A man with good ENT health wears a mask

With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT doctors Darrell Klotz, MD (SouthPark), Michael Sicard, MD (Matthews), and Nicholas Stowell, MD (Concord)

Masks keep you safe. That’s a fact. But some people are concerned they could cause problems with their ENT health. That’s why our doctors took the time today to address those concerns.

I can’t breathe in my mask

Masks are ineffective if they don’t cover both the nose and mouth, but some people complain that they can’t breathe in a mask. If that’s the case, try switching to a different type of mask. If you normally wear a cloth mask, switch to a surgical one. They’re lighter, and since doctors everywhere have spent entire days wearing them even before the pandemic, you know they’re effective.

I wear hearing aids and have issues with masks

Being able to communicate with the world around you is very important, and we understand that wearing a mask can be a challenge for patients with hearing issues. Hearing loss is amplified when we can’t see lips moving, and wearing masks can make it difficult for you to understand others. If you are having difficulty hearing those with masks on, you may need to have your hearing tested.

I have a clogged nose and feel like I can’t breathe with this mask on

Nicholas Stowell, MD

A clogged nose could be caused by allergies, a cold, or altered nasal anatomy, and not your mask. If you have allergies, first try using over-the-counter medicines like nasal steroids and antihistamines to help with the congestion, CEENTA ENT doctor Nicholas Stowell, MD, said. If that doesn’t work, one of CEENTA’s ear nose and throat specialists could help you develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

This blog goes into further detail about how to deal with allergies during this pandemic.

Michael Sicard, MD

As an added bonus, wearing a mask masks helps keep your nasal tissue moist, which is particularly helpful in the winter, as it reduces nasal crusting and bleeds, CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Sicard, MD, said.

I’m having trouble speaking while wearing a mask

Darrell Klotz, MD

When people have issues with hoarseness or projecting their voice, adding a barrier and removing facial expression from the conversation makes communication that much harder, CEENTA ENT doctor Darrell Klotz, MD, said. People with voicing issues are encouraged to make an appointment with a CEENTA ENT doctor or voice & swallowing specialist. Family and friends of people with voice issues should practice patience, focusing on and paying careful attention to what their friends and loved ones are saying.

My mask is irritating my skin

In addition to breathing issues, some people have concerns about skin irritation, particularly around the nose and ears. Moisturizing cream can help. So can loosening your mask slightly – just not so loose that it lets air in or out or falls off your nose.

ENT care at CEENTA

We strongly encourage you to wear masks when necessary. If you feel you have a condition that makes wearing one uncomfortable, schedule an appointment at CEENTA. Our doctors are here to help you breathe easy and make sure you are comfortable while you stay safe.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. You can now schedule an appointment online with any of our more than 40 ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. You can also schedule through myCEENTAchart or by calling 704-295-3000.


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February 22, 2021

I have COPD and heart problems. I have a very difficult time wearing any mask for longer then 15 to 20 minutes. I simply have a hard time breathing, even when using my O2. What do I use when I am out?
- Yvonne Galbreath

February 23, 2021

Good morning. We recommend you have this discussion with your primary care provider, as they will know your medical history and will best be able to advise you.
Reply From: CEENTA

February 12, 2021

Saunders I live in Salisbury, North Carolina. Where can I get a vaccination for COVID-19? Thank you.
- Helen

February 12, 2021

Good morning. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a web site that can help you find all the information you need. https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines/find-your-spot-take-your-shot
Reply From: CEENTA

February 12, 2021

You did not address the issue of hearing aids and a mask. All you said is people with hearing problems have more difficulty hearing and should get a test. What about the person struggling with keeping a mask on while wearing hearing aids?
- Carolyn Phillips

February 12, 2021

Good morning. We discuss that topic in detail in this blog: https://www.ceenta.com/news-blog/working-around-hearing-issues-while-wearing-masks
Reply From: CEENTA

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