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Hearing and Balance Center

Hearing OutcomesThe Hearing and Balance Center at the Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio specializes in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory (hearing) and vestibular (parts of the inner ear involved with balance) systems.

You’ll receive expert care from our team, led by an audiologist–a specialist in hearing balance and ear problems. You are evaluated for symptoms of hearing loss and other auditory, balance, and related sensory and neural problems.

We use the most advanced diagnostic technology, including audiometers, computers and other testing devices, to determine the extent of your hearing loss  or balance loss and its impact on your daily life. Based on your test results, you receive a diagnosis and recommendations for the most appropriate course of treatment–often without surgery.

Conditions Treated

We provide treatment for a wide range of conditions related to hearing or balance, including:

  • Simple hearing loss (reversible)
  • Nerve-based hearing loss
  • Fluid in the ears
  • Chronic ear disease
  • Congenital hearing loss and trauma
  • Motion sickness
  • Vertigo (the feeling that you are spinning or moving, or the world is spinning around you)
  • Viral balance disorders
  • Meniere’s disease (inner ear disorder that causes dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss and feeling of fullness in the ear)

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is very common, with one in ten people affected with it to some degree. It’s the third most common condition in older Americans, after arthritis and high blood pressure. You may not realize you have hearing loss because it occurs gradually. Or you may realize your hearing is not what it used to be, but are reluctant to seek help.

Signs of hearing loss include:

  • Requiring frequent repetition
  • Having difficulty following conversations involving two or more people
  • Feeling as if others sound muffled or they’re mumbling
  • Consistently turning your TV or radio to a high volume
  • Having difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, malls or crowded meeting rooms
  • Having trouble hearing children and women
  • Answering or responding inappropriately in conversations
  • Experiencing ringing in the ears
  • Reading lips or intently watching people’s faces when they speak

Hearing Aids and Assistive Listening Devices

If you have a hearing impairment, you can likely benefit from the use of hearing aids or other assisted listening devices (ALDs). Our audiologist will perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation, followed by an assessment to determine the level of amplification that would be best suited to meet your needs.

We work with an extensive number of hearing aid manufacturers and help you select the most appropriate solution. We walk you through the process of obtaining a hearing aid, including available styles, technology, and related costs, and take impressions of your ear canal for custom fit hearing aids.
 
All hearing aids have a 30-day adjustment (trial) period, a minimum of a one-year warranty for repairs, and lost or stolen damage insurance. You receive follow-up care for your hearing aid to ensure it fits and functions well.

An Assistive Listening Device or ALD, is any device or product–including hearing aids–that improves or “assists” hearing. Everyone can benefit from ALDs, not just people with hearing impairment.

ALDs are typically used for specific listening environments, such as churches, conference rooms during meetings, theaters, or schools with radios or televisions. They can work together with hearing aids but many can be used without hearing aids.

Balance Disorders

If you’ve ever felt dizzy, or off-balance, or like the room is spinning, you know it’s an unpleasant sensation. Dizziness is more common than ever and is the leading cause of injury to people 65 or older.

Dizziness can be described as:

  • Sensation of unsteadiness
  • Feeling of imbalance
  • Disorientation in relation to your surroundings
  • Whirling sensation (vertigo)

Being able to move about freely is an important factor in the quality of life, no matter what your age. A healthy vestibular system–all of the parts of the inner ear involved with balance is vitally important for freedom of movement. We evaluate and treat patients who suffer from dizziness unsteadiness, falls or motion intolerance.

Dizziness is a symptom, not a disease. Balance in walking and standing is dependent on many factors. Reduced vision and neuropathy (nerve damage) in hands and feet, certain medications, balance, gait and blood pressure can influence balance. Symptoms of dizziness vary from person to person. It may or may not be accompanied by hearing loss.

Services

Your care and treatment may include the following services:

  • Audiological Evaluation – This comprehensive evaluation assesses your hearing status from the outer to inner parts of the ear. It includes a complete history of your symptoms, as well as other factors contributing to the problem. Diagnostic tests may include an otoscopic exam, pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, middle ear studies and otoacoustic emissions studies of the inner ear.
  • Pure Tone and Speech Testing – This test is performed in a sound treated room. We assess your quietest level of hearing comfortable levels of hearing and speech understanding in each ear.
  • Middle Ear Assessment – We test the integrity of your middle ear system. That includes assessing the presence or absence of fluid in the middle ear space, or perforation of the tympanic membrane (eardrum), as well as reflexes of muscles in response to loud sounds.
  • Hearing Aid and Assistive Listening Device Fitting and Service – We offer a wide selection of styles and types of hearing aids. Most of these hearing aids are digital, so they can be set more precisely for your specific hearing loss. We also offer completely-in-the-canal type of hearing aids, which may be more cosmetically appealing, as well as assistive listening devices for the phone, TV and other listening situations.
  • Otoacoustic Emissions – This non-invasive procedure assesses the status of the inner ear (cochlea) at the level hairs cells, where hearing actually takes place.
  • Videonystagmography (VNG) or Electronystagmography (ENG) – This test evaluates the inner ear balance function to determine if dizziness is due to inner ear disease. The ENG test is the “gold standard” to identify the presence of dizziness or imbalance due to unequal neural messages to the vestibular system.
  • Platform Posturography – For normal balance, you need correct information from the balance portion of the inner ears (vestibular structures), the eyes (vision) and the pressure sensors in the feet, ankles, muscles and joints (somatosensory systems). This test evaluates your postural stability. It’s a good evaluation if you’re experiencing falls or gait (how you walk or move) instability.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) – The hearing nerve from the inner ear to the brain stem is tested. It also assesses the pathway’s function to transmit sound.
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP) - This test assesses whether a specific part of the inner ear nerve (saccule) and central connections are intact and working normally.

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