Down Syndrome Q & A

Many children with Down syndrome have recurring ear, nose, and throat problems, and it’s also a chronic issue for some adults. That’s why it’s so important to have a team of ENT specialists you can trust. At SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat, the skilled board-certified ENT physicians offer personalized Down syndrome care for all ages. When you or your child have ear, nose, or throat issues, call any of the five convenient locations in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach, California, or use online booking anytime.

What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic condition in which an individual has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, making a total of 47 rather than the usual 46 chromosomes. The duplicate chromosome causes unique physical features and some level of intellectual disability.

Children and adults with Down syndrome are at risk for chronic ear, nose, and throat problems. That’s why the team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat works closely with babies, children, and adults with Down syndrome to help them stay healthy and avoid health complications.

What kind of ear problems occur with Down syndrome?

Many children and adults with Down syndrome experience chronic ear infections. There are several reasons for this, including the high incidence (up to half of all babies with Down syndrome) of stenotic (very thin) ear canals, fluid buildup in the ears, unique facial anatomy, and high risk for respiratory illnesses that trigger ear tube swelling and infections.

What kind of nose issues occur with Down syndrome?

Chronic mucus membrane inflammation, a condition known as rhinitis, is common among children and some adults with Down syndrome. Rhinitis and other respiratory issues are so common in those with Down syndrome for two main reasons: unique facial anatomy and (in children) a not-yet-developed immunological system.

What kind of throat issues occur with Down syndrome?

Airway obstruction is a common problem for children and adults with Down syndrome because of facial anatomy and characteristics, including a slender upper airway, big adenoids and tonsils, and hypotonia (low muscle tone) in the throat. All of this may combine to increase the risk for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which air supply gets cut off during sleep.

How do you treat ENT complications in those with Down syndrome?

With their specialists and fellowship-trained subspecialists, the team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat acts as a one-stop provider for all ear, nose, and throat issues occurring in children and adults with Down syndrome.

Treatments can range from medication to in-office procedures for most ear, nose, and throat conditions. For example, with obstructive sleep apnea that doesn’t respond to medical management, surgery is the best solution.

Most people with Down syndrome also benefit from regular checkups, as it allows the team a chance to clean ears, check for emerging issues, and recommend home care.

Schedule a Consultation Today

To schedule a consultation with an ENT specialist, call the Southern California Ear, Nose, & Throat office nearest you or request an appointment through our secure online form. We have offices in Los Alamitos, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach.