Spotlight: Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

What is sudden sensorineural hearing loss?
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is a term used to describe hearing loss that develops over a very short period of time. Sensorineural hearing loss generally implies damage to the structures of the inner ear or hearing nerve. While there are many possible causes of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, in most cases, the cause is unknown.

What are the symptoms of sudden sensorineural hearing loss?
In addition to a sudden drop in hearing (which can occur in a brief instant or over a period of hours), patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss may experience ringing or noise within the ear and some sense of dizziness or imbalance. The presence of any additional neurologic symptoms (such as slurring of speech, confusion, or weakness of the face, arms or legs), although rare, would suggest that a brain stroke might be occurring and would require immediate evaluation at a hospital.

How is sudden sensorineural hearing loss evaluated?
Patients who experience a sudden drop in hearing should be seen immediately, preferably by an ENT physician or Neurotologist, and a complete hearing test should be performed to determine the extent of the hearing loss. Additional tests, including imaging studies such as an MRI, may be required. Oftentimes, patients attribute their ‘clogged ear’ to a cold or allergies. However, if there is any question of a sudden drop in hearing, it is better to have it checked as soon as possible.

What treatments are available?
Treatment is often available, usually in the form of steroid medications, and is much more effective if provided as close in time as possible to the sudden drop in hearing. In addition to oral medication, medication delivered directly into the middle ear (through the ear drum) may be helpful.

The information and reference materials included on this website are intended solely for the general information and education purposes of the reader. They are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or to diagnose health problems. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to discuss the information presented here.

I would highly recommend JHBI to anyone who is having a chronic balance or vertigo problem

Beth Kinney, 64, of Cocoa, Fla., woke up one morning in October 2003 to a spinning room. She had experienced slight vertigo before when she was younger, but never anything this bad. Each doctor she visited said he couldn’t help her.

Kinney was finally referred to Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute. It took almost three months of treatment, but she was eventually able to go back to work full time and regain most of her hearing.

“The P.A., Judy Nelson, was very comforting and gave me assurance,” Kinney said. “She worked with me for months to get me to be able to function normally.”

Kinney still experiences slight dizziness when she is stressed or lacking sleep, but nothing like before.

“I would highly recommend Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute to anyone who is having a chronic balance or vertigo problem” Kinney said. “When you run into something that is repetitive in its nature, over and over, I would just suggest that you get help and get it quickly.”

Restoring Hearing & Lives in Nigeria

Dr. Green returned to Nigeria in October 2011 to train surgeons, perform ear surgeries and follow up with some of his former patients. He and former missionary Dr. Joel Anthis, of Katy, TX, performed ear surgeries (primarily stapendectomies and tympanoplasties with or without mastoidectomies) in Jos, Nigeria. Dr. Anthis also performed a few non-ear surgeries including endoscopic sinus surgery, laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy and the removal of a foreign body in the lung. Dr. Green and Dr. Anthis performed approximately 13 procedures.

Dr. Green trains Nigerian physicians during surgery

Dr. Green also followed-up with Stephen Kutchin, a Nigerian math professor who lost his hearing in 2002 and had cochlear implant surgery in 2007, performed by Dr. Green in Jacksonville, Fla.

“Stephen is doing well with his cochlear implant and had a celebration for the four years that he’s had his implant,” Dr. Green said. “He invited 30 of his friends and family and described how the implant had changed his life.”

The most common problem the physicians saw was chronic ear infections. There were also several patients who were profoundly deaf from medication toxicities, genetics or meningitis. Both Dr. Green and Dr. Anthis gave lectures to the family practice residents at Bingham University Teaching Hospital and demonstrated various ear surgeries for the ear, nose and throat surgeons.

Inside a Nigerian operating room

“The experience of delivering care in a third world country is always a humbling one,” Dr. Green said. “I am always grateful to be living in the U.S.A. I could have been born in a hut in Nigeria, but by the grace of God I was born in the U.S.A. I really enjoy the people of Nigeria. They are incredibly hard-working, devoted and loving people who are grateful for what we do.”



Watch a slideshow from Dr. Green’s 2011 trip to Nigeria:

Nigeria 2011 from Grace Courter on Vimeo.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

An estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to Alzheimer’s Association, causing problems with behavior, memory and thinking for those afflicted with this condition. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Studies have shown that hearing impairment in older adults is correlated with the progression of dementia. During the month of November, the Better Hearing Institute along with hearing health professionals around the country is raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.

If you have questions about your own hearing or the hearing of a loved one, call our office today at 904-399-0350 or read about our hearing consultations. If you are a caregiver for someone living with the disease, read the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Caregiving Advice for some helpful advice.


Acoustic Neuroma Support Group

Family members, caregivers, friends and anyone else who is interested are invited to attend the Acoustic Neuroma Association’s local support group meeting to learn about the latest treatment options, meet other acoustic neuroma patients and find encouragement and support. The topic will be “Caring & Sharing.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1 p.m.

Mandarin United Methodist Church, Room 304
11270 San Jose Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32223
(Located 3/4 mile south of I-295 on San Jose Blvd.)

For More Information:
Joan Vanderbilt 904-287-8132 or
Johnny Diaz 904-738-5063 or

Association Between Alzheimer’s Disease & Hearing Health

According to the Better Hearing Institute, older adults with hearing loss also appear more likely to develop dementia. As hearing loss becomes more severe, their risk increases. Researchers who conducted a study published in the Archives of Neurology found that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s particularly increased with hearing loss.

“There is strong evidence that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults,” says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Better Hearing Institute’s Executive Director. “Unmanaged hearing loss can interrupt the cognitive processing of spoken language and sound, exhaust cognitive reserve, and lead to social isolation—regardless of other coexisting conditions. But when an individual has both Alzheimer’s and hearing loss, many of the symptoms of hearing loss can interact with those common to Alzheimer’s, making the disease more difficult than it might be if the hearing loss had been addressed.”

Research has also shown that using hearing aids in addition to other appropriate rehabilitation treatments can help reduce symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“A comprehensive hearing assessment should be part of any Alzheimer’s diagnosis and any hearing loss should be addressed,” says Kochkin. “Most hearing loss can be managed with hearing aids. By addressing hearing loss, we can help improve quality-of-life for people with Alzheimer’s so they can live as fully as possible. These individual’s—and their families and caregivers—face many challenges. Untreated hearing loss shouldn’t have to be one of them.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute to discuss your hearing health, please call 904-399-0350.

What to Expect From a New Hearing Aid

Audiologists from JHBI recommend thorough research, consistent practice and patience

For those with hearing loss, the proper use of a hearing aid can allow easier participation in the most basic daily activities. Hearing aids do not restore totally normal hearing, but with patience and practice they can make communication much easier for you as well as for your friends and family.

Learning to wear a hearing aid requires a period of adjustment. The length of adjustment depends on a number of factors, including how long a you have had hearing loss, how much loss has occurred, and how willing you are to make the necessary effort in order to succeed.

Here are a few things to remember about a new hearing aid:

  • It’s ok to ask people to repeat themselves.
  • There might be some slight tenderness in the ear and/or ear canal at first. This should go away, but if any soreness, redness or scabbing persists, report it to your doctor.
  • Speak normally. It does not sound different to other people, even though it sounds amplified in your head.
  • Wear the hearing aid as much as is comfortable. Gradually increase the wearing time, and by the end of two or three weeks, the hearing aid should be wearable for eight to ten hours per day.

Find a trustworthy, knowledgeable person to fit and maintain a hearing aid that is a good brand, price and fit. New technology allows the hearing aid to monitor the environment and automatically adjust according to your hearing loss and listening needs. At Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute, our audiologists will ensure that you receive quality care and treatment.

And the Winner of Our Hearing Aids Contest Is…

…Sara Clark! Congratulations on winning a set of premium hearing aids!

Scarlett fever damaged her hearing at two years of age. Even though Sara Clark, 46, has been wearing hearing aids for over 30 years, the brand quality has never been strong enough to compensate for her hearing loss. So when Clark heard about JHBI’s hearing aid contest on WOKV radio in June, she called in right away. And as winner of the contest, Clark received a set of premium hearing aids.

“I am very excited about the wireless technology with these,” she said. “I am a project manager in an environment that is varied in noise levels. Being able to hear important details about my projects is critical.”

Clark also received a free hearing aid consultation, which was offered to all contest participants.

“People need to hear to work and function in life,” she said. “It’s the little things one doesn’t hear that can become very big things.”

Spotlight: Otosclerosis

What is otosclerosis?
Otosclerosis is a bone disorder that affects the ear. It is the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in adults.

How does otosclerosis cause hearing loss?
Otosclerosis causes stiffening of the stirrup bone (stapes) so that it does not move properly. In some circumstances, otosclerosis may cause damage to the inner ear, leading to nerve-related hearing loss.

What are the symptoms of otosclerosis?
Hearing loss is the most common symptom associated with otosclerosis. Additionally, some patients may experience tinnitus (head noise or ringing in the ears) and rarely, dizziness.

What treatments are available for otosclerosis?
Depending upon the severity of symptoms and the precise nature of the hearing loss, patients with otosclerosis may elect observation (no treatment), use of a hearing aid, or a surgical procedure to improve the hearing (stapedectomy/stapedotomy).

What is involved in a stapedectomy/stapedomoty procedure?
This outpatient procedure involves lifting up the eardrum and removing a portion of the stirrup bone. A prosthetic ear bone is used to reconnect the hearing mechanism and bypass the area of fixation.

The information and reference materials included on this website are intended solely for the general information and education purposes of the reader. They are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or to diagnose health problems. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to discuss the information presented here.

JHBI Staff to Cycle St. Augustine

Staff from Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute will be participating in the Endless Summer Watermelon Ride in St. Augustine, Fla., on Sunday, September 11. Come out and support our staff riding the 34 mile ride at 8:30 a.m.!

The ride is sponsored by the North Florida Bicycle Club. Ride distances are 34, 70 and 105 miles, starting and ending at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village. The routes cover lightly traveled country roads along either the Atlantic Ocean or the St. Johns River. For directions or more information, or to register for the event, please visit NFBC.

Team JHBI at the 2011 Endless Summer Watermelon Ride!