Restoring Hearing & Balance

While most of us associate our ears with hearing, the inner ear is actually composed of two parts: the cochlea for hearing and the vestibular system, which regulates balance. Our otolaryngologists and audiologists are devoted to providing the best possible care for all your hearing and balance needs. Look to us for the following services:

  • Balance care
  • Comprehensive adult and pediatric hearing aid assessments, verification and counseling
  • Comprehensive hearing testing
  • Diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology
  • Hearing loss care
  • Hearing aids
  • Hearing testing
  • Vertigo and dizziness assessments
  • Surgical management of hearing loss
  • Tinnitus services

About Your Ears

In order to understand what might be causing your hearing or balance issues, it helps to have an idea of the anatomy and mechanics of a normal ear.

Here is how the ear works normally:Ear Canal Diagram

  1. Sound waves from the environment enter the outer ear and travel down the ear canal to the eardrum.
  2. The sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate. This triggers the motion of three tiny bones in the middle ear, known as the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes).
  3. The motion of these bones causes movement of the fluid in the inner ear or cochlea.
  4. The motion of this inner ear fluid causes tiny hair cells in the cochlea to bend. The hair cells transform this motion into electrical pluses.
  5. These electrical impulses are transmitted to the auditory nerve and then on to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.

Hearing Loss

In the United States alone, some 36 million people suffer from some degree of hearing loss. This take a powerful emotional toll and can lead to social isolation, miscommunication, and depression. There are three general types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive involves an issue with the outer or middle ear
  • Sensorineural involves the inner ear
  • Mixed hearing loss involves a combination of Conductive and Sensorineural issues.
  • Testing is required to identify the cause of your hearing loss.

When hearing loss occurs, the most common complaints are: “I can hear, but I can’t understand clearly,” and “I have difficulty hearing when there is background noise.” Many people experience a gradual loss of hearing while some report a more sudden change. Other symptoms include tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears), a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears, and dizziness, all of which must be medically evaluated.

Hearing Testing

The first step towards better hearing starts with a comprehensive evaluation with one of our audiologists to determine the best possible treatment route. Learn more about hearing tests.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus, a condition associated with hearing loss, can develop for many reasons, including neurological damage, ear wax buildup, ear infections, and nasal allergies. The primary symptom of tinnitus is hearing sounds within the ear that don’t corresponding to any actual external noise. Tinnitus can have a severe impact on quality of life. Our audiologists and physicians are well versed in the latest procedures and technologies to determine the underlying cause of Tinnitus and relieve its symptoms. They conduct a thorough clinical evaluation, including a complete patient history and medication review, to determine whether tinnitus is present and what its underlying cause might be.

Balance Care

Dizziness and vertigo affect millions of Americans of all ages but are most common in senior citizens, over half of whom report feeling dizzy on a regular basis. The root cause is usually an inner ear issue known as a vestibular dysfunction. The vestibular system enables your brain to consistently orient your body as you move through space. Damage to the inner ear has the potential to cause serious disruption to your balance and equilibrium.

Our specialists offer the most advanced diagnostic testing available to help your audiologist or physician determine the cause of your balance problem. While treatment options for balance issues are limited, certain therapies, such as vestibular rehabilitation therapy, diet, anti-vertigo medications, and injections have yielded remarkable results. Our audiologists are experienced in vertigo and dizziness assessments, and they will help you find the best treatment to overcome your balance problem.