Our Procedures

Balloon Sinuplasty

Procedure:

Balloon Sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure used to treat chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining within the paranasal sinuses. Once inflamed, the sinus cavities become a fertile ground for viruses, bacteria, and occasionally fungi to grow, resulting in infection. If it becomes chronic there may be a structural problem in the nose or sinuses. In those cases, a balloon sinuplasty may be recommended.

Are You a Candidate? Do You Suffer From Any of The Following Symptoms?

  • Congestion
  • Nasal Blockage
  • Post nasal drip
  • Sinus pressure and headache
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Chronic Sinus infections
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Snoring
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Allergies

Essentially, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure during which a thin balloon catheter is inserted into the nose. The balloon is gradually inflated to relieve blockages and widen the sinus pathways.  This expanding of the sinus opening by balloon sinuplasty is expected to result in a permanent change to the size of the sinus opening.  The goal of a balloon sinuplasty is to enlarge the opening of the sinuses, reduce blockage and improve sinus drainage.

Benefits of Balloon Sinuplasty

Unlike traditional sinus surgery, balloon sinuplasty does not require incisions, or any removal of bone or tissue, although, in certain cases, it may be used in conjunction with traditional surgery. Balloon sinuplasty has many advantages over traditional procedures. Benefits may include:

  • Absence of surgical incisions
  • No damage to surrounding tissue
  • Lack of serious complications
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Reduced bleeding

Although balloon sinuplasty is an effective treatment for relieving many sinus problems, and has no reported serious complications, it is not appropriate for everyone. Balloon sinuplasty cannot be performed on patients who have extensive scarring of the sinuses, ethmoid sinusitis or nasal polyps.

Sinus Surgery

Sinus surgery is performed to remove blockages and enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses. The sinuses are the hollow spaces behind the bones of the upper face, which can become blocked and inflamed, causing a buildup of mucus. This procedure can effectively treat conditions such as persistent nasal congestion, recurring sinus infections, polyps and tumors. Patients may turn to surgery to treat chronic sinus conditions or after other treatments including medications and nasal sprays have been unsuccessful in relieving symptoms.

Types of Sinus Surgery

Sinus surgery is a traditional treatment option that clears blocked sinuses using surgical instruments to remove bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening. The approach taken will be determined by several factors, including which sinuses are affected. The goal of sinus surgery is to reduce blockage and improve sinus drainage. A surgeon will enlarge the opening of the sinuses, remove any polyps, and correct any defects that contribute to nasal obstruction. There are several types of sinus surgery that may be performed, depending on the patient’s individual situation.

Balloon Sinuplasty

A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure during which a thin balloon catheter is inserted into the nose. The balloon is gradually inflated to relieve blockages and widen the sinus pathways.

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery or FESS

FESS is the most commonly performed sinus surgery. The operation is performed through the nose with tiny instruments while a thin tube with a tiny camera helps the surgeon visualize the area on a computer screen.

Image-Guided Surgery

Image-guided surgery allows surgeons to operate with a more precise visualization of the sinuses by combining endoscopic techniques with innovative electromagnetic imaging.

Caldwell Luc Procedure

During the Caldwell-Luc procedure, the maxillary sinus is accessed with an incision through the upper mouth. A small part of the maxillary bone is removed to promote drainage of the maxillary sinuses.

Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated or deformed septum. The septum is the partition between the two nostrils. This corrective surgery opens the nasal passages and proper drainage of the sinuses resumes.

Polypectomy

A polypectomy may be performed alone or in conjunction with another type of sinus surgery. It is a surgical procedure to remove polyps in the nose or sinuses which may be obstructing nasal drainage.

After sinus surgery, most patients experience major relief in symptoms such as facial pain and swelling, difficulty breathing and headaches. The frequency and duration of sinus infections are also greatly decreased.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder in which one or more pauses or shallow breathing occurs while sleeping. The airway is either narrow, causing disruptive snoring, or completely obstructed (obstructive sleep apnea), causing the sleeper to gasp and wake up fully or partially. Pauses can occur 1 to 100 times a night, and usually go unnoticed by the sleeper without a bed partner.

Symptoms Include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Snoring or gasping
  • Waking up out of breath
  • Morning headaches
  • Inability to focus during day
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth or sore throat

Sleep Peacefully with the Right Treatment

Sleep apnea has many possible causes, so it is important to determine which one is causing yours. Balloon sinuplasty may be a benefit to help relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Schedule an appointment so we can start your diagnosis and help you gain freedom from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD
  • Headaches

In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

Middle Ear Surgery

The ear is made up of the basic parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The middle ear is an air-filled cavity which consists of an eardrum and three tiny, interconnected bones called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. Middle ear surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions in any of these parts.

Most ear surgery is microsurgical, performed using an operating microscope to enable the surgeon to view the very small structures of the ear. Types of middle ear surgery include: a stapedectomy to repair hearing loss by replacing a middle ear bone with a prosthesis, a tympanoplasty to repair or reconstruct the eardrum after perforation, a myringotomy to drain ear fluid, preventing infection and normalizing middle ear pressure, and surgery to remove a middle ear tumor.

Minimally invasive laser surgery for middle ear procedures is increasing in popularity. Laser surgery reduces trauma,reduces the risk of excessive bleeding and allows the surgeon to operate more easily on hard to reach places in the middle ear.

Tympanoplasty

Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to reconstruct the eardrum when it has been badly torn or perforated. There are several reasons a tympanoplasty may need to be performed, including congenital deafness and injury to the tympanic membrane due to: serious or chronic middle ear infections, accidents, or extreme changes in air pressure.

Whenever there are symptoms of pain, discharge or bleeding from the ear, or hearing loss, a doctor should be consulted since these symptoms may be the result of eardrum perforation. Eardrum perforation is diagnosed by an examination of the ear using an instrument known as an otoscope. A hearing test is also often performed to evaluate whether the patient has sustained any hearing loss. Minor eardrum perforations may not require treatment since they will heal on their own. When the injury does not heal in a few weeks, a tympanoplasty is usually necessary.

During tympanoplasty the surgeon makes a cut either behind the ear or inside the ear canal. When the eardrum is perforated, there may be fractures of the small bones of the inner ear, called ossicles, as well. This happens frequently in children as a result of ear infections. When this occurs, the bones involved must be removed, repaired or replaced. If there is only a small hole in the eardrum, the doctor may be able to perform a lesser procedure, called a myringoplasty

A tympanoplasty procedure is usually performed outpatient, meaning patients are able to return home later the same day.

While tympanoplasty is considered a safe and effective procedure, there are risks associated with any type of surgical procedure. Risks of a tympanoplasty may include: excessive bleeding, infection, breathing problems, adverse reaction to anesthesia, hearing loss and facial nerve injury. These complications are considered rare and are minimized by having an experienced and skilled surgeon perform the procedure. The symptoms experienced before the surgical procedure, such as hearing loss, usually abate quickly after the tympanoplasty procedure. During the period immediately following a tympanoplasty, patients should refrain from swimming, air travel and crowds.

Myringotomy

A myringotomy is a surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to remove fluid such as blood, pus or water from the middle ear.

A myringotomy is performed to relieve pressure buildup in the middle ear, usually due to chronic middle ear infections which are resistant to other treatments. There may also be excessive fluid present due to severe allergies.

Reasons For A Myringotomy

When adults require this operation it is usually as a result of barotrauma, or sudden change in ear pressure, which may be caused by scuba-diving, air travel, mountain climbing or explosion. Adults may also require a myringotomy when they develop mastoiditis, an infection of the bone behind the ear, that has spread, or is in danger of spreading.

Most doctors do not suggest a myringotomy for children’s ear infections unless:

  • There are recurrent ear infections in a short period of time
  • Fluid buildup persists for over 6 months in one ear
  • Fluid buildup persists for over 3 months in both ears
  • Hearing is badly affected
  • There is a speech delay
  • It is necessary to remove fluid for laboratory examination

A myringotomy is nearly always successful and provides immediate relief from symptoms. Most children on whom this procedure is performed do not suffer any hearing loss or speech delays.

Risks Of A Myringotomy

While a myringotomy is considered an extremely safe procedure, there are risks involved in any type of surgery. Risks of surgery in general may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia or medications

Risks of a myringotomy in particular may include continuing drainage from the ear or a hole in the eardrum that does not heal. In the case of the latter, the eardrum will need to be surgically repaired.

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are small, electronic devices used to correct hearing loss in those who are completely deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The device is implanted into the inner ear, bypassing the damaged parts of the ear to directly reach the auditory nerve and send sound signals to the brain. Cochlear implants can benefit adults and children over 12 months old. The success of cochlear implants varies depending on how long a person has been deaf, how many nerve fibers remain and their motivation to hear.

Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

A bone anchored hearing aid, or BAHA is an implantable device used to improve hearing by stimulating the inner ear through the bone. BAHAs can improve hearing in patients with less severe cases of conductive or mixed hearing impairment. It is ideal for patients who are not candidates for regular hearing aids because of a physical deformity, frequent ear infections or narrow ear canals.

A bone anchored hearing aid placement procedure takes less than an hour to perform on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia for adults and general anesthesia for children. Patients can return home the same day. During the initial procedure, only the titanium screw and abutment are placed, while the hearing aid is implanted during a second procedure three to six months later. This ensures that the titanium becomes integrated into the bone for long-lasting correction.

Aural rehabilitation for those with cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids generally includes learning strategies to communicate more effectively in conversation as well as how to handle distracting background noise.

Ossiculoplasty

Ossiculoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to remove, repair, or replace one or more of the small bones of the middle ear. These three bones, called ossicles, are individually known as the malleus, the incus and the stapes. They normally vibrate in order to transmit sound waves to the eardrum and the auditory nerve. When they are congenitally malformed or damaged by infection or injury, an ossiculoplasty is required to restore hearing. During some surgeries, the damaged bone will be removed and a prosthetic will be implanted in its place.

An ossiculoplasty is performed to restore the hearing process when the
ossicles are damaged due to :

  • Anatomical genetic defect
  • Middle ear infection
  • Traumatic injury
  • Barotrauma, a sudden change in ear pressure
  • Extremely loud noise, like an explosion
  • Scarring of the bones
  • Oterosclerosis

An ossiculoplasty is frequently performed concurrently with a tympanoplasty to reconstruct the eardrum, or tympanic membrane. Sometimes the surgeon is aware of the need for bone repair in advance and sometimes a fracture is discovered during the repair of the eardrum. In the latter case, the surgeon is usually able to perform the two corrections during the same procedure.

The rate of success for an ossiculoplasty is very high, though it depends to a certain extent on the anatomy of the individual patient’s ear and the severity of the damage to the bones. Most patients do very well after this surgery, but, as with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks. The primary risks of ossiculoplasty may include a postoperative balance dysfunction and the possibility that the hearing will be worse after surgery. During the period immediately following an ossiculoplasty, patients should refrain strong nose blowing, swimming and air travel and try to avoid crowds in an effort to avoid respiratory infections.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is the sudden or gradual decrease in hearing. Hearing loss can be mild or severe, reversible, temporary or permanent, and may affect one or both ears. The most common cause of hearing loss is age, affecting up to 25 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 75 and up to 50 percent of those over the age of 75. Age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, results from changes in the ear which cause gradual hearing loss. Some individuals are hearing-impaired or deaf as a result of a congenital defect or because of an illness, such as Ménière’s disease.

Treatment of hearing loss depends in the cause of the problem. For temporary loss of hearing due to wax buildup, a thorough cleaning of the ear canal, also known as an irrigation or lavage, may be helpful. Hearing loss caused by an ear infection may be treated with antibiotics and decongestants to rid mucus from the ears. For more permanent types of hearing loss resulting from aging, or damage to the inner ear, hearing aids may be helpful, although adjusting to them may take a few weeks.

When the eardrum has been torn or perforated, a surgical procedure known as tympanoplasty, may be necessary to repair the eardrum. Individuals with more profound hearing loss as a result of a congenital defect, injury or disease, may benefit from the surgical implantation of a cochlear implant, a small electronic device that helps to provide a sense of sound. Individuals coping with severe hearing loss may also learn to pay careful attention to gestures and facial expressions, to read lips, or to use sign language in order to improve their communication skills.

Otolaryngology

Otolaryngology is the branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the ear, nose and throat. Otolaryngologists, also known as ENT physicians, have been trained in the treatment, both medical and surgical, of patients with disorders of the ear, nose and throat and related problems of the head and neck. Otolaryngologists also diagnose and treat diseases of the sinuses, larynx or voice box, and mouth. Otolaryngologists must complete 13 years of training before they can qualify for board certification. Their training includes four years of college, four years of medical school and at least five years of specialty training.

Subspecialties of Otolaryngology

There are seven primary subspecialties of otolaryngology. Physicians in the field may train in one of the following and may also choose to further focus on one area of the subspecialties, such as surgical oncology of the ENT region.

Allergy

Otolaryngologists who specialize in this area treat patients with ear, nose and throat sensitivities to dust, mold, pollen or pet dander with medication and allergy shots. These doctors are primarily treating seasonal allergies, chronic rhinitis, laryngitis or sinusitis, sore throat, dizziness and middle ear infections, also known as acute otitis media.

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Otolaryngologists who become plastic and reconstructive surgeons are trained to perform operations on patients with abnormalities of the face, neck or ear. Such procedures may be done for a variety of reconstructive, cosmetic or functional reasons. Common operations performed by otolaryngologists who specialize in this type of otolaryngology are:

  • Procedures to correct deviated septa
  • Rhinoplasties
  • Face lifts
  • Cleft palate or cleft lip corrections
  • Operations to repair drooping eyelids
  • Hair replacement procedures
  • Operations to correct facial deformities

Head and Neck

Otolaryngologists who specialize in the head and neck treat benign and cancerous tumors of this region, including tumors of the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, larynx and upper esophagus, including the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Laryngology

Otolaryngologists who specialize in laryngology focus their attention on disorders of the throat, concerning themselves with diagnosing and treating disorders of the voice and swallowing difficulties. Such physicians treat chronic sore throats, hoarseness, gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, and infections and tumors of the larynx.

Otology/Neurology

Otologists and neurotologists specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the ear, including birth defects, traumatic injuries, infections, benign tumors, and nerve pathway dysfunctions affecting balance and hearing. These physicians commonly treat ear, neck or face pain, dizziness, tinnitus, swimmer’s ear, ear infections and loss of hearing.

Pediatric Otolaryngology

Pediatric otolaryngologists specialize in the ENT problems of children. These may include birth defects of the head and neck, developmental delays, ear infections, asthma or other airway problems, allergy or sinus disease, neck tumors or tonsil and adenoid infections.

Rhinology

Rhinologists specialize in diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nose and sinuses. They commonly treat frequent nose bleeds, loss of smell, sinus problems and nasal polyps and tumors.

Common Conditions Treated by Otolaryngologists

Hearing Loss

Otolaryngologists are trained in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of hearing loss whether it results from congenital defect, ear infections, balance disorders, tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, problems with balance or some disorders of the cranial nerves. Approximately 10 percent of the population is affected by hearing loss at some point in life.

Nasal Problems

Otolaryngologists are trained to treat problems of the nose which may include allergies,smell disorders and nasal obstructions due topolyps or a deviatedsepta.Otolaryngologistsalso perform rhinoplasty, a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the nose.

Disorders of the Throat

The throat is a vital body part both in terms of ingestion of food and in terms of communication. Part of the specialty of otolaryngology involves a focus on the region of the throat, including the larynx and the upper section of the esophagus. This means that otolaryngologists are concerned with disorders of speech, singing and swallowing.

Disorders of the Head and Neck

Otolaryngologists are also trained in the diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions of the head and neck area, which may include the following:

  • Sight, smell and hearing
  • Appearance of the face
  • Infections
  • Tumors, both malignant and benign
  • Deformities of the face, such as cleft lip
  • Facialtrauma

Throat and Neck

The thyroid is an organ in the endocrine system that must be monitored if it becomes swollen. A swollen or dysfunctional thyroid may reveal a lump within the tissue that generally cannot be determined upon examination as benign or malignant.

Performed with in-office ultrasound equipment, the procedure requires a soft gel to be spread across the area of the neck to be observed, which will help the sound waves travel between the machine and the body. The actual imaging itself is completely painless, but if the area to be imaged was tender beforehand some discomfort may ensue.

Ultrasound guided Fine Needle Biopsy of Thyroid Nodules and Neck Masses

Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths on the thyroid gland that appear as lumps in the throat. The cause of a thyroid nodule is not known, but they occur most often in older adults and are usually not cancerous. However, thyroid nodules require medical attention to help prevent any complications.

A neck mass is a common condition that involves swelling that changes the shape of the neck. Neck masses do not usually cause any symptoms and often disappear on their own.

They may be caused by:

  • Enlarged lymph node caused by infection
  • Inflamed or infected cyst
  • Trauma
  • Inflammation of salivary glands
  • Tumor

Neck masses caused by infection can be painful and may require antibiotic treatment. Those that last more than a few weeks should undergo diagnostic testing.

Fine needle aspiration biopsy is used to sample an abnormality within the neck or thyroid without the need for anesthesia. A 22g rather than an 11g needle is used. The procedure is useful for sampling very small masses and can distinguish between cysts and solid masses. The needle is guided by ultrasound to reach only the mass and damage no surrounding tissue.

Small Incision Thyroidectomy with Laryngeal Nerve Monitoring

During a thyroidectomy, the entire thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes are removed. This is the most common procedure when thyroid cancer is present to completely remove the disease.

Since the entire thyroid is removed, patients will need to take thyroid hormone replacement drugs, usually for the rest of their lives. The lack of a thyroid will often bring about signs of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include fatigue, exhaustion, depression, and difficulty concentrating.

Thyroid surgeries are performed through a small incision in the middle of the neck. By using an endoscope, tiny instruments and a video camera, the area is magnified for a surgeon and the operation is less invasive than traditional surgery. The procedure usually takes about two hours and is done under general anesthesia. An overnight hospital stay is required, but most patients are able to resume normal activities the day after surgery. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least ten days after surgery. Thyroid surgeries are considered safe procedures with few complications. Some people may experience hoarseness or a sore throat because of the breathing tube used during surgery.

During thyroid surgery, the surgeon operates very closely to the laryngeal nerves. Damage to the laryngeal nerves can cause difficulties in speaking and swallowing. Laryngeal monitoring reduces the occurrence of damage by warning the surgeon with lights and/or sounds when the laryngeal nerve is being stimulated. This offers peace of mind to both patient and surgeon, ensuring a successful surgery and lowering the risk of post-operative complications.

Radio-Guided Parathyroidectomy

The parathyroid glands are four small glands in the neck that are part of the endocrine system. They produce parathyroid hormone, or PTH, which maintains calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. The primary disease associated with the parathyroids is overproduction of PTH, known as hyperparathyroidism.

Surgical removal of one or more parathyroid glands is called a parathyroidectomy. In most cases of hyperparathyroidism, only one gland has to be removed and a procedure called minimally-invasive radio-guided parathyroid, or MIRP, surgery can be performed. MIRP surgery only involves a local anesthetic, requires a much smaller incision and has a very high success rate. The operation usually takes less than 30 minutes and patients may return home within one to two hours. Patients will be able to resume normal activities after just one day. By using rapid PTH testing during the procedure, the surgeon will be able to determine immediately when all of the abnormal parathyroid tissue has been removed. This helps make the surgery more precise and helps shorten the length of the surgery.

Balance Disorders

A balance disorder is a complex condition that causes unsteadiness and dizziness, and sensations of spinning, moving or floating. Part of the inner ear known as the labyrinth interacts with other body systems, including those of the eyes, bones and joints, to maintain balance. The part of the inner ear that is involved with balance is called the vestibular system, and balance disorders associated with the ear are referred to as vestibular disorders. Problems within the ear, brain or nervous system cause balance problems that affect more than two million people each year.

Symptoms of Balance Disorders

Symptoms of a balance disorders may come and go, or be constant. They may cause anxiety or panic when they occur, and may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Motion sickness
  • Blurry vision
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea

Vomiting, diarrhea, and increased heart rate or blood pressure may also accompany the symptoms listed above.

Causes of Balance Disorders

In many cases, a specific cause for the symptoms of a balance disorder cannot be determined. However, a balance disorder is often the result of another medical condition, which may be minor or severe. These medical conditions usually affect the visual, vestibular or general sensory systems, or the brain. Balance disorders may also be caused by:

  • Certain medications
  • Ear infections
  • Head injury
  • Aging
  • Blood-circulation disorders affecting the inner ear or brain

Diagnosis of Balance Disorders

Because dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of many conditions, it can be hard to pinpoint a balance disorder’s exact cause. Depending on a patient’s symptoms, a series of audiologic, vestibular and movement tests may be performed in order to reach a diagnosis. Those tests may include:

  • Hearing test
  • Blood test
  • MRI scan
  • Posturography, which tests balance
  • Electronystagmogram, which measures eye movement and muscle control
  • Cardiology Consultation for evaluation of the heart for potential arrhythmias, blood pressure issues, etc.
  • Neurology Consultation for possible central (brain related), cervical (neck position related), migrainous vertigo

Types of Balance Disorders

Identifying the underlying cause and the type of balance disorder are both important for successful treatment. When a cause for the balance disorder is determined, a specific treatment plan can be created. Balance disorders are commonly characterized by their symptoms or causes. There are several types of common balance disorders.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Also known as BPPV, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a condition that causes feelings of vertigo after specific position changes of the head. BPPV may be caused by an infection or inflammation of the ear that causes the calcium particles to shift, resulting in balance problems and vertigo. Patients who suffer from BPPV may have brief periods of vertigo that come and go.

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis result in acute onset of hearing loss, dizziness and a loss of balance. It is usually caused by an infection or inflammation of the inner ear that is the result of an upper-respiratory infection and is thought to be viral in origin, so antibiotics are often of little use.  In most cases symptoms resolve significantly within the first week, and more completely over the subsequent six weeks.  Early evaluation and treatment of the sudden hearing loss is important in order to achieve the best chance of recovering some hearing, which unfortunately is not always possible.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease symptoms, which are caused by an imbalance of fluid in the inner ear, include vertigo, hearing loss and ringing in the ears. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease may vary in both frequency and intensity. Some patients experience many symptoms within a short period of time, followed by months or years without them.

Vestibular Neuronitis

Vestibular neuronitis is the swelling of the vestibular nerve, which is responsible for sending balance signals from the inner ear to the brain. This condition usually causes vertigo. Vestibular neuronitis often follows a cold or other viral infection, although by the time symptoms arise, the viral infection is usually long gone.

Perilymph Fistula

Perilymph fistula is the leakage, caused by a physical injury or exertion, of inner-ear fluid. The symptoms of perilymph fistula may include dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting. Some patients experience ringing or fullness in the ears, and many notice hearing loss which is often permanent.  Symptoms may get worse when there is a change in altitude or air pressure.

Treatment for Balance Disorders

Treatment for a balance disorder depends on its cause, and treating the cause often eliminates the balance problem. The following treatments may also help to relieve symptoms:

  • Balance-training exercises
  • Lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol and caffeine
  • Oral and trans-tympanic steroids
  • Anti-vertigo and anti-nausea medications

A vestibular rehabilitation therapist can also assist patients by developing individualized treatment plans that combine head, body and eye exercises designed to decrease dizziness and nausea. Surgery on the vestibular organs may be recommended for patients whose symptoms cannot be controlled by more conservative methods.

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