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Otolaryngology

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Hearing and Balance Center

You want to hear it all and not a miss a thing. A hearing problem can get in the way of so many parts of life. With technology advancing every day to improve hearing, there’s no reason not to be a part of all the fun.

At the USF Hearing and Balance Center, we help our patients live the best lives they can with advanced hearing and balance care.  Our team of skilled otolaryngologists and audiologists are specially trained to help you with all aspects of ear health and disease.  This includes a wide range of conditions such as hearing loss, ear infections, dizziness, balance problems, and congenital (birth) disorders of the ear.  Our team of health care providers, including specialists in family medicine, preventive medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, occupational medicine, sports medicine, pediatrics and other specialties.  As an academic medical center, USF Health is a regional leader in audiology services.  

Please read below to learn more about the portions of the ear involved with hearing and balance, as well as the many services offered at USF Health.   


Your ear consists of three major areas: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound waves pass through the outer ear and cause vibrations at the eardrum. The eardrum and three small bones of the middle ear amplify the vibrations as they travel to the inner ear. There, the vibrations pass through fluid in a snail-shaped structure in the inner ear (cochlea).  Attached to nerve cells in the cochlea are thousands of tiny hairs that help translate sound vibrations into electrical signals that are transmitted to your brain. Your brain turns these signals into sound.


Our Center offers hearing solutions that are more powerful, precise and user-friendly than ever before. We have expertise in providing state-of-the-art hearing aids to ensure that patients are receiving superior comfort and the most advanced technology. We work closely to diagnose your hearing loss and provide you with the best lifestyle solution. 

It all starts with a comprehensive hearing evaluation. Testing your hearing allows us to determine the level of your hearing loss and your ability to understand speech. Following the hearing test, we will meet with you and your family to discuss the solution that’s right for you. 

  • Comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations and hearing tests for adults and school-aged children
  • Otoscopy for detailed viewing of your ear canal
  • Air-conduction & Bone-conduction Audiometry
  • Speech Recognition Testing (both in quiet and in noise)
  • Tympanometry
  • Acoustic Reflex Testing (ipsilateral & contralateral)
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)
  • Evoked potentials including Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) &  Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR)
  • Monitoring of Hearing during Radiation & Chemotherapy
  • Tinnitus assessments 
Communication is critical in life. Your job and social interactions are all more rewarding when you can communicate confidently – and hearing is vital to that. Research shows that people who get hearing devices benefit from:
  • Fewer instances of confusion and disorientation
  • Increased ability to concentrate and multitask
  • Better memory skills and a greater ability to learn new tasks
  • Alertness and awareness of their personal safety
  • Increased earning power and more control over their lives

At the USF Hearing and Balance Center we offer:
  • Full line of hearing aids, specializing in digital hearing aid technology
  • Computerized hearing aid analysis (Real-Ear Probe Microphone Measurement)
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Follow-up fine-tuning visit to ensure maximum benefits
  • Digital Hearing Aids, Wireless Hearing Aids, Invisible Hearing Aids, and Custom Hearing Aids
  • Direct to iPhone hearing aids
Balance problems can make you feel dizzy, as if the room is spinning, unsteady, or lightheaded. You might feel that you're going to fall down. These feelings can happen whether you're lying down, sitting or standing.
Many body systems — including your muscles, bones, joints, vision, the balance organ in the inner ear, nerves, heart and blood vessels — must work normally for you to have normal balance. When these systems aren't functioning well, you can experience balance problems.

Many medical conditions can cause balance problems. However, most balance problems result from issues in the balance portion of your inner ear also known as the vestibular system.  Signs and symptoms of balance problems include:

  • Sense of motion or spinning (vertigo)
  • Feeling of faintness or lightheadedness (presyncope)
  • Loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • Feeling a floating sensation or dizziness
  • Vision changes, such as blurriness
  • Confusion
  • Comprehensive diagnostic assessment and testing
  • Videonystagmography (VNG) testing
  • Rotary Chair assessment Dix-Hallpike Maneuver
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) 
  • Vertigo assessment and treatment
  • Balance rehabilitation and/or referral to specialists such as physical therapists 
Osseointegrated implant devices (OID), also known as bone anchored hearing systems, are hearing solutions for patients with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single-sided deafness. For these patients, improving hearing is obtained by getting the sound to the cochlea as these devices make use of the individual’s existing inner ear hearing abilities.  The bone anchored system stimulates the cochlea through vibration via bone conduction.


Evaluation and Implant Process


Evaluation starts with a comprehensive audiological assessment where we will determine the degree and type of hearing loss, which determines the appropriate treatment. If the patient has hearing loss, a bone anchored hearing system will be considered. 

Our USF Health neurotologists and otologists have specialized training with osseointegrated implantable devices.  As a team, our otologists and audiologists provide pre-operation and post-operation testing, programming of the device, orientation to using the device, counseling regarding expectations, and maximizing hearing outcomes.

Health Care News

9/10/2019
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