Her World Stopped Spinning

Computer-controlled system dispatches cause of vertigo.

Celia Dettmer always wanted to be a nurse – just like her mom.

“I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was 4 years old,” Celia acknowledges. “My mother was a nurse, and when I played with my dolls, I never played school. My dolls were always sick, and I was always taking care of them. I never considered any other career but nursing.”

Celia’s career as a nurse spanned 50 years. During that time, she worked as a psychiatric nurse, intensive care nurse and surgical nurse. The last 25 years, however, were devoted to serving as the school nurse for a Brooklyn grammar school.

“I loved being a school nurse,” Celia shares. “I loved being around kids. That was my favorite type of nursing.”

Celia retired in 2011. Seven years later, she relocated to Florida, where she lives with her daughter and son-in-law. Having her daughter close at hand was especially beneficial this past year, when Celia began to experience episodes of vertigo, or dizzy spells.

“It only happens in the morning,” Celia discloses. “I wake up and try to sit up, but the room spins and I start to throw up. It’s so bad sometimes that it can take days before I’m able to get out of bed. My vertigo was so severe that I’ve even had to go to the hospital for it.”

Fortunately, Celia recently learned of an innovative treatment for vertigo offered at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center, where Kelly Hansen, AuD, and Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD, treat all types of hearing loss, balance disorders and hearing-related conditions.

In treating Celia, Dr. Hansen and Dr. Goldowski-Richa displayed their commitment to providing exceptional patient care by using an advanced, software-driven machine called the Epley Omniax System to learn the cause of her dizzy spells.

“Our testing confirmed that Celia suffers with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, which is the most common cause of episodic vertigo,” Dr. Hansen reports. “BPPV is caused by small crystals of calcium carbonate, called otoconia, that get into the inner ear’s balance mechanisms. When those particles become loose in the semicircular canals, a sensation of movement and dizziness is triggered.”

Pinpointing Particles

To relieve the symptoms caused by BPPV, the crystals must be repositioned, Dr. Hansen notes. The Epley Omniax System allows for that by pinpointing the location of the particles and developing a detailed plan to reposition them.

Trinity Hearing & Balance Center is one of the few centers in the country that has the Epley Omniax System, which includes a rotating patient chair that plays a prominent role in repositioning the otoconia.

“The chair allows us to put the patients in nearly any position,” Dr. Hansen explains. “While doing that, we monitor the patient’s eye movements for signs of dizziness. This enables us 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 into the ear canals back where they belong. The chair also allows us to easily put patients in those precise positions without placing strain on their necks or backs. It’s much more comfortable for the patients than being moved around a table, which is how we used to reposition the crystals.”

“The machine isn’t scary at all,” Celia assures. “During treatment, the crystals slid back to where they’re supposed to be in my ear. After that, I was perfectly fine and walked out of the office as if nothing had ever happened.”

“Just What I Asked For”

Celia was so impressed with Dr. Hansen’s work and so pleased with the care she received for her BPPV that she returned to Trinity Hearing & Balance Center when another condition began to interfere with her life.

“I was having trouble hearing, so I went to see Dr. Hansen for a hearing test,” Celia relates. “Through that test she discovered I needed hearing aids. I told her I wanted something simple, and she gave me just what I asked for.”

“Celia suffered with a sensorineural hearing loss, which is related to nerve damage, and she had difficulty hearing in group situations,” Dr. Hansen details. “She wanted something she didn’t have to adjust, something she could just put in her ears and forget about. So, we fit her with uncomplicated rechargeable hearing aids.”

“Dr. Hansen listened to me, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find doctors who listen,” Celia contends. “With many doctors, you walk in and after five minutes they’re already writing you a prescription.
Dr. Hansen sat there and listened. It was marvelous.”

The hearing aids Dr. Hansen recommended make a tremendous difference for Celia.

“I have two cats, and we have a little water fountain for them that runs continuously,” Celia describes. “With my hearing aids in, I can hear the water falling down the fountain very clearly. Without them, the sound is completely gone.
Celia could not be more delighted with the overall care she received.

“Dr. Hansen is marvelous. She’s really knows what she’s doing. I’m really glad I got my hearing aids from her,” Celia raves. “Right now, I don’t have vertigo, and I’m very happy about that. But if it comes back, I know that Trinity Hearing & Balance Center is there to put it right.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. mkb
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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