Ear, nose, and throat

Smell disorders: When your sense of smell goes astray

A person’s sense of smell can be affected by numerous causes and to varying degrees, and loss can be complete or partial. Whether or not treatment is successful depends on its cause and severity, and improvement can take a year or more.

Personal sound amplification products: For some, an affordable alternative to hearing aids

Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are devices that provide some measure of hearing assistance, less than that of a full-fledged hearing aid but at a more reasonable price, that may encourage more people to accept hearing assistance and to do so starting younger.

Does your child need a tonsillectomy?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

While tonsillectomies are still common, the number performed has decreased significantly over the past half-century due to the likelihood of complications after surgery. But there are situations when a tonsillectomy is definitely necessary, so it’s important to consider the risks and benefits before making the decision.

3 reasons to leave earwax alone

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Many people don’t realize that cleaning their ears with a cotton swab is not a good idea. Doing so can be harmful, and the ears are self-cleaning anyway.

Keep your seasonal allergies in check

Dominic Wu, MD

Contributing Editor

There are a variety of treatments available for seasonal allergies, but they should be used with care in order to avoid any unwanted, or even dangerous, side effects. For example, nasal decongestant sprays may work well in the short term, but can worsen symptoms when used too often.

Spinning out of control: Vertigo

Vertigo occurs when the systems the body uses to maintain balance send contradictory information to the brain, causing a sensation of movement when you’re actually standing still. It’s very common for people to experience vertigo while on board boats. There are several medications that can ease the discomfort of vertigo.