ENT Hearing And Balance Center provides comprehensive testing and treatment for balance disorders.
Difficulties with balance are common, and become more so as we get older. Sometimes the problem is related to “Loose Crystals” that have detached from one part of the inner ear and become lodged in another part, causing brief, intense vertigo (spinning) triggered by certain changes in position. Symptoms are usually provoked by lying down in bed, sitting up from bed, rolling over in bed (worse in the direction of the problem ear), or, when upright, with bending over and raising up again, or tipping the head back to look up. This condition, calleld ‘Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo’ but more often known simply as “BPPV”, can often be corrected with a fairly simple maneuver by one who is familiar with and experienced at diagnosing and treating this unique condition.
Perhaps 20-25% of patients presenting with Vertigo have this readily treatable condition; that percentage becomes progressively higher in the older population, where it might approach 50% of nursing home patients! However, the rest of the patients with Vertigo may have one of twenty-five or so other diagnoses, including a variety of other inner ear abnormalities, neurologic issues, etc. Unfortunately, most of these other conditions do not have a ‘quick fix’ like BPPV. The challenge, then, is to determine, if possible, the underlying cause and type of dizziness present. It is a complicated task that is aided by high-tech testing equipment that analyzes the inner ear function. For the more chronic conditions, management relies on falls prevention and balance physical therapy (balance retraining).
To aid us in our efforts to localize and diagnose balance disorders, we have a complete array of testing equipment. We evaluate hearing (which may give clues about the diagnosis, and may help us to determine the side the problem is on); we can also evaluate different functions of the inner ear to determine if there is an abnormality on one side or the other. Brain scans are often ordered (off site) to rule out central neurologic problems, and we may coordinate care with internal medicine, neurology and sleep specialists, as necessary, to determine other causes and contributing factors.
In addition, we work closely with a physical therapist specialized in evaluating and treating patients with chronic balance disorders to help with balance retraining and improved function.
We’re proud to provide a comprehensive, caring, and sensitive approach to the many patients with hearing or balance disorders, in a facility which combines a physician specialist, hearing specialists, a balance therapist, and a complete hearing and balance testing laboratory!