Hypernasal speech

Virtually all children will develop painful ear infections in their youth, and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors treat them every day. But here are five other common ENT problems parents might have to deal with, too.

The Dreaded Tonsillectomy

According to the latest numbers, 300,000 to 400,000 tonsillectomies are performed in the United States each year, with girls undergoing the procedure twice as often as their male peers. Thirty years ago, the vast majority of tonsillectomies, almost 90%, were performed for recurring infection; however, that number has dropped to just 20% in the last decade. Now, 80% of kids get their tonsils out for obstructive sleep problems (see below).

Although much rarer, laryngopharyngeal reflux can also lead to tonsil issues in kids and adolescents.

What Is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, also known as LPR or Silent Reflux, is similar to the much more common problem of heartburn. Silent Reflux causes gastric contents to flow to the upper digestive tract, causing cough, hoarseness, and even asthma. However, only half of kids with Silent Reflux will display the classic symptoms of heartburn, making it difficult to diagnose (hence the name, Silent Reflux).

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Although children born with cleft lips or palates in the developing world sometimes have a reduced quality of life, that’s quickly changing in the 21st century. A number of non-profits such as Operation Smile and Smile Train send doctors all over the world to perform the simple surgery many children need to live normal lives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that in the United States 7,000 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate each year.

Restorative cleft lip and cleft palate repair usually takes place within the first 12 to 18 months of life, and brings happy, healthy smiles to both the affected children and their families.

Sleep Apnea In Boys And Girls

About one in ten kids will snore regularly, but only about 3% of children will develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a result. OSA causes the breathing passages to become blocked while children sleep, leading to fatigue (that means tired, grumpy kids) during the day. Enlarged tonsils will often result in OSA in young people, too.

Hearing Loss In Newborns

Hearing difficulties are also common among newborn children, and one in 1,000 U.S. babies will be born with significant hearing loss. Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs in at least 40,000 newborns every year in the United States, most often because of genetic factors.

Although these five problems might stress out new, or even experienced, parents, they are all treatable by Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists. Children who develop any of these conditions before or after birth usually have the same quality of life as their peers. Check out this site for more.

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