Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing and Balance Disorders

What are some indications that I may have a hearing problem?
Hearing problems often develop gradually. Clues that there might be a problem include difficulty with conversation, asking people to repeat themselves, trouble hearing in restaurants or where there is background noise, turning the TV up too loud.

I have ringing in my ears. Can anything be done about it?
Tinnitus is the medical name for ringing or head noise. The cause is usually a problem in the inner ear, although sometimes a tumor or stray blood vessel is responsible. Patients should have an ear exam and audiogram. Special tests will be obtained when necessary. With proper diagnosis, an effective treatment can often be found. While some forms of tinnitus cannot be eliminated, most cases can be improved with medical treatment, sound therapy, or cognitive therapy.

Isn’t my mother too old for a cochlear implant?
It is now well proven that hearing loss in the elderly leads to social isolation, cognitive and memory impairment, and even dementia (senility). Cochlear implants are very effective when hearing aids no longer work. The operation for cochlear implant takes less than 3 hours and patients can go home the same day. At Mount Sinai, we have implanted many elderly patients successfully, and their lives are usually transformed.

I have an ear infection that won’t go away. What can be done?
The chronic draining ear is a challenging problem that can have several causes. Sometimes the problem is a resistant bacteria; other times there is a cholesteatoma that has escaped detection. The diagnosis may require careful examination of the ear under the microscope, imaging studies, or cultures. In most cases making the correct diagnosis will lead to successful treatment.

How do you get rid of crystals in the ear?
“Ear Crystals” refers to the calcium particles that cause benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). This is a disturbing condition that causes spinning vertigo when rolling in bed or reaching for the top shelf. The condition can be treated effectively in the office.

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Ear, Nose and Throat-Head and Neck Surgery
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New York, NY 10029

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