By Jami Shelton
If your hearing isn’t as good as it once was, you may be thinking of getting a hearing aid. But with all the different choices of assistive listening devices on the market today, where do you go to find out what’s right for you?
To the ear experts at Benke Ear, Nose & Throat. But now you can go there to find out the cause of your dizziness and balance problems, too, because Dr. Ted Benke has announced the opening of the new Hearing & Balance Center at Benke Ear, Nose & Throat, a 900 square foot expansion to their offices where they will focus on improving patients’ hearing and diagnose problems with balance.
Benke said the new hearing consultation suite has allowed more room for an audiologist to work and has also provided patients with a more relaxing place to wait while their assistive listening devices are being fitted.
He said the audiologist can now sit across the desk from a patient and educate them on hearing loss and prevention as well as dispense, program the software and fit the hearing aid.
In addition to the new hearing consultation suite, Benke said they have also added a room where they can diagnose the cause of balance or dizziness problems.
“We used to have to send patients with dizziness or vertigo to Dallas, Arlington or Fort Worth,” he said. “Now we can provide this valuable testing right here.”
Benke said they’re calling the room the VNG room, which stands for video nystagnography.
“It’s a room where we test the patient’s vestibule ocular reflex,” Benke said. “We use VNG testing to determine if a vestibular [inner ear] disease may be causing a balance or dizziness problem by placing infrared goggles on the patient and stimulating the patient’s ear with water or air of different temperatures to determine how well the eyes respond to information from the vestibular system.”
He said many patients come in saying they have vertigo or dizziness, but he pointed out those are symptoms, not a disease.
“What we have to determine is why they have it,” he said. “We start with an audiogram, which is a hearing test, then we do a VNG with 4-5 test variations, and from those, we make the determination whether the dizziness is coming from an inner ear or a central nervous system abnormality.”
Benke said in most cases, the cause is a relatively common disorder called BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo—a sensation of unsteadiness or that the surroundings are moving. It can occur when the patient moves his head in a certain direction, lies down from an upright position, turns over in bed or sits up in the morning.
It can also occur when the patient moves his head to look up.
“Although BPPV can be frustrating for patients, it is rarely serious and can often be treated during an office visit,” Benke said. “And, for most patients, one treatment session is curative.
So if you’re one of the 22 million Americans who suffers from hearing loss or if you’re experiencing dizziness or balance problems, call 817-641-3750 for an appointment at the new Hearing & Balance Center at Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic.