Spin around a few times and then try walking in a straight line. How do you feel? Off balance? Dizzy? Nauseous? Like you’re about to fall? Now imagine feeling like this several times a day or more. That’s what life is like for 70% of people aged over 65. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This Senior Citizen Day at Scottsdale Ear, Nose and Throat, we don’t just want to celebrate our senior citizens, we want to make their lives a little better. When it comes to age-related dizziness and imbalance there is help at hand.


What causes dizziness as we get older?

There are lots of reasons, but one of the most common is a condition called BPPV. It all comes down to what’s going on in our inner ears.

The inner ear is a complex labyrinth that contains special crystals made of calcium. These crystals are meant to stay put, but as we age they can get dislodged and end up in another part of the inner ear responsible for our ability to balance, the semi-circular canals. When this happens, getting up, looking up or down, turning your head, or even rolling over in bed can cause a sudden bout of dizziness. Falls and injuries become almost inevitable when dizziness gets this bad.

That’s why it’s so important to get older loved ones who are dealing with dizziness the help they need.


What you can do to help

Be vigilant. When you notice your loved one is having a dizzy spell, be there with a steady hand. Help them get to somewhere they can sit or lie down and make sure they have everything they need within easy reach, as they may need some time to rest and recover.

Make sure that your loved one’s home is ‘fall-proof’. For example, install grab bars in the bathroom and in the corridors, get rid of slippery floor mats and make sure the bannisters are secure.

Most importantly, make sure your loved one gets the professional medical help they need: that’s where we come in.


What we can do to help

The first thing we’ll do is carry out a thorough hearing and balance health check using state-of-the-art equipment; we’re one of only four clinics in Arizona to offer computerized rotational chair testing. Once the results are in we’ll get to work on a treatment plan, whether its medication, exercises or a combination of both.


Don’t let dizziness be the first step in a downwards spiral of falls and ill health for your senior relative. Be the one to help them get their life back on track. Get in touch with Scottsdale Ear, Nose and Throat.

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Dr. Kurt E. Heiland, MD

Dr. Heiland specializes in treating ear, nose, and throat issues with comprehensive pediatric and adult medical and surgical procedures, including head and neck surgery. Dr. Heiland is also qualified to treat balance problems and is a member of VEDA (Vestibular Disorders Association).
    You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

    Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

    It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

    Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

    This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

    As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

    However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

    By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

    When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

    The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

    “I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

    Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

    “I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

    Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

    “You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

    What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

    “My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

    Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.