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Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Explained

Sounds and dizziness

We’ve all heard of and probably know someone who gets motion sickness easily if it’s not ourselves who deal with this problem already. Motion sickness is that familiar feeling of dizziness or nausea when our brains receive confusing signals about the world around us when we are in the car, on a boat, or enjoying (or not) an amusement park ride. But did you know that some people also deal with dizziness caused by certain frequencies of sound, such as a piano, another musical instrument, or a simple conversation?
These people are more likely to be living with a genetically caused thinness or hole in the bone encasing the inner ear. This deficiency in the bone causes fluid within the inner ear to move incorrectly when certain sounds are heard. This condition is called semicircular canal dehiscence.  In fact, researchers believe this condition affects one in every 100 people across the world. The feeling perceived when these anomalies occur described as being similar to the feeling you have when drunk.
The Cause
So what exactly causes the feeling of dizziness or vertigo? A study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah discovered eye-movements that are triggered to counteract the normal movement of the head perceived by inner ear fluid movement, are incorrectly triggered by the movement of inner ear fluid caused by the changed perception of sound in people with the hole in the bone casing of the inner ear.
In other words, our eyes move to counteract the movement of the head. Everytime our heads move, our eyes move to stabilize the picture and keep us from feeling dizzy or nauseous. When do our eyes know to move? They depend on messages from the brain that has been received from the inner ear.
The fluid of the inner ear moves when the head moves. This movement results in a signal sent to the processing centers of the brain, telling the brain the head is moving. Consequently, the eyes are told to countermove to avoid feelings of dizziness. If the brain is getting false reads from the inner ear fluid, it will send false movement commands to the eyes, causing a countermovement to a head movement that never happened and thus a perception of spinning. This unnecessary movement of the eyes results in dizziness, vertigo, or nausea.
The Difficulty of Semicircular Canal Dehiscence
For people who have semicircular canal dehiscence, the feeling of dizziness can occur within seconds after hearing a trigger sound. Now that researchers understand the connection between the pathological holes in the bone housing and the nature of the condition that results from it, care providers can be better equipped to address and treat the condition.
Surgery to repair the dehiscence is one viable option that remedies the condition with a high degree of confidence. Other treatment options and coping techniques are also available. For more information about semicircular canal dehiscence, please call our office today to speak with a hearing health professional.

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Could Your Hearing Aids Keep You Out Of The Emergency Room?

Emergency department building sign closeup, with sky reflecting in the glass.

While millions of Americans have been diagnosed with or report hearing loss, only a fraction of those chooses to treat that hearing impairment with hearing aids. That is despite the growing list of benefits now associated with using hearing aids that now includes a possible connection with emergency room visits.
Could you avoid a costly visit to the emergency room by wearing hearing aids? According to insights from a recent study, the answer is yes, and it’s just one of those many reasons to wear hearing aids.
While most people choose to have a hearing evaluation and purchase hearing aids due to hearing loss, a growing body of research points to the effectiveness of hearing aids in preventing many secondary concerns including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Increased risk of falls
  • The negative impact to income
  • Reduced social interaction

The initial cost of hearing aids may cause people to question their need to hear better, but the value of hearing aids beyond their primary use is hard to argue. The latest research findings further underscore what a smart investment hearing aids can be for overall health, wellness and possibly your budget’s bottom line.
Hearing Aids Could Help You Avoid The Emergency Room
A recent study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, outlined the findings of researchers who studied data of over 1,300 adults aged 65 to 85 with severe hearing loss. The conclusions hinted at possible connections between the use of hearing aids and emergency room visits. The highlights of those findings include:

  • Only 45 percent of the 1,300 adults used a hearing aid.
  • Those who did use a hearing aid were less likely to have gone to an emergency room or spent time in the hospital within the past year.
  • Among seniors who had been hospitalized, those with hearing aids spent an average of half a day less in the hospital than those without hearing aids.
  • Those with hearing aids were more likely to have gone to a doctor’s office in the past year than those without hearing aids, potentially reducing the risk of a costly emergency room visit.

While researchers are quick to point out that findings like these don’t prove cause and effect, the potential connections are hard to ignore.
The Importance Of Hearing Aids For Seniors
Over 37 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss, and many of those are seniors who choose to go untreated. It may be for financial reasons, a reluctance to receive treatment, fear of doctors or something else, but there is no denying that untreated hearing loss is about so much more than just staying in the conversation. It is proving so crucial that policymakers are now trying to make it easier than ever to get hearing aids by pushing for increased insurance coverage and treatment alternatives.
Research findings like these that dig into the connections between hearing loss and quality of life continue to highlight just how valuable an investment hearing aids can be – potentially even saving people time, money and their overall health in the long run.