“Sufferers may delay seeking help for years and, unfortunately, the hearing brain actually shrinks without sound stimulation.”
Like all Singaporeans, Dr Lynne Lim loves having tasty local food for breakfast. But these days, she only dreams of starting the day with them. Dr Lim is an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon who sometimes spends six hours straight on intense microscopic work in the operating theatre. At other times, she’s on her feet for 12-hour marathon stretches.
She is driven by the need to get things done right and the adrenaline rush pushes her on. Dr Lim insists she doesn’t get tired, but when the work is done, she withdraws and vegetates.
But a good doctor knows what can cause a body to break down and how to prevent this. So, gone are the days when Dr Lim could indulge in local food for breakfast.
“My husband has started making oats and sandwiches for me. My mum nags me about eating fruits. But I pine for runny eggs and Penang Hokkien Mee,” she admits. “I used to sleep four hours a day, fuelled by the hundreds of things racing through my mind. I have since forced myself to slow down and take better care of myself and my family.”
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY
In being more mindful of her health, Dr Lim has come around to her own advice. ENT medicine helps patients avert a host of ailments, but there is a tendency to miss or underestimate the warning signs because some problems are subtle. Therein lies the danger.
“Many ignore their hearing difficulty or ringing ears, but it causes depression, results in isolation, and increases the risk of dementia by two to four times,” says Dr Lim. “Sufferers may delay seeking help for years and, unfortunately, the hearing brain
actually shrinks without sound stimulation. Early intervention allows the brain to adapt better.”
For untreatable disorders, there is now a range of hearing aids and surgical implants, but they need to be carefully fitted.
BLOCKED NOSES, SNORING AND HYPERTENSION
A blocked nose is a symptom of many medical illnesses, and identifying the allergen or underlying problem and treating it with medication and endoscopic surgery may help, says Dr Lim.
“Many do not know they have a blocked nose and have lived with it all their lives. They are surprised when my scope reveals how this condition aggravates ear blocks, snoring, sinus pain, headaches, chronic fatigue, hypertension and diabetes.”
To be sure, people who snore loudly underestimate the damage that oxygen deprivation causes, thinking it’s just bothersome noise. “Gastric acid flowing up to the throat can also be silent, without stomach pains. It’s a cause of throat irritation, voice strain and bad breath.” Those nocturnal rumblings can have consequences that carry into your day, so deal with them early.
For more information, visit the Lynne Lim Ear Nose Throat & Hearing Centre (Child & Adult), Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre (Orchard), 3 Mount Elizabeth, #17-07. Singapore 228510. Tel: 6737-7787,
HEALTH SPECIAL – DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE