Sleep disordered breathing

Many infants, children, and adolescents experience issues related related to their ear, nose, and throat. In most cases, these will require medical attention and treatment by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

Ear Infections

By the time they reach their second birthday, over 90% of children will have had a minimum of 1 ear infection. After they reach their third birthday, 83% of children will have had an ear infection at least once. Around 30% of the children within this age group will have had 3 or more ear infections.

Hearing Loss

Approximately 40,000 babies are born every year with sensorineural hearing loss. Furthermore, estimates show that 1 out of every 1,000 newborns has significant hearing loss.

There are several factors that may contribute to hearing loss in babies. Nearly 30% of these are related to the following situations:

  • The mother had an infection while pregnant.
  • Environmental causes
  • Birth complications

When children experience hearing loss, 50% to 60% of these cases are due to genetic factors. Other conditions that may cause hearing loss include Aural Atresia. This congenital abnormality usually affects either the left or the right ear in roughly 80% of the cases. Basically, this is where an ear canal hasn’t formed properly, which means that there isn’t an opening from the outside of the ear that leads to the hearing bones.

While it does depend on multiple factors, eardrum surgeries can be performed. These do have an overall success rate of 85% to 90%.

Hypernasal Speech Treatment

When children have hypernasal speech, an ear, nose, and throat doctor may provide several options. The type of hypernasal speech treatment that is recommended will depend on the cause of this issue. It is possible that hypernasal speech treatment will include endoscopic sinus surgery.

Snoring, Sleep-Disordered Breathing, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Many children snore, and it is considered to be quite common. Roughly 12% of children snore at some point in their lives. Even though it is common, particularly when a child has a cold or recurring sinus infections, there may be other issues that are causing this to occur.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is present in approximately 2% to 4% of children. When children have enlarged tonsils, they are 3.7% more likely to also experience sleep-disordered breathing symptoms. Sleep-disordered breathing does occur with approximately 1% to 3% of children that snore.

The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention

When a child or adolescent has these or other issues associated with their ear, nose, and throat, it’s important to seek medical attention. While some of these issues may be temporary, others may be chronic, thus necessitating a professional medical evaluation and possible treatment.