Pearls Of Wisdom

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By Paige Peterson Aud, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, ABA
September 25, 2014
Category: Hearing Loss


For years I have recommended that those with diabetes have an annual hearing test to accompany their yearly eye exam and physical.

Diabetes and Hearing loss Austin, TX

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as it is in those who don’t have the disease. Also, of the 79 million adults thought to have pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in those with normal blood sugar.

How does diabetes contribute to hearing loss?

Hearing depends on small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear. Researchers believe that, over time, high blood glucose levels can damage these vessels and nerves, diminishing the ability to hear. Specifically, that hearing impairment in the low/mid- and high-frequency range to be associated with low HDL and coronary heart disease history, respectively. The current theory is that hearing loss accompanies an atherosclerotic mechanism affecting the inner ear.

Hearing loss due to diabetes is typically a high frequency sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss which can be treated successfully with hearing aids. The earlier a hearing loss is diagnosed the earlier it can be treated.

Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can have a negative impact on quality of life. Thus for diabetics, the sooner the hearing loss is treated the better. It is also recommended that those with diabetes have an annual hearing test to accompany their yearly eye exam and physical.

If you or a loved one has diabetes and have not had a hearing test, make an appointment today.


Paige Peterson, AuD, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, ABAAudiology Appointment Great Hills ENT Austin, TX



Dr. Paige Peterson is an Audiologist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX and specializes in hearing related disorders including tinnitus and hearing loss, neurophysiological disorders as well as dizziness/balance disorders.  Dr. Peterson is Board Certified in Audiology and is currently accepting new adult and pediatric audiology patients. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, hearing aids, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.

February 10, 2014
Category: Sinus
Tags: ENT   austin   Surgery   Allergy   Sinusitis   AustinTX  


I may be correct in saying that nobody ever really WANTS to have surgery. It involves IVs, anesthesia, uncertainty, and it HURTS. That being said, surgery is often the solution to a medical problem that is not fixed by medication.  Sinus surgery has changed tremendously over the last few decades. This blog is intended to dispel myths that often frighten people about it and/or cause them to postpone treatment and prolong suffering.

Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses-these are air filled cavities in the face-the exact purpose of which is unknown.  However, we think the sinuses humidify the air we breathe, lighten the skull, and resonate the voice. That being said, they can fill with infection, lead to pain, drainage, fatigue, and infect surrounding structures. For acute sinusitis (less than 4 weeks), an antibiotic with a nasal steroid and sinus rinse will usually fix the problem. Occasionally, this doesn’t work and the infection becomes chronic (lasting 12 weeks or more). Often, a prolonged course of antibiotics (3 weeks!), nasal and oral steroids, and a sinus rinse will solve the problem. When this does not do the trick and we see evidence of persistent disease on a CT scan, we will recommend surgery. Obviously, this is an oversimplification-but-you get the point.

When surgery is the “next step,” we often hear the following questions/concerns:

Q: “MY (insert relative here) had sinus surgery 20 years ago and they PACKED his nose-He said it was the WORST thing in the world…do you pack the nose?”

A: No, we do not pack the nose. This is something that surgeons used to do quite frequently after surgery to prevent bleeding or scar tissue growth. Today, we have absorbable packing and ointments we can place in the nose to prevent bleeding, and our surgical techniques have changes to minimize risk of scarring

Q: “Do you SCRAPE the sinuses??”

A: No, we do not scrape the sinuses. The point of surgery is widen the opening where the sinuses naturally drain, and to avoid damage to the mucosa (tissue lining the sinuses) as much as possible. We can irrigate the sinuses and remove inflamed growths such as polyps. But, no scraping.

Q: “Will sinus surgery prevent me from ever having another sinus infection?”

A: Unfortunately, no. The purpose is to open the sinuses up and remove diseased tissue. You can still get sinus infections in the future, but we may treat them with “topical” antibiotics and steroids (in the sinus rinse) which will reach the cavities better because they are more open.  Your risk of developing future problems depends on why you had this in the first place (severe allergies, polyps, fungus, etc.)

Q: “I had sinus surgery 10 years ago, and now I am having problems again. What are you going to do differently?”

A: You may have recurrent disease for a number of reasons; however, our goal in surgery is the same. Because you had surgery before, things may scar certain ways that predispose you to infection again-Often, we will use “image guidance” which is a new technology that helps us identify structures in the nose during surgery to ensure good drainage (and correct identification of infected areas).

Q: “Are you going to use balloons on me?”

A: Balloon sinuplasty is a new technology that uses a balloon to widen the natural opening of the sinuses. It can be a helpful tool in sinus surgery (especially the frontal sinus) or used alone. Not all doctors offer this procedure, and some patients are not good candidates for this technology, so this will need to be a discussion between you and your physician.