I asked our staff a question about the importance of evaluating the hearing system for the overview and adding information prior to the balance assessment.
This is what Kristie Dannemiller-Smith, Clinical Audiologist said, ”
This is exactly what I explain to patients. I share with my patients that certain middle and inner ear disorders have a prominent configuration on the audiogram and to check for asymmetry (one sided hearing loss). These issues do in fact affect our balance and dizziness. I then briefly explain that fluid behind the ear drum usually affects the lower frequencies first, cerumen impaction affects high frequencies and inner ear disorders like Meniere’s show fluctuation. Patients seem to feel this helps them to understand the affect hearing loss can have on their balance system. I then usually go over the audiogram afterward.” Thanks Kristie!
Dr. Amy Welman, Au.D our other Clinical Audiologist commented that, “Asymmetry, or one sided hearing loss, should always be looked into, I had a patient who’s asymmetry and very poor speech discrimination was concerning so I recommended further assessment, she went to a near by hospital and was diagnosed with an Enlarged Vestibular aqueduct. But she never had any dizziness issues in the past. Doctors and patients may often not understand that a full hearing assessment can detect other potential serious health concerns or something that may be prevented before it gets worse or before there are any other symptoms.” Thank you Dr. Welman!
Our hearing system and balance system can work very independently as well as codependent on each other. As Amy and Kristie pointed out above, varying health issues can and often affect a symptom and affect in one to the other. I am pleased to work closely with our staff Audiologists, Amy and Kristie. They can be so very insightful and very enthusiastic to be a part of our patients quality of life. Sharing information of clinical hearing, balance, and tinnitus assessments help us all grow as well as a team and account for our teams many talents. Below is the link to an article on the importance of evaluating the hearing system in order to best address the balance. I offer thanks to Alan Desmond, Editor @ Dizziness Depot, for creating this question to arise and thus asked to our staff audiologists.