Dizziness Denied

Unique treatment alleviates vertigo.

One morning this past December, Suzanne Keane woke up to an unusual, uncomfortable feeling as she arose from her bed. She felt intensely dizzy, and her room seemed to be spiraling around her. It was a bout of vertigo that continued to plague her in the ensuing days.

Suzanne Keane’s vertigo was treated by Kelly Hansen, AuD, at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center in New Port Richey.

Suzanne Keane

“The entire room was spinning,” the 78-year-old Westchester County, New York native describes. “When I looked up, the whole ceiling was spinning as well. It was a horrible sensation that made me nauseous, and I wanted to throw up. I felt I was losing my balance. Thank God I was close to the bed.

“Later, when I bent down to clean out the litter basket, the room started spinning again. Whenever I put my head down to pick up something, I got lightheaded and the room would spin. It happened when I was getting up out of bed and when I was lying down. The whole room would spin on me. I wouldn’t call vertigo a physical pain, but on a discomfort level from one to ten, it was a fifteen.”

At first, Suzanne did nothing about her condition, but it got progressively worse, to the point where Suzanne was regularly waking up with a dizzy, nauseous feeling. Her daughter finally said, Enough is enough. You’re going to see someone about this. A friend recommended Trinity Hearing & Balance Center in New Port Richey.

It was at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center that Suzanne met Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD. Dr. Goldowski-Richa put Suzanne through an hour and a half of extensive testing and determined that loose crystals in her right ear were causing her vertigo.

“In the past, I had heard doctors and nurses say there was no cure for vertigo, and that there was no such thing as crystals in your ears that are in the wrong place as a cause of vertigo,” Suzanne shares. “But in doing these tests, Dr. Goldowski-Richa determined that was the cause of my vertigo and so she made an appointment for me to come back. 

“When I went back, Dr. Goldowski-Richa put me in a special chair they have in their office that’s one of thirteen in the entire United States. This chair is called the Epley Omniax System. They fastened me in and put me in different positions. Somehow, my eyes were hooked up to a computer they read while they tilted me, which put the crystals back in their proper place.”

Dr. Goldowski-Richa provided Suzanne with step-by-step directions of the therapy protocol. She made Suzanne feel at ease.

“While I was in the chair, Dr. Goldowski-Richa explained everything she was doing,” Suzanne confirms. “She said, I’m going to move the chair in different directions such as to the right and to the left. She let me know every move she was going to make and how I might feel when she did it.

“I’m very proactive about my health, as is my daughter who was with me, and we asked a lot of questions during treatment. There was never any impatience with us. Dr. Goldowski-Richa answered all our questions thoroughly with patience, empathy and understanding.”

Repositioning Particles

Dr. Goldowski-Richa tested Suzanne using state-of-the-art equipment and, based on the results and Suzanne’s symptoms, diagnosed her with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is the most common cause of episodic vertigo. The condition is caused by small crystals of calcium carbonate that get into the inner ear balance mechanisms. When these particles become loose in the ear canals, causing symptoms, they must be repositioned.

“I use an advanced, software-driven machine, the Epley Omniax System, to diagnose and treat dizziness and balance disorders such as BPPV,”
Dr. Goldowski-Richa informs. “This system allows me to pinpoint the location of the particles and develop a detailed plan for repositioning them. Trinity Hearing and Balance Center is one of very few centers in the country to have this system.”

The Epley Omniax System includes the chair Suzanne described, which rotates to put patients in nearly any position. The doctor then monitors the patient’s eye movements for signs of dizziness. This enables the doctor to determine which positions lead to symptoms and, in the case of BPPV, which ear is affected.

“The chair is computer controlled, so it can put patients in the very precise positions necessary to move the crystals that are loose in the ear canals back where they belong,” Dr. Goldowski-Richa educates. “This approach is also less physically demanding than previous treatment methods.

“The chair allows us to easily put patients in these precise positions without placing strain on their necks or backs. It is also much more comfortable for the patients than being moved around a table, which is the way we used to reposition the crystals.”

Highly Credentialed

Trinity Hearing & Balance Center’s philosophy and dedication to patient care are what set it apart from other hearing centers.

“Trinity Hearing and Balance Center is proud to be an AudigyCertified™ practice,” Kelly Hansen, AuD, states. “We are one of only two hundred and fifty clinics in the nation to hold this certification.

“AudigyCertified professionals are among the country’s most experienced hearing care professionals, its members possessing some of the industry’s highest credentials. Our expertise is measured by our commitment to patient satisfaction, continuing education and the expert application of current technologies.

“We work side by side with our patients to help find a solution to their hearing problems,” Dr. Hansen adds. “Many patients who have gone through our Patient for Life® program experience greater satisfaction with their hearing technology and a greater quality of life.”

“Like a Miracle”

Treatment using the Epley Omniax System at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center was very successful for Suzanne. She experienced positive results right away, which continued to improve and lasted over time.

“When Dr. Goldowski-Richa tilted me in the chair, my eyes moved rapidly as the crystals in my ear went back where they belonged,” Suzanne relates. “When my eyes stopped moving,
Dr. Goldowski-Richa knew she succeeded with the repositioning, and I experienced relief immediately.

“When I came out of Trinity Hearing and Balance Center after the treatment, I didn’t have vertigo anymore. It was unbelievable, like a miracle. I felt better that day and even better the next day.

“Dr. Goldowski-Richa told me not to sleep on the side that was affected, my right side, for three days afterward, but that was it. She said if the vertigo came back, which she said was a possibility, I should just return to the office and she would treat me again.

“Now, I feel fantastic. I have no problems with vertigo at all.
Dr. Goldowski-Richa and the staff at Trinity Hearing and Balance Center are just wonderful. I never felt rushed and I always felt I was getting the most phenomenal care. I highly recommend them.”

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    • Trinity Hearing & Balance Center

      Trinity Hearing & Balance Center utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of many different types of dizziness and balance disorders. You no longer have to "learn to live" with it. The great news is that diz... Read More

    • Kelly Hansen

      Dr. Kelly Hansen obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and her Doctorate of Audiology degree from Arizona School of Health Sciences in Mesa, Arizona.  Throughout her career, Dr. Hans... Read More

    • Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD

      Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and hearing in 2011 from Cleveland State University and her Doctorate of Audiology degree from the University of Louisville in 2015. She recently completed her clinica... Read More