Treatments for vertigo
Julie: What are some of the treatments for vertigo?
Dr. Shaia: Well, once we have diagnosed the cause of vertigo, then we can start treating it. So, for someone with Ménière’s disease, which is a type of vertigo where you have low frequency hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and dizzy spells that last several hours, we start with the medical management. We might start off with a mild fluid pill and a low salt diet and if that does not take care of the vertigo then we move into other surgical options for it.
Julie: You mentioned hearing loss. What are some of the things you do to treat hearing loss?
Dr. Shaia: Well, first when someone comes to us for hearing loss, we have to diagnose whether it is nerve damage, or whether or not they have a surgical correctible form of hearing loss. Oftentimes the bones that convey the hearing in the middle ear become fixed, and a simple operation can remove those bones, put in a prosthetic ear bone, and the hearing can come back to a near normal level. Most people, though, do have nerve damage, and the technology of hearing aids has become so advanced now, there are several different options that can help them with their hearing loss.
Julie: That has got to be gratifying for you when you restore that hearing to someone. I can only imagine what that is like, when somebody gets that back.
Dr. Shaia: Correct. Hearing restoration is the goal, and with the new technology we have moved into other forms of hearing loss—uh, excuse me.
Julie: That’s all right.
Dr. Shaia: Hearing restoration is the goal, and it used to be that when people or children were born deaf, that they didn’t really have any other options other than the traditional sign language schools, and alternate forms of education. Fortunately now if the child is born deaf and we recognize it early we can implant something called the cochlear implant into their inner ear, and they can go to mainstream kindergarten with your child and my child, so we have really come a long way in the last 20 or 30 years with hearing loss.
Julie: Any other things or advancements in technology that have changed the way you take care of your patients?
Dr. Shaia: Absolutely. Also, when patients lose hearing in one ear, which does happen to folks, they suddenly lose hearing in an ear due to a viral infection, we can also implant or surgically implant something called a bone-anchored hearing aid device, there are several on the market, and with this device they are able to at least get some input from their deaf side, which allows them to localize sound better, as well as hear their environment a little bit more normally, and it has really made a big change in a lot of peoples’ lives.