Monday, October 31, 2011

Treating Dizziness and Vertigo
Advances in hearing healthcare make eliminating or severely limiting the occurence of dizziness or vertigo possible. Audiologists perform audiologic and balance tests to determine the potential causes of these ailments. Often, an individualized treatment plan will include:

  • Balance retraining exercises
  • Low sodium diet
  • Restricted use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
  • Medicines for nausea prescribed by a medical doctor
  • Vestibular rehabilitation

For more information on dizziness or vertigo, visit our website!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Causes of Dizziness or Vertigo
There are several potential causes of inner ear dysfunctions that lead to dizziness/vertigo including: .
  • Bacterial ear infections
  • Hole in the inner ear
  • Inner ear inflammation
  • Foreign objects in the ear canal
  • Meneire Disease
  • Medicines that damage or poison the inner ear (ototoxic medications)
  • Acoustic Neuroma (a non-cancerous growth on the vestibular nerve which connects the inner ear to the brain)
Click here for more information on the causes of dizziness/vertigo from the Mayo Clinic.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Origin of Dizziness and Vertigo

Dizziness or vertigo often occur due to inner ear dysfunctions.  Dr. Ben Wedro, Clinical Professor with The Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, details the origin of vertigo:
The inner ear has two parts, the semicircular canals and the vestibule, that helps the body know where it is in relationship to gravity. There are three semicircular canals that are aligned at right angles to each other and act as the gyroscope for the body. The canals are filled
with fluid and are lined with a nerve filled, crystal encrusted membrane that transmits information to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that deals with balance and coordination. The cerebellum adds information from sight and from nerve endings in muscles that deal with the perception of movement to help the brain know where it is in relationship to gravity and the world.
Normally, when the head moves, fluid in the semicircular canals shifts and that information is relayed to the brain. When the head stops moving, the fluid stops as well. There may be a slight delay, providing the basis for the vertigo experienced after people participate in many children's games and carnival rides. When a person goes on a merry-go-round or spins quickly around in circles, the fluid in the canals develops momentum and even though the head stops spinning, the fluid may continue to move. This causes vertigo or a spinning sensation and may cause the person to fall or stumble in a crooked line.

In patients with vertigo, inflammation of the fluid or irritation of the crystals on the nerve membrane that lines the walls of the semicircular canals may cause the spinning sensation even without much head movement. Often, only one canal is involved and the person may be symptom free if they don't move.

To read Dr. Wedro's article on vertigo, click here

Monday, October 10, 2011

Get the Maximum Benefit From Your Hearing Aids!

The Better Hearing Institute recently released a study showing the benefit received from wearing hearing aids is highly related to the quality of care provided by the hearing healthcare professional.  Hearing aids are primarily returned because the wearer does not feel they receive enough benefit to justify the expense.  For this reason, Appalachian Audiology offers no-charge follow up care and adjustments for the life of any hearing aid purchased through us! 
As you wear your hearing aid, make note of the following questions:
  • Am I understanding speech more clearly in the presence of  noise?
  • Are my hearing aids amplifying my hearing preferences?
  • What environments do I seem to have trouble hearing in?
  • Am I asking people to repeat themselves frequently?
We follow the American Academy of Audiology's preferred practice patterns.  In other words, we follow the steps that have the highest success rate in guaranteeing a hearing aid wearer will derive the maximum benefit from their hearing instruments.  To properly adjust hearing aids, studies have shown the audiologist should:
  • Test hearing in an enclosed sound booth to accurately determine the type, degree, and location of hearing loss
  • Perform "Loudness Discomfort" Measurements to accurately detail the full range of hearing
  • Perform "Objective Benefit" Measurements to give real information on the actual benefit a hearing aid wearer is deriving from the use of the instruments
  • Perform "Real Ear Measurement" Verification to accurately determine how the hearing aid is benefiting the wearer

Each part of this process helps the audiologist know how to adjust a patient's hearing instruments properly.  This, too, is a critical component of helping restore a hearing loss sufferer's quality of life!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Can Hearing Aids Improve Our Quality of Life?

In spite of the advances in digital hearing aids, many people remain hesitant to purchase them as a real pathway to re-connecting with loved ones, eliminating barriers to social interaction, and restoring a rich quality of life.  A recent study from the Better Hearing Institute involving over 2000 hearing aid wearers discovered that nearly 90% of hearing aid users are satisified with the benefit they derive from wearing them.  Over 90% of hearing aid users surveyed report a satisfactory improvement in their communication, social interactions, television viewing, outdoor activities, and phone conversations.  Most importantly, 8 out of 10 hearing aid users say they are satisifed with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids.  Hearing aid wearers reported the following areas of
improvement in their lives, ranked in order:
  • Effectiveness of communication
  • Sense of safety
  • Relationships at home
  • Self confidence
  • Social life
  • Feelings about self
  • Ability to join in groups
  • Sense of independence
  • Work relationships
  • Sense of humor
Perhaps sharing how hearing aids can truly enhance a person's life is a critical component of helping  others seek real solutions to their hearing healthcare.

For more information, visit our website!