Michele Bruno, Au.D. and Dr. Daniel Morrison
The Bacharach Hearing and Balance Center in Galloway and the Bacharach Hearing Center in Somers Point offer a wide range of services for individuals with hearing and balance issues.
A new model of care for balance disorders, the Triage Model, was discussed recently at a seminar presented by Daniel Morrison Jr., M.D., M.S., FACS Board-Certified Otolaryngologist at the AtlantiCare Physician Group. The Triage Model provides a streamlined identification, diagnosis and treatment process for patients with balance disorders.
Janet Revelle, Au.D., director of audiology for Bacharach Hearing Center explains, “When a patient visits their primary care physician and complains of dizziness and vertigo it is important to have these symptoms evaluated by an audiologist as soon as possible. A compromised balance system interferes with spatial awareness which is needed to walk safely. As falls in older adults are the leading cause of injury for those 65 and older, ignoring the early signs of hearing loss increases the chance of being admitted for injuries later. Even a mild hearing loss can triple the risk of accidental falls.”
Many times patients that are seen for vestibular problems have balance issues such as dizziness that are not thoroughly addressed. Many of these complaints involve inner ear conditions such as benign paroxysmal positioning vertigo (BPPV) which is easily identifiable and treatable with physical therapy. Since the inner ear houses both the hearing and equilibrium systems, they share the same organs, fluids and nerve tracts. An audiologist can perform two critical tests, a comprehensive audiological evaluation and a videonystagmography (VNG) to evaluate both systems. Once the audiologist determines where the problem is coming from the patient can be referred directly to an otologist, a neurologist or a physical therapist as appropriate.
For those with BPPV, a physical therapist trained in vestibular therapy may use a procedure called canalith repositioning. During this procedure, small particles or crystals that have been misplaced in the inner ear and cause dizziness and vertigo, are moved to another part of the ear that does not result in these symptoms. Issues may also be addressed through exercises that focus on normalizing the vestibular system.
Mary Johnson, PT, DPT, associate director of outpatient physical therapy at Bacharach said, “Vestibular dysfunction is associated with BPPV, head injury, aging and viral infection. Our job is to differentiate the specific vestibular dysfunction and to design customized exercises that focus on normalizing the vestibular system.”
It is important that those with hearing issues ask their doctor to refer them to an audiologist or hearing and balance center to quickly identify if they have an inner ear problem. When it comes to adult services, Bacharach’s audiologists primarily evaluate hearing and balance issues. Most problems can be effectively diagnosed and addressed, allowing patients to get back to their daily lives.
Dr. Revelle said, “We are very fortunate to be part of a non-profit, rehabilitation hospital. We are a medically based facility staffed by doctors of audiology who are licensed in the state of New Jersey for diagnostic services and hearing instrument fittings for patients, from newborns through adults.”
To learn more about Bacharach’s Hearing and Balance Center in Galloway call 609-748-5370 or Bacharach’s Hearing Center in Somers Point call 609-601-8590. Visit www.bacharach.org for details or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Bacharach Hearing Center specializes in the following areas:
• Complete evaluation services
• Auditory brainstem evoked response testing
• Otoacoustic emissions testing (OAE)
• Custom hearing aids
• State-of-the-art digital technology
• Assistive listening devices
• Central auditory processing evaluations
• Computerized balance testing
• Education and support groups
• Videonystagmography (VNG)