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BPPV Testing and Management

Startling Statistics About BPPV

At The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic, we understand how debilitating BPPV or  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can be.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is the most common form of positional vertigo and is probably the most common disorder involving vertigo. It’s an affliction of the inner ear. In the most common clinical scenario, when the patient changes the position of the head, he or she feels that the room is spinning. The person may experience significant nausea as well.┘

According to The University of California, BPPV will affect nearly 40 percent of people over 40 at least once in their lifetime.

The good news about BPPV is that in most cases, it is entirely treatable.

The bad news about BPPV is that studies show, it can take an absurdly very long time from presentation of symptoms to treatment.

 

Two recent studies explored the time period from initial presentation of symptoms of BPPV to correct diagnosis. Fife and Fitzgerald report that in the United Kingdom, the mean wait time from initial presentation to correct diagnosis was 92 weeks. A more recent study out of China found the delay to be longer than 70 months.

We have witnessed this very same phenomenon in our practice, when people have seen multiple specialties and undergone several tests over the course of months and even years. Patients have altered their lives to accommodate their BPPV, changed their habits, disturbed their activities, family lives and working responsibilities. BPPV is easily diagnosed and easily treated.

In both studies mentioned above, the subjects were treated with Canalith repositioning (CRP) once the diagnosis of BPPV was made. In the Chinese study over 80% were successfully treated with one CRP, while the Fife and Fitzgerald study reports 85% were successfully treated.

Perhaps this is the most disturbing reality of these studies. 8/10 people who had suffered for years from Vertigo were cured of their BPPV in one treatment. Just one. 

At least 85% of cases had classical symptoms of BPPV and could have been easily identified by Primary Care Physicians at first referral, had they been trained to recognize and diagnose the condition.┌

It’s amazing to me that once someone is affected by BPPV and they tell their family and friends about it, they are shocked to realize how many people they know have experienced the very same thing! Further, they are shocked at just how easy it is to treat.

We are happy to test and manage your BPPV for you and your loved ones right in the heart of Essex County. If you have questions or concerns in regards to who we are and how we can help, please never hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

Don’t be a statistic! 

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How to shop for hearing aids – the smart way!

We had the privilege of meeting a younger gentleman a while back who’s approach to hearing aid shopping was novel to us. We thought that it was ingenious – and thus, with his permission we are going to share a bit of his story with you.

Mr. X is a 12 year hearing aid wearer who called us to arrange a consultation. Not a hearing test. He simply wanted to meet our Doctors of Audiology and see our facilities. It seems that 12 years ago at his initial purchase he bought hearing aids where his family doctor was, and was never very happy with those services he received. The product he purchased and subsequent products he purchased over the years worked just fine, but the services he had received, to him, seemed lacking. He told us that he bought his hearing aids there because he felt his family doctor would be upset if he bought a set elsewhere – closer to home.

Mr. X visited us on a Tuesday, along with his wife and brought a copy of his most recent hearing test. He was open and honest that we were not the first clinic that he visited. He asked about our education, experience and what we recommended for him and his hearing loss. It would be a 25 minute drive from his home for him to visit us, but he’d been further.

Mr. X was not price shopping. He was Audiologist shopping: and we loved it. 

In Mr. X’s reasoning, only a few hundred dollars separate the costs of the hearing aids. But the quality of service is where he perceives his value. Cost and value: two very different concepts but often interchanged ideas.

COST: the price of something, the amount of money that is needed to pay for or buy something.

VALUE: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. One’s judgment of what is important.

We want to encourage each and every reader to consider shopping for an Audiologist rather than a hearing aid. The right Audiologist will very often lead you to the right hearing aid for you. This day and age, we tend to get wrapped up in the cost of things, getting a good sale etc., but we don’t think so much of the value of the services that we receive along with those products. Don’t be tempted to price shop so much as to value shop. And when all else fails; we price match.

(Don’t forget! We are once again performing complimentary hearing screenings with our Doctors of Audiology in exchange for canned food donations!  Call Melissa today to arrange your appointment! (519) 961-9285!)

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Winter care for your hearing aids

Winter is on it’s way! We’ve been so lucky to enjoy the fantastic weather well into November, but I do believe we’re in for a harsh dose of winter reality – and soon!

Here are some tips on taking the best care of your hearing aids in the cold temperatures, the moisture that comes along with the season and a few other tips on protecting your investment before the snow flies!

If you are experience cold weather issues such as:

  • Your hearing aid cuts out during loud noises.
  • Your hearing aid stops working, then suddenly begins working again.
  • Sound seems to fade, or come and go.
  • Sound is accompanied by static.
  • Sounds are unclear or distorted.

Please call to arrange a hearing aid check up! We’d be glad to help you out!

 

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Shop Small: Small Business Saturday!

This weekend is Small Business Saturday (November 28, 2015). We are very proud to be a small, locally owned independent business.

Small businesses (like ours!) depend heavily on their local communities for support. As local customers ourselves, this weekend, we’re going to “pay it forward” and support small business in the way it matters most to them — through our wallet.

Studies show that for every $100 you spend locally, $48 stays local to support the community through other businesses and employment opportunities. Whereas for every $100 spent at a chain or big box store, only $13 stays local. 

Choose to support our community this year by shopping local, at the holidays and all year through! You can find local businesses by clicking here.

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Don’t forget that we are right now offering complimentary hearing screenings in exchange for a canned food donation for The Essex Area Food Bank, call today (519) 961-9285 to schedule your hearing screening and take advantage of our BOGO Hearing aid sale! Buy one, get the second for 1/2 Off!

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The Top 5 Excuses for Avoiding the Audiologist

This blog comes the day after Thanksgiving, and that is not coincidental. I visited my elderly grandparents for the holiday and for the most part just really loved getting caught up with their life happenings.

Grandma & Grandpa Cecile know where I work and what  I do. I’ve done the same for the past 15 years, and darn-it they have been avoiding coming to visit me to see the Audiologists for equally as long.

This year was no different. Except that Meme was complaining of an incessant ringing in her ears that started two months ago. Ringing that is high pitched and distracting. So distracting that she visited her family physician twice. Twice she was told that nothing could be done, and to leave a radio on when she tries to sleep. She was telling me this while I nodded my head and waited for her to finish telling me how her ringing in her ears keeps her from painting and doing her word search puzzles.

When I softly commented that if there was a simple fix to the ringing in her ears, would she do it? Yes? Well, then perhaps she should make an appointment to see the Audiologist at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic. Then the excuses began.

I wish I had a tape recorder on me, because this list would be more than a “Top 5”.

1. I can hear a pin drop. This is for all of those who use this excuse (or it’s close relative the ‘I don’t have a problem with my hearing, I hear everything’.) While it’s true that you may in fact hear pins drop, that is but ONE frequency of sound. Without a hearing test for the last 40 years, how do you know that you are hearing everything?

2. My mother lived to be 95 and never needed a hearing aid. Needing vs. wanting a hearing aid are two very different things. (I knew Granny Sweetie at 95. She needed a hearing aid. She may not have wanted one, but she certainly needed one.) Regardless of need vs. want, this excuse is made moot by the fact that you and your mother did not have the same experiences in life that may have damaged hearing. While yes, genetics can play a factor in hearing loss, generally inherited hearing loss is present in newborns.

3. It’s just the two of us and I don’t need to hear him. Well there you have it. Argument finished. There couldn’t possibly be anything else to listen to in your life other than Grandpa. The kettle boiling, the doorbell, the garage door malfunctioning (as it did last year, which they didn’t realize until I visited), an intruder breaking in, mice in the walls in the kitchen, the muffler going on the minivan, the banker you yelled at last week for not telling you something that he obviously had etc. Yup. Nothing more to hear in life, just throw in the towel.

4. My Doctor told me there was nothing that could be done (or another personal favorite the “I have the kind of hearing loss that can’t be helped.”) This one irks me because no well rounded physician would tell a patient this. Liken it to going to the doctor and telling them that you can’t see. I’m fairly 100% sure that almost every physician in the universe would suggest seeing an Optometrist for starters, among other things. Don’t use your Doctor as your excuse. He or she wants you to be well and to have your hearing tested regularly. Trust me.

5. I just can’t be bothered with all that hassle. Oh yes. The hassle. The hassle of having a hearing test and learning to use a hearing aid. Changing it’s battery every 7-10 days. Wait, you have an appointment with the eye doctor for a vision test? An appointment at the foot clinic? What about that hassle? Life is nothing but hassles. It’s only a hassle if it has no perceived value to you. Which apparently improved communication and safety does not.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever used these 5 excuses, just know – like my Grandma – I’m on to you! Your excuses are your way of rationalizing your refusal to take a simple hearing test. It’s a defense mechanism used to justify and explain in a seemingly logical manner (to you) your avoidance of the truth: You just don’t want hearing aids. For whatever reason. They’re pricey. They’re ugly. People will know you’re old.  Despite the fact that they may be able to help you rid yourself of that annoying ringing in your ears that has changed your life…it’s just a hassle.

I may never win over my grandmother – until she’s good and ready to come in (she’s just as stubborn as I am!) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.

Give up the ghost. It’s just a hearing test. At least that way when you tell people that there’s nothing wrong with your hearing, you will at least know to cross your fingers!

~melissa

 

 

 

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Top 10 Facts About Positional Vertigo (BPPV)- Balance Awareness Week

Is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)  a rare and exotic disease? No, on most clinic days, I see at least one person with BPPV, and often, I see several. For some, BPPV is a minor annoyance. For others, it’s a nightmare of dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, and inability to work or participate in family activities. — Gregory T. Whitman, M.D. (otoneurology)

Here are the Top 10 things you should know about Positional Vertigo (BPPV), with thanks to the Vestibular Disorders Association

1. If you woke up with vertigo, it is likely you have BPPV.

2. If you have vertigo that comes on when you lie down, it is likely you have BPPV.

3. If you have had more than 2 episodes of severe vertigo, there’s a strong possibility you have BPPV .

4. If you have BPPV in both ears, it will almost certainly throw off your balance.

5. If you have a past history of migraine and develop BPPV, you may notice an increase in headaches or light sensitivity. These symptoms will likely decrease after the BPPV has been successfully treated.

6. After BPPV has been treated, it’s a good idea for the doctor to ensure that dizziness, imbalance and related symptoms resolve.

7. If your vertigo makes you nauseated, and you do not have any vestibular tests planned, you may want to ask your audiologist if it would be all right to take a medication for vertigo before the Epley Maneuver. This can make BPPV treatment much more comfortable.

8. Curing a bout of BPPV can require persistence. Doctors and Audiologists always talk about the “easy” cases, miraculously cured on the first visit. However, I have seen patients who needed treatment on 10 different days in one month to finally clear the symptoms.

9. Another version of Rule 8: if you’ve “had BPPV for a year” or more, it’s likely you haven’t been treated enough.

10. In some cases, BPPV follows a previous inner ear infection that has damaged the inner ear and/or vestibular nerve. If this is the case, and if you still have symptoms after successful treatment of BPPV, the best treatment may be vestibular physical therapy, intended to train the ear and brain to work well together.

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If you think that you or someone you may know may benefit from speaking to our Doctors of Audiology, please give us a call! We’re here to help you (519) 961-9285.

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Osteoporosis linked to hearing loss

What do Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Smoking, Obesity, Noise Exposure and now Osteoporosis have in common?

An increased risk for sensorineural hearing loss. *

Researchers at the Hormone Health Network / Endocrine Society have recently discovered that those with osteoporosis, a progressive disorder that weakens the bones putting those with the disorder at risk for breaks and fractures – also increases the risk of developing a sudden sensorineural hearing loss nearly twofold.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), also called sudden deafness, is an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing that typically happens in one ear, It can happen all at once or over the course of several days. About half of the people who develop SSHL will spontaneously regain their hearing, but it is important to seek treatment immediately. About 85 percent of those who are treated for the condition recover some hearing.

 

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is important to have a baseline hearing test and also to be aware that you are at risk. If you or someone you know has suffered a sudden hearing loss, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately.

* http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416132017.htm

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Why do we have earwax?

We stumbled across this video today:

Earwax is another of our body’s mundane, under-appreciated, yet totally amazing protective devices. Like eyelashes and nose hair, earwax shields our body from outside invaders, including dust, bacteria, and other micro-organisms that can get in and irritate, inflame, or infect. Earwax lubricates our ears, in much the same way as tears lubricate our eyes. Without adequate amounts of earwax, our ears would feel dry and itchy.

Since our ears are self-cleaning, we should never, ever stick anything in them! Hence the old adage that you shouldn’t put anything in your ears smaller than your elbow and YES! that includes Q-Tips, even though they seem perfectly designed to fit inside the narrow ear canal. Keep these swabs and any other objects – including your fingers – out of your ears. When you put something in your ear – to scratch an itch or to attempt to remove wax – you risk pushing wax further into the ear, where it can block sound from meeting your eardrum.

If you feel your earwax may be affecting your hearing, contact your doctor for an appointment, it may be useful to instill a few drops of oil daily into your ears for a couple of days before your appointment. And of course, afterward come to see us at The Hearing & Dizziness Clinic to have your hearing tested.