5 N Maple Avenue, Suite 100, La Plata, Maryland 20646
Spotlight: Hearing & Balance in the News
February 6, 2023
People who suffer from migraines are at a greater risk of a sudden sensorineural hearing loss, a Korean study finds. Read more.
May 1, 2023
Vitamin D Deficiency: Can it Cause Vertigo and Hearing Loss?
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to higher likelihood of recurrent BPPV as well as higher rates of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing Health & Technology
February 28, 2023
Dizziness Can Be A Drag:
Coping with Balance Disorders
Most people feel dizzy now and then. But if that feeling persists or interferes with your daily life, it could be a sign of a balance disorder. Read more.
National Institutes of Health
Hearing Health and Technology Matters | Tuscon, Arizona
Posted here May 1, 2023
Published March 22, 2023
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, necessary for building and maintaining healthy bone structure by promoting calcium absorption in the body. Despite its importance, vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. Also, with populations spending less time outdoors, vitamin D obtained naturally from sunlight is likely declining. As such, vitamin D deficiency is widespread with an estimated 1 billion individuals affected worldwide. Deficiency or insufficiency can lead to bone pain/loss, fatigue, mood changes and muscle cramps.
The condition of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause for vertigo, accounting for 20-30% of diagnoses in a dizziness clinic. BPPV is a condition in which calcium carbonate crystals (otoconia) migrate into the semicircular canals (head turn sensors). When the affected individual moves their head, this results in movement of the otoconia. This movement stimulates the canal, which results in nystagmus and dizziness. The condition is not directly life threatening but can lead to activity limitation, higher risk for falling, and reduced productivity. BPPV can be readily treated with a series of timed head movements referred to as canalith reposition procedures; however, the recurrence rate is high. BPPV recurrence is problematic as there is no way of knowing when someone’s symptoms might recur and there is little that can be done to reduce the risk of recurrence.
More recently it has been shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher risk of BPPV recurrence. The recurrence risk appears to be highest for those with severe vitamin D deficiency . One study showed a 70% risk of recurrence for those severely deficient in vitamin D and only a 22% chance of recurrence for those with normal vitamin D levels.
he good news is that it appears that vitamin D supplementation can reduce this risk for those that are deficient. One study showed that only 20% of participant’s experienced BPPV recurrence at 6 month follow up after supplementing vitamin D, while 100% of those that did not supplement vitamin D experienced symptom recurrence. Another study showed a less pronounced but similar pattern with 25% risk of recurrence at 1 year follow up without vitamin D supplementation, while none of the individuals in this study experienced symptom recurrence after beginning vitamin D supplementation.
Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with increased rates of sensorineural hearing loss across the lifespan. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported as a likely metabolic cause of sensorineural hearing loss dating back to the 1980’s.
Vitamin D deficiency can be readily treated by a medical provider with limited risk. At this time there is at least some data to support that vitamin D supplementation may help reduce BPPV recurrence risk and reduce the risk of hearing loss.
It may be worth getting your vitamin D levels checked if you have unexplained hearing loss or if you experience recurrent BPPV symptoms.
The full article can be found here.
If a Child's Grades Falter, Consider Hearing Loss
HealthDay | Norwalk, Connecticut
Posted here September 14, 2022
Published August 16, 2022
While some may think of hearing loss as something that happens with age, it can also happen to kids.
Parents and teachers should consider hearing loss if a child's academic performance declines or he or she develops behavioral issues, lack of focus and depression, the American Academy of Audiology advises.
"Because children often don't realize they are missing information and may not communicate hearing difficulties, issues with auditory accessibility may go undetected," said academy president Sarah Sydlowski, who is audiology director of the Hearing Implant Program at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.
Babies typically have their hearing tested shortly after birth, but hearing loss can start in early childhood, too. In the United States, about two to three of every 1,000 babies are born with detectable hearing loss, according to the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
It's not known how many children have hearing loss because many cases may be undiagnosed. Illness, ear infections and exposure to loud sounds can all affect children's hearing.
And hearing loss can impact a child's education. Children with untreated hearing loss use more mental energy to understand what is being said, according to the academy. It may appear they are not paying attention when they actually are missing what was said.
"A child with minimal hearing loss may be missing a significant amount of the classroom discussion," Sydlowski said in an academy news release.
Unfortunately, she added, children may be identified as having a learning disability when they actually have untreated hearing loss.
"Hearing loss should always be ruled out when there are academic and speech and language issues," Sydlowski said. "We want to treat the hearing loss first since untreated hearing loss can disrupt all aspects of educational success."
Among the signs to look for are difficulty following through on assignments, not understanding the questions or not responding appropriately to them.
The academy also suggests watching for speech that is different from that of other children the same age, including struggling to pronounce simple words, being unable to repeat a phrase or having language delays.
A child with hearing loss may often ask you to repeat what you say and watch your face intently while you talk. The child may have trouble hearing on the phone, speak loudly when not warranted, have chronic ear pain or complain of loud noises that he or she cannot identify.
The child may appear more weary than is typical at the end of the school day. A child with hearing loss may also turn up the volume on the TV, computer or headphones, and may favor one ear over the other when using the phone, choosing a seat or responding to questions.
"Parents and teachers don't always realize that a child's behavior may be a sign of hearing loss," Sydlowski said.
Parents who suspect a problem should have their child evaluated by an audiologist, she advised.
"Audiologists have the tools and training to identify hearing loss, degrees of hearing loss, and can recommend solutions for children of any age," Sydlowski said.
The full article can be found here.
Dizziness Can Be a Drag: Coping with Balance Disorders
National Institutes of Health | Bethesda, Maryland
Posted here February 28, 2023
Published August 2012
Imagine reaching for something on a grocery shelf and suddenly feeling unsteady. Or looking over your shoulder to back up the car and having things start whirling around you. Most people feel dizzy now and then. But if that feeling persists or interferes with your daily life, it could be a sign of a balance disorder.
A balance disorder makes you feel as if you’re moving, spinning or floating, even though you’re quite still. More than 4 in 10 Americans will experience an episode of dizziness sometime during their lives that’s significant enough to send them to a doctor.
Dizziness can range from feeling lightheaded to woozy to disoriented. Feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning is called vertigo. Any of these sensations can be extremely distressing.
“Balance is a multisystem function,” explains NIH hearing and balance expert Dr. Daniel Sklare. It begins with a series of signals within the tiny balance organs of the inner ear. These organs work with your brain’s visual system to give you a sense of your body’s position. They also keep objects from blurring when your head moves. Sense receptors in skin, joints and muscles also send balance-related signals to the brain. The brain receives and coordinates information from all these different body systems. Balance disorders can arise when any of these signals malfunction.
Because balance is so complex, it can be hard to figure out the underlying cause of certain problems. Some balance disorders can begin suddenly. They might arise from an ear infection, a head injury or certain medications. Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness when you stand up quickly. Disorders related to vision, muscles, bones or joints can also contribute to balance problems.
“As America gets older, many people with imbalance have a collection of these problems,” says Dr. Gordon Hughes, NIH clinical trials director for hearing and balance. “They might have aging of the ear, aging of vision, cataracts, muscle weakness from losing some muscle mass or arthritis in the hips, plus other problems like diabetes.”
If you think you may have a balance disorder, talk with your health care provider. Your doctor can assess whether your symptoms might be caused by a serious disorder, such as a heart or blood condition. If an inner ear balance disorder is likely, you may be referred to a specialist such as an otolaryngologist, a doctor with expertise in the ear, nose and throat. You might receive a hearing test, a balance test and possibly an imaging study of the brain.
“The key for people looking for treatment is to go to the best team of clinical experts that they can gain access to,” says Dr. Sklare. “It’s very important to get that level of assessment.”
The full article can be found here.