June is national migraine and headache awareness month. The World Health Organization classifies migraine attacks as a significant disabling condition, comparable to depression or dementia. Migraine is typically described as head pain with throbbing or pounding, light and sound sensitivity, and nausea/vomiting. Headaches may sometimes be accompanied with a visual aura, or an electrical or chemical wave that moves through the visual cortex. Often people describe this as bright lights or flashes and sometimes with geometric patterns. Migraines can even cause dizziness and vestibular dysfunction. Approximately 40% of migraine patients have some accompanying syndrome involving balance issues and/or dizziness.
Common symptoms of a vestibular migraine include light and sound sensitivity, spontaneous vertigo attacks, motion intolerance, tinnitus, balance loss, neck pain, visual disorientation, and anxiety/panic. A vestibular migraine can often be caused by similar things that can cause a traditional migraine which include weather changes/ barometric-pressure variations, hormonal fluctuations, stress, lack of sleep, and diet.
The rise of imaging studies has provided us with more information on the mechanism of migraines; however, their exact cause is still not completely understood. Migraines are caused by a combination of vascular and neural processes. Migraines begin with the spontaneous spreading of an electrical charge across the cortex. This causes activation of pain receptors located in the brainstem. The release of these receptors then causes the dilation of blood vessels near the scalp. Treatment of vestibular migraines includes a combination of medications, vestibular rehabilitation, and lifestyle modification that include limitations of the risk factors associated with migraine.
If you or someone you know has migraine associated vertigo, call or schedule an appointment today to discuss your options. A list of events can be found here for recognition of Migraine & Headache Awareness Month.
An audiologist is a doctor who can help diagnose ear-related problems and treat them to optimize your hearing. Read on to learn what an audiologist at Hearing & Balance Center of Austin, LLC in Austin, TX, can do for you.
What Is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a specialist who can help you identify potential hearing problems, diagnose them officially, treat them, and monitor your progress over time. This medical professional is not only concerned with maximizing your hearing ability, but also with evaluating your sense of balance, an element that is often related to ear health.
How Can an Audiologist Help?
Many people don’t want to admit that they are experiencing a form of hearing loss. Fortunately, an audiologist can help put your mind at ease and talk to you about the solutions that can improve your quality of life. The team at Hearing & Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX, also specializes in treating young children (including newborns) who have auditory processing disorders, auditory neuropathy spectrum disorders, and problems with balance.
Protecting and Preserving Your Sense of Hearing and Balance
When you visit Hearing & Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX, you will receive tips for how to keep your ears healthy and in good condition in the long-term. Here are a few things that you are likely to hear:
- Keep all objects out of your ear, including cotton swabs.
- Play audio at low volumes, especially when wearing headphones or earphones.
- When swimming, consider wearing ear plugs to prevent water from entering the inner ear.
- Eat foods that are rich in potassium, up to the daily recommended intake suggested by your doctor.
Your Hearing Matters
If you are concerned about you or your child's ability to hear, it’s important to have an audiologist available for checkups and treatments. Call the Hearing & Balance Center of Austin in Austin, TX, at 512-258-2300 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paige Peterson, Dr. Taryn Shelton, or Dr. Collette Rhoden.
A hearing aid may make it easier to be able to hear those around you again.
The World Health Organization estimates that by 2050 more than 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss. And a 2018 study of children between the ages of nine to 11 found that 14 percent already had signs of hearing loss. While results are inconclusive, early hearing loss could be linked to the growing popularity in portable music players. So, how do you know when your hearing is in jeopardy and warrants a trip to see our Austin, TX, audiologists Dr. Paige Peterson and Dr. Taryn Shelton to learn about hearing loss and hearing aids?
Here are some common warning signs of hearing loss:
- Feeling as if people are often mumbling around you
- Asking people to repeat themselves often
- Having to turn the TV or radio up in order to hear it
- People complaining that your headphones are too loud
- Not hearing your phone ring
- Having trouble understanding people on the phone
- Needing to look at lips to understand what people are saying
- Difficulty understanding people in loud, noisy environments
- Feeling left out of conversations or having trouble following what people are saying
- Avoiding social occasions and events
While children will continue to get regular hearing screenings every year from around age 4 to 10, it’s important that if you are concerned about changes in your child’s hearing that you schedule an evaluation.
If you are an adult who is dealing with some of the issues above then it’s time to schedule a hearing screening in Austin, TX, with one of our audiologists. The sooner you are treated for hearing loss the better.
If I have hearing loss will I need a hearing aid?
One of the most common ways to treat hearing loss is by wearing a hearing aid. This is usually recommended in patients who are dealing with varying degrees of hearing loss, from mild to profound. An audiologist will be able to tell you whether you could benefit from wearing a hearing aid, whether you may need hearing aids for both ears and which kind of hearing aid is right for you.
A hearing aid may not be able to restore your hearing but it will be able to make it easier to hear those around you to greatly improve your social and personal life.
If you or a loved one is suffering from some degree of hearing loss it is important to undergo a hearing evaluation as soon as possible so that we can provide the proper treatment. Call Hearing & Balance Center of Austin to ask any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids today.
Are you feeling dizziness? Find out what might be going on.
While all of us may experience bouts of dizziness every once in a while, this issue can be unnerving if it happens regularly. From pregnancy to low blood pressure, there are many conditions and health problems that can cause dizziness or vertigo. From the office of our Austin, TX, audiologists Dr. Paige Peterson Dr. Taryn Shelton and vestibular physical therapist Dr. Collette Rhoden, find out more about why you’re feeling dizzy.
Is there a difference between dizziness and vertigo?
While some people may consider these two one in the same thing, it’s important to note that there is a slight difference between these two symptoms. If you find yourself feeling a little lightheaded or woozy then you are dealing with dizziness; however, if it feels like the room is spinning then you have vertigo.
What causes vertigo and dizziness?
Changes in the vestibular system, the part of the ear that is responsible for balance, can cause the spinning sensation characterized by vertigo. Common causes of vertigo and dizziness include:
- Inner ear infections
- Inflammation of the inner ear
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (a disease of the ear)
- Meniere’s disease
- Vestibular neuritis
However, dizziness can result from:
- Standing up too fast
- Fasting or not eating enough
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Certain medications
- Low iron levels (anemia)
- Heart disorders
- Panic disorders
When should I visit an ENT specialist in Austin?
If you’ve visited a physician to talk about your dizziness or vertigo then chances are you were referred to an audiologist or ear, nose and throat specialist to get a more specialized and definitive diagnosis. An ENT specialist has received extensive training to be able to provide you with the proper care you need to treat the root cause of your vertigo or dizziness. If you need an ENT, Dr. Mark Brown is available for consultation: http://www.greathillsent.com/mark-t-brown-md-facs.html.
You should visit an ENT doctor if:
- Your primary physician has not been able to diagnose the problem
- Your dizziness is due to an ear infection or ear disorder
- Your dizziness is accompanied by ringing in the ear, fullness or pressure in the ears, or ear pain
Is vertigo affecting you? Finding it difficult to get your balance? If so, call the specialists at the Hearing & Balance Center of Austin today to schedule a consultation with us.
Telecoil vs. Bluetooth Hearing Aids. Which is Better?
It is true, as an audiologist, day in and day out I am asked about if a hearing aid has direct connectivity to a whole host of objects. Android, iPhone, computer, television, Alexa, Google Home… dare I say a toaster oven may be next? Yes, Bluetooth wireless technology is the new hotness. Couple that with a rechargeable cell and you have enabled someone to be almost worry free in the hearing aid realm. But the question remains, is this enough?
First of all, what does Bluetooth really do? Yes, it allows for wireless streaming from an enabled device into your aids (as long as the technology is compatible… Android users I am looking at you). Bluetooth is very good at allowing the hearing aid user to distinguish vocal sounds over the phone. It is an easy set up, and for someone in assisted living it can be a valuable tool for family members to be able to talk to their loved ones by utilizing the remote mic functionality on iPhone. But is it the cleanest signal for those with mild to severe and even profound loss. The answer is simply, no. That is where telecoil comes in.
What is Telecoil (T-Coil)?
A telecoil system, or “loop system” as it is called in the industry, is where a tiny coil of copper wire inside the hearing aid induces an electric current that when in range of a changing magnetic field (i.e. an environment that is “looped”) the signal from that system is delivered directly into your hearing aids. This is important to know if you visit churches, meetings, the symphony, museums, community centers, some school events, travel frequently or find that overall audio quality with Bluetooth is not enough. Most hearing aid manufacturers have hearing aid options with built in t-coils (they will have to be turned on by your audiologist) and remain discreet if that is your concern.
It is very important to communicate with your audiologist about what is important for you to be able to hear in your life. Believe it or not, they can’t read your mind. They also don’t follow you around on a daily basis, that would be creepy and you would have a restraining order. You would be surprised at what is looped and what is not.
How Do I Know if There is a Telecoil System?
Go to www.aldlocator.com , type in your zip code and a list of facilities in your area will be listed.
Anytime you see this image:
This indicates that a telecoil is present.
So should I get Telecoil and NOT Bluetooth?
No. I would highly recommend that you get a hearing aid with BOTH Bluetooth and Telecoil. I am a big fan of covering all of your bases. As a hearing aid user, I never know where I will be. I would rather be prepared than have to sit and smile because I have no idea about what is going on.
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