Geriatric Otolaryngology

Review by L M Flood
Middlesborough, UK

An imaginative title but one, I fear, all too relevant to this reviewer. Depressingly, at least half the faces on the cover look more like candidates for UK consultant posts rather than the interviewers. Bob Sataloff looks unchanged when compared to 1983 (this turns out to be his 50th book, and Professor Homan’s foreword is well worth reading).

The three editors have produced a comprehensive multi-author book of 22 chapters, covering subjects as diverse as the science of ageing, or cochlear implantation, sleep disturbance, and taste and smell disorders in the elderly. You would expect chapters on presbyacusis, imbalance, voice and swallowing disorders, and hearing aids, and, to most of us, these will be of the greatest relevance, as they are so common. How clever then to introduce such topics as: regenerative therapy for sensorineural hearing loss, facio-plastic surgery, and the role of neuropsychology (a revelation to this cynical surgeon).

Many a book on paediatric otolaryngology stresses that children are not just small adults, and, at the other extreme of life, the converse need not apply (although raised body mass index does seem increas- ingly to be a transatlantic issue, with Europe rapidly catching up!). Demographic trends suggest future practitioners will be more likely to face the challenges of cognitive decline and multiple co-morbidities in their clinics than stridor in the newborn (but which subject always comes up as a topic in every examination?)

Favourite chapters? Maybe ‘Age-Related Hearing Loss’, although I started expecting to be depressed and learn little. Sinonasal disease was one topic I really felt would be unnecessary, just representing British standard rhinosinusitis, until I read the chapter. There are superb illustrations throughout, perhaps and understandably the best are those in the oral cavity section.

I do wish that so many of the topics had not struck such a chord somewhere, as I enjoy post-retirement part-time work. It is that word ‘geriatric’ that we all try to avoid. My excised facial lesion was labelled a ‘senile keratosis’, until a howl of outrage prompted the pathologist to reconsider it as a ‘solar keratosis’. Much better.

A very thoughtful book, of huge relevance to all in our field. It is one of those ‘Why did I not think of that?’ topics. There is hope for us all, and I cannot resist quoting the advice for sleep disturbance: ‘Go to bed only when sleepy. Reserve bed for sleep and sex only’.

Amazon Link: Geriatric Otolaryngology
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