If you are like most people today, the last thought you really had about the connections between your ears, nose and throat happened during your high school biology final exam.
However, it may be time to resurrect what you remember on the topic. According to the American Rhinologic Society (ARS), an estimated 30 million adults nationwide contracts sinusitis annually.
This statistics makes sinusitis one of the most common ailments in the United States today. Fully 15 percent of the population suffers from chronic (recurring) sinusitis.
In this post, learn more about the connections between your ears, nose and throat and what these systems can tell you about your overall health.
The Functions of the Ears, Nose and Throat
According to Merck, the ears, nose and throat all have individual yet related functions.
For example, both the ears and the nose are sense organs. Together, they regulate our ability to smell, hear and maintain our balance.
The throat, of course, is designed for passage of vital elements such as oxygen, fluids and food. It can also convey other things, such as phlegm, mucus and draining toxins coming from the ears or nose.
The Relationship Between the Ears, Nose and Throat
The sinus cavities that are connected to the nose exist all across the skull. These membraneous cavities assist with air conduction and filtration, resonance chambers for hearing and fighting off infection.
Because all three are lined with similar membranes, according to Everyday Health, they share some common health hazards.
In other words, since a major role of those membranes is fighting off germs, when the nose gets infected, the ears and throat often feel it too, and vice versa.
Clearing Up Infection in All Three Systems
Once you come down with sinusitis, the post-nasal drip can quickly cause irritation in the equally sensitive membranes of your throat. The sinuses, meanwhile, often swell as they fill with mucus, causing pressure headaches ("sinus headaches") and ear blockage that often makes even nearby sounds appear to be coming from far away.
This interconnectedness requires a proactive approach. The more you can do to reduce sinus passage swelling and post-nasal drip, the less chance of the infection spreading between ears, nose and throat.
Dr Don J. Beasley, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist who has been practicing ear, nose, and throat medicine for over 20 years. Sinusitus surgery is one of Dr. Beasley's ENT specialties. If you're interested in getting your sinusitis treated today, feel free to schedule an appointment online or call our office today at (208) 229-2368