. A grating sound or feeling when the nose is touched or rubbed.
  6. Blocked nasal passages.

Possible complications of a broken nose include:

  1. Change in the appearance of the nose or the tip of the nose.
  2. A large amount of blood in the nasal septum (nasal septal hematoma).
  3. Crooked (deviated) nasal septum. The nasal septum is the structure that divides the nose into two parts. See a picture of a deviated nasal septum
  4. Permanent breathing difficulty.
  5. Persistent drainage from one or both nostrils. This may be caused by cerebral spinal fluid draining from the brain into the nose (CSF rhinorrhea) and can occur after a head injury or after surgery on the nose or ears.
  6. Infection of the nose, sinuses, or facial bones.
  7. A change in or loss of sense of smell.
  8. A hole in the nasal septum (septal perforation) or causing the bridge of the nose to collapse (saddle nose deformity).

How is a broken nose diagnosed?

A broken nose is diagnosed through a physical examination and medical history. An X-ray of the nose is not usually needed or helpful if only a broken nose is suspected. If other facial injuries or fractures are suspected, a CT scan will be done. Your doctor may wish to delay evaluation until the swelling has gone down. This may take several days.

How is it treated?

Immediately after the fracture, apply ice and keep your head elevated. You may need pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol). Do not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or aspirin, for 48 hours after a nose injury. Do not take aspirin if you are younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.

Immediate treatment is needed for some injuries that occur with a broken nose, such as:

  1. A large amount of blood in the nasal septum (nasal septal hematoma).
  2. A nosebleed that you cannot stop (epistaxis).
  3. Clear drainage from one or both nostrils (CSF rhinorrhea).

Treatment, if needed, usually is done within 7 to 14 days of breaking your nose. Most broken noses do not require treatment other than controlling pain and other symptoms.

  1. Your doctor may treat a simple fracture by straightening the bone or cartilage in your nose if it is crooked. Splints or nasal packing (packing the nose with gauze) also may be necessary.
  2. Surgery may be needed to treat a more complicated fracture. Your doctor may need to move the bone or cartilage back into place. Splints or nasal packing may be necessary. Antibiotics are usually given to prevent infection. Your nose may be rechecked and the packing may be removed in 48 to 72 hours.


What are sinuses?

The sinuses are cavities, or air-filled pockets, that are near the nasal passage. The sinuses make mucus, which is a fluid that cleans the bacteria and other particles out of the air we breathe. There are four different types of sinuses:

  1. Ethmoid sinus: located inside the face, around the area of the bridge of the nose. This sinus is present at birth and continues to grow.
  2.  Maxillary sinus: located inside the face, around the area of the cheeks. This sinus is also present at birth and continues to grow.
  3.  Frontal sinus: located inside the face, in the area of the forehead. This sinus does not develop until around seven years of age.
  4. Sphenoid sinus: located deep in the face, behind the nose. This sinus does not develop until adolescence.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses near the nose. These infections usually occur after a cold or after an allergic inflammation. There are four types of sinusitis:

  1. Acute: Symptoms of this type of infection last less than four weeks and get better with the appropriate treatment.
  2. Subacute: This type of infection does not get better with treatment initially, and symptoms last four to eight weeks.
  3. Chronic: This type of infection happens with repeated acute infections or with previous infections that were inadequately treated. These symptoms last eight weeks or longer.
  4. Recurrent: Three or more episodes of acute sinusitis occur a year.

What causes sinusitis?

Sometimes, a sinus infection happens after an upper respiratory infection (URI) or common cold. The URI causes inflammation of the nasal passages that can lead to obstruction of the opening of the paranasal sinuses, which can lead to infection in the sinuses. The allergic disease can also lead to sinusitis because of the swelling of the nasal tissue and increased production of mucus. There are other possible conditions that can block the normal flow of secretions out of the sinuses and can lead to sinusitis. These may include:

  1. Abnormalities in the structure of the nose
  2. Enlarged adenoids
  3. Diving and swimming
  4. Infections from a tooth
  5. Trauma to the nose
  6. Foreign objects that are stuck in the nose
  7. Secondhand smoke

After the blockage of the flow of secretions from the sinuses, bacteria will sometimes begin to grow. This leads to a sinus infection or sinusitis. The most common bacteria that cause sinusitis are:

  1. Streptococcus pneumonia
  2. Haemophilus influenza
  3. Moraxella catarrhalis

What are the symptoms of sinusitis?

The symptoms of sinusitis vary for each person and depend greatly on the age of the individual. The following are the most common symptoms of sinusitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Younger children:

  1. Runny nose that lasts longer than seven to ten days. The discharge is usually thick green or yellow, but can also be clear.
  2. Nighttime cough
  3. Occasional daytime cough
  4. Swelling around the eyes

Older children and adults:

  1. Runny nose or cold symptoms that last longer than seven to ten days
  2. Complaints of drip in the throat from the nose
  3. Headaches
  4. Facial discomfort
  5. Bad breath
  6. Cough
  7. Fever
  8. Sore throat
  9. Swelling around the eye, worse in the morning

The symptoms of sinusitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

How is sinusitis diagnosed?

Usually, your physician can diagnosis sinusitis based on your symptoms and physical examination. In some situations, additional tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. These may include:

  1. Cultures from the nose
  2. Sinus x-rays
  3.  Sinus computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) –A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  4. Blood tests

Treatment for sinusitis:

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

  1. Your age, health, and medical history
  2. The extent of the disease
  3. Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  4. Expectations for the course of the disease
  5. Your opinion or preference
  6. Surgery

Treatment of sinusitis may include the following:

  1. Acetaminophen for pain or discomfort
  2. Nasal drops

Decongestants and antihistamines do not seem to help the symptoms of sinusitis.

Antibiotics may be withheld for 10 to 14 days, unless severe symptoms develop, such as fever, facial pain or tenderness, or swelling around the eye. Surgery should be considered only if other treatments have failed.

Referral to an allergist/immunologist is often needed, particularly for people with chronic or recurrent sinusitis and for patients who have had sinus surgery, but who still experience sinusitis.

Ayurveda For Nasal Block

Drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antihistamines, and decongestants are usually recommended for the nasal block. If an infant is unable to breathe because of a plugged nose, a nasal aspirator may be useful to remove the mucus. However, ayurvedic treatment for nose block has gained popularity because it is readily available and devoid of side effects. Ayurvedic treatment for nose block includes various ayurvedic remedies which are easy to adopt and are very effective too.

  1. One of the oldest and most reliable ayurvedic remedies for the nasal block is the use of bishop’s weed (ajwain). A small quantity of ajwain is tied in a clean cloth and this cloth is heated in a vessel and later sniffed. This helps in clearing the blocked passage.
  2. A mixture of garlic juice, juice of holy basil, crushed peppercorns, clove, and honey is an effective ayurvedic remedy for a nasal bock.
  3.  Boil water with a few drops of camphor and ajwain and inhale the steam. Nasal steam inhalation for 5-10 min twice a day provides good results.
  4. Sniff a mixture of two parts of ground witch hazel, one part of wild cherry bark, and one part of white oak bark for prompt relief.
  5. Oil of oregano is another ayurvedic remedy for nasal congestion. Two to three drops of oregano oil taken with juice is known to strengthen the body’s immune system also.
  6. Intake of about 1000mg of vitamin C thrice a day keeps a check on the histamine levels and thus helps reduce nasal congestion.

Along with the above-mentioned ayurvedic treatment for nose block, it is also recommended to incorporate certain lifestyle changes.

  1. People susceptible to cold should avoid cold water and should consume lukewarm water after meals.
  2. They must also avoid exposure to cold winds and air conditioners.
  3.   They should keep their head and chest fully covered with woolen garments in the winter season.
  4. Intake of consuming food items rich in vitamins and minerals to strengthen natural immunity.

Nose Bleeding and Ayurvedic Treatment 

  1. Bleeding from the nose (naasagata rakta pitta is the ayurvedic term) is a common problem faced by most of us during the summer. If you have regular bleeding on one side of the nose, which happens any time without warning, you can attribute it to the weather, physical exercise, sneezing, and having a cold.
  2. If you are over 50 with frequent nose bleeds, it is advisable to get yourself checked for blood pressure, as the raised blood pressure damages the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to rupture and bleed copiously.


  1. Sit upright in a chair and stay as quiet as possible. Do not tilt your head backward. Keep it in a normal position to allow the blood to flow out from the front of the nose rather than down the back of the throat.
  2. Applying cold compresses or ice cubes above the nose or across the bridge of the nose will also help control the bleeding.
  3. If you are a smoker, then it is high time for you to stop smoking.
  4. Don’t expose yourself to a dry atmosphere. Air-coolers and air-conditioners are best as they maintain some humidity in the air.
  5. Be careful in choosing oral contraceptives, as they can increase nose bleeds. Also, watch your aspirin and salicylates intake, as they can interfere with clotting.
  6. Applying cold compresses or ice cubes above the nose or across the bridge of the nose will also help control the bleeding.

Ayurvedic Remedies

  1. Fine powder of alum (spatika/phitkari) along with cow ghee, instilled in the form of nasal drops, will stop bleeding.
  2. A small amount of camphor, dissolved in the juice of green coriander leaves and dropped into the nostrils, stops the bleeding quickly.
  3. Soak 20 gm of dried amla in water overnight and strain in the morning. Drink this water and apply the paste of amla on the forehead and around the nose after grinding them to a paste.
  4. Red sandalwood (rakta-chandana), liquorice (yashtimadhu/mulethi) and cobra’s saffron (naagakesara) act as good styptics. Take them in equal parts. Make them into a fine powder and take 3 gm of the same internally, with a glass of milk.
  5. Make a fine powder from the dried flowers of pomegranate and use it as snuff.
  6. You can eat ripe figs (peepal) with honey or jaggery to check to bleed.
  7. Juice of pomegranate flower, powdered fruit rind of Chebulic myrobalan (harad), powder of lac (Lakka/lakh) and gum of silk-cotton tree (deokapas)—act excellently in controlling bleeding. Take them internally with honey, milk, etc.
  8. Alum, camphor, and oak-galls (majuphala) in equal quantities should be powdered and dropped in small doses into the nostril from where the blood is oozing.
  9. Make a decoction by boiling equal parts of coriander, adhatoda (adoosa) leaf, grapefruit, fruit-rind of amla, whole plant of parpaatakam (taap-Jhad). Add sugar, and honey and drink half a cup, twice a day.
  10. Make a paste of 2 gm of young tender leaves of a banana tree and mix with 20 gm of crystal sugar and 1/4 liter of water. Take this mixture once a day regularly to control chronic bleeding from the nose.
  11. Extract juice from—crushed onion, doorva (doob) grass, Vitis quandrangularis (harjora), and shelled mango seeds. Use the liquid as nasal drops.
  12. Old rice, barley, green gram, lentil, Bengal gram, red gram, crystal sugar, honey, sugarcane juice, cow ghee, banana, snake gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber, the stem of the lotus, leaves of neem, fruits of pomegranate, coconut, wood apple, and grapes help to cure nose bleeds.
  13. Keep away from sour, salty, and pungent tastes as they aggravate the problem.


Sore Throat

Sore throats can be painful and annoying. Fortunately, most sore throats are caused by a minor illness and go away without medical treatment.

Several conditions can cause a sore throat.

Viral infections

Many sore throats are caused by a viral illness, such as:

  1. The common cold, the most common type of viral infection.
  2. Infection of the voice box (laryngitis).
  3. Mononucleosis (mono, “the kissing disease”), a viral infection that tends to cause a persistent sore throat.
  4. Other viral infections, such as mumps, herpangina, or influenza.

Bacterial infections

A bacterial infection may also cause a sore throat. This can occur from:

  1. Strep throat, which usually does not occur with congestion or a cough.
  2. An inflammation or infection of the tonsils (tonsillitis) and sometimes the adenoids (adenoiditis).
  3. Inflammation of the epiglottis (epiglottitis).
  4. Inflammation of the uvula (uvulitis).
  5. In rare cases, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. If you have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior, consider whether gonorrhea or chlamydia may be present. For more information, see the topic Exposure to Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Irritants and injuries

A sore throat that lasts longer than a week is often caused by irritants or injuries, such as:

  1. Throat irritation from low humidity, smoking, air pollution, yelling, or nasal drainage down the back of the throat (postnasal drip).
  2. Breathing through the mouth when you have allergies or a stuffy nose.
  3. Stomach acid backs up into the throat, which may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although GERD often occurs with heartburn, an acid taste in the mouth, or a cough, sometimes a sore throat is the only symptom.
  4. An injury to the back of the throat, such as a cut or puncture from falling ith a pointed object in the mouth.
  5. Chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition that causes extreme tiredness.

Treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause. You may be able to use home treatment to obtain relief.
Because viral illnesses are the most common cause of a sore throat, it is important not to use antibiotics to treat them. Antibiotics do not alter the course of viral infections. Unnecessary use of an antibiotic exposes you to the risks of an allergic reaction and antibiotic side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and yeast infections. Antibiotics also may kill beneficial bacteria and encourage the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is an infection or inflammation of the tonsils. The tonsils are balls of lymphatic tissue on both sides of the throat, above and behind the tongue. They are part of the immune system, which helps the body fight infection.

Tonsillitis often goes away on its own after 4 to 10 days.

What causes tonsillitis?

Most often, tonsillitis is caused by a virus. Less often, it is caused by the same bacteria that cause strep throat. In rare cases, a fungus or a parasite can cause it.

Tonsillitis is spread through the air in droplets when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. You may then become infected after breathing in these droplets or getting them on your skin or on objects that come in contact with your mouth, nose, or eyes.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of tonsillitis is a sore throat. The throat and tonsils usually look red and swollen. The tonsils may have spots on them or pus that cover them completely or in patches. Fever is also common.

If you feel like you have a cold, with symptoms such as runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing, a virus is most likely the cause.

If you have a sore throat plus a sudden and severe fever and swollen lymph nodes, but you do not have symptoms of a cold, the infection is more likely caused by bacteria. This means you need to see a doctor and probably need a strep test.

How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will look at your throat to see if you have read and swollen tonsils with spots or sores. These signs can mean you have tonsillitis.

Your doctor may do a rapid strep test along with a throat culture. These will show whether the tonsillitis is caused by streptococcus bacteria.

Your doctor may also ask about past throat infections. If you get tonsillitis often, it may affect the choice of treatment.

You may have a test for mononucleosis if your doctor thinks that you have mono.

How is it treated?

Tonsillitis caused by a virus will usually go away on its own. Treatment focuses on helping you feel better. You may be able to ease throat pain if you gargle with salt water, drink warm tea, take over-the-counter pain medicine, and use other home treatments. Do not give aspirin to anyone age 20 or younger. It is linked to a serious disease called Reye syndrome.

If your tonsillitis is caused by strep, you need treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics can help prevent rare but serious problems caused by strep and can control the spread of infection.

As a rule, doctors only advise surgery to remove tonsils (tonsillectomy) when there are serious problems with the tonsils. These include infections that happen again and again or long-lasting infections that do not get better after treatment and get in the way of daily activities.


What is laryngitis?

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box, or larynx, that causes your voice to become raspy or hoarse.

Laryngitis can be short-term or long-lasting (chronic). Most of the time, it comes on quickly and lasts no more than 2 weeks.

What causes laryngitis?

  1. or flu. This is the most common cause.
  2. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This type of laryngitis is also called reflux laryngitis.
  3. Overuse of your voice, such as cheering at a sports event.
  4. Irritation, such as from allergies or smoke.


What is snoring?

Snoring is the sound that occurs during sleep when the flow of air is obstructed in the area where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring noises occur when these structures vibrate against each other during breathing.

It is estimated that 45 percent of all adults snore occasionally, and 25 percent habitually snore. Snoring is more common in males and people who are overweight and worsens with age.

Snoring is obstructed breathing. In addition to disturbed sleep patterns and sleep deprivation, other serious health problems may result. Snoring may also be a symptom of other medical conditions.

What causes snoring?

Snoring may be caused by many factors, including:

  1. Poor muscle tone.
  2. Excessively bulky throat tissue
  3. Long soft palate
  4. Long uvula
  5. Stuffed or blocked nasal passages
  6. Deformities of the nose
  7. Deformities of the nasal septum

Can snoring be prevented?

Mild or occasional snoring may be helped by:

  1. A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and proper diet
  2. Losing weight
  3. Avoiding tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bedtime
  4. Avoiding alcohol at least four hours before bedtime
  5. Avoiding heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime
  6. Establishing regular sleeping patterns
  7. Sleeping on your side
  8. Tilting the head of the bed up about 4 inches

Heavy or chronic snoring may require medical care.

Treatment for snoring:

Specific treatment for snoring will be determined by your physician based on:

  1. Your age, overall health, and medical history
  2. The extent of the disorder
  3. Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  4. Expectations for the course of the disorder
  5.  Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include a nasal mask that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or surgery.

Smell and Taste Disorders (Chemosensory Disorders)

Senses of Smell and Taste

The processes of smelling and tasting are complex. They begin when molecules are released by substances that stimulate the sensory cells in the nose, mouth, or throat.

Olfactory nerve cells are stimulated by odors. They are found in tissue located high inside the nose and connect directly to the brain.

Gustatory nerve cells are stimulated by the taste of food and beverage. They have located in the taste buds of the mouth and throat.

These sensory cells transmit messages to the brain through the nerves, where specific tastes and smells are identified.

Another chemosensory process, called common chemical sense, also contributes to smell and taste. These cells alert the brain to sensations such as heat (as from peppers) or cool (as from menthol).

How do taste and smell interact?

The four basic taste sensations are sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

When these tastes, along with texture, temperature, and information from the common chemical sense, combine with odors, the perception of flavor occurs. Flavor defines the food that is eaten and is recognized mainly through the sense of smell.

Source: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

What are smell and taste disorders?

The loss of the senses of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia) are the most common chemosensory disorders.

The reduced ability to smell (hyposmia) or to taste sweet, sour, bitter, or salty substances (hypogeusia) are also common.

In other disorders of the chemosenses, odors, tastes, or flavors may be misread or distorted, causing a person to detect an unpleasant odor or taste from something that is normally pleasant to taste or smell. These disorders are important because they can have a significant impact on quality of life and be a sign of underlying disease.

Smell disorders are serious because they damage the early warning system that can alert a person to such things as:

  1. Fire
  2. Poisonous fumes
  3. Leaking gas
  4. Spoiled food and beverages

Abnormalities in taste and smell can accompany or indicate the existence of diseases or conditions such as:

  1. Obesity
  2. Diabetes
  3. Hypertension
  4. Malnutrition
  5. Degenerative diseases of the nervous system such as:

 Parkinson’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease

What causes smell and taste disorders?

Although some people are born with chemosensory disorders, most are caused by:

  1. Illness (i.e., upper respiratory infection, sinus infection)
  2. Injury to the head
  3. Hormonal disturbances
  4. Dental, oral, or perioral problems
  5. Exposure to certain chemicals
  6. Certain medications
  7. Exposure to radiation therapy for head or neck cancer
  8. Cigarette smoking

How are smell and taste disorders diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures may include:

  1. Measuring the lowest concentration of a chemical that a person can recognize
  2. Comparing tastes and smells of different chemicals
  3. “Scratch and sniff” tests
  4. “Sip, spit, and rinse” tests where chemicals are directly applied to specific areas of the tongue

Treatment for smell and taste disorders:

Specific treatment for smell and taste disorders will be determined by your physician based on:

  1. Your age, overall health, and medical history
  2. The extent of the disorder
  3. Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  4.  Expectations for the course of the disorder
  5. Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  1. Stopping or changing medications that contribute to the disorder
  2. Correction of the medical problem that is causing the disorder
  3. Surgical removal of obstructions that may be causing the disorder
  4. Counseling
  5. Smoking cessation

Ayurveda’s Way

Ayurveda treats tonsillitis by fighting the condition from the roots, and by fortifying the body against future attacks. Ayurveda does not have a standard treatment for illness. Rather, an individual’s constitution is carefully studied, and the treatment and medicines are formulated specifically for that person. Ayurvedic physicians consider recurring infection and inflammation of the tonsils to be a key factor in illness in later life. Therefore, the entire immune system is treated. One of the herbal medicines given is a tablet called Khadiraadi vati. It is made up entirely of the roots, flowers, and bark of certain medicinal plants. The tablet has to be kept in the mouth and chewed slowly. Another powder Sitopalaady churna is also prescribed. It is a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, long pepper, bamboo shoots, and powdered sugar, dried and ground into a fine powder in a specific proportion. It is considered to be an effective bronchodilator and expectorant, which allows phlegm to be coughed up. To develop immunity, a paste that has to be mixed with honey, known as Agastya Rasayana, is very effective. It is a herbal tonic.

The Routine for Relief

There are several Ayurvedic home remedies for tonsillitis. Gargle with water in which fenugreek seeds have been boiled and have hot tea with honey whenever the symptoms of tonsillitis first appear. Hot fomentation on the front of the neck twice or thrice daily helps in decongestion. Another Ayurvedic home remedy for tonsillitis is cutting a lemon in half and then pressing salt and black pepper into it. Then heat the lemon and suck all the juice from it- the tart, salty and peppery taste is very soothing. Generally speaking, you should take care to see that all spicy foods, ice creams or cold desserts, and even very hot foods are avoided. Many parents have found these remedies to be extremely effective, and are happy that their children are not missing so many days of school anymore … and they give the credit to Ayurveda!