Ear And Hearing Care
Common Ear and Hearing Care:
Ear and Hearing Center in Austin, TX
Dr. Slaughter offers comprehensive treatments for all ear disorders as well as Hearing Testing and Hearing Aid Services. As a Board Certified Otolaryngologist in Austin, TX he has extensive training and more than 25 years of experience in the medical and surgical treatment of ear disorders.
Advanced technology available in our office including binocular microscopic ear evaluation, mini-cat scan imaging of the middle ear, and hearing testing and balance testing labs offer our patients all the services needed to obtain the best in-ear care.
If you suffer from one of these common ear conditions make an appointment to see Dr. Slaughter today!
ear infections (otitis media)
Ear infections, also called acute otitis media, occur when the middle ear becomes inflamed. They can happen in one or both ears and are a common problem in kids and adults, these infections often require recurring antibiotics.
Symptoms of Ear Infection
Common symptoms of ear infections include the following:
- Drainage from ear
- In Kids, Tugging and pulling at the ear
Dr. Slaughter will thoroughly evaluate the possible causes including allergies, chronic sinusitis, nasal blockage, and adenoid enlargement to help resolve this issue medically if possible. When medical therapy fails, “tubes” can be placed in the eardrum to relieve this condition. This is a simple procedure that can be performed safely in children and in the office in adults.
Swimmers ear (otitis externa)
Infection of the ear canal is a frequent problem often coming from water exposure or canal manipulation. This condition can be extremely painful and is associated with ear drainage and facial swelling. Dr. Slaughter can gently clean the canal and identify the type of infection. After cleaning, special ear drops are used to resolve the infection.
Eustachian tube dysfunction
The Eustachian tube leads from the back of your nose to the ear and provides ventilation to the ear with each swallow. Many conditions will cause inflammation of this area and cause a build-up of negative pressure behind the eardrum. This causes pressure, hearing loss, and popping. It may also cause dizziness. With a comprehensive allergy, sinus, and nasal evaluation, Dr. Slaughter can identify and correct the underlying issue.
Our Allergy Center and Sinus and Nasal Center can offer state of the art care for these conditions. In some cases, an injection of a steroid into the middle ear (trans-tympanic dexamethasone therapy) may be necessary. This is a simple office procedure and it may “wake up” the Eustachian tube. Occasionally “tubes” may need to be placed as an office procedure to relieve this pressure.
For patients with persistent eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), we offer a new approach with Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation Surgery. In this procedure, a small balloon is placed through the nose and into the eustachian tube without the need for any incisions. The balloon is then used to inflate and expand the eustachian tube for 2 minutes. The patient in our office is under IV sedation by a board-certified anesthesiologist. There is no pain or recollection during the procedure. Studies have shown this may provide a permanent solution to this condition in many patients.
tinnitus (Hearing loss and ringing)
Many of us will lose some of our hearing from noise exposure or aging. Communication difficulty can be quite a problem for the patient and their family or co-workers. Dr. Slaughter and his audiologist offer the state of the art in hearing testing for all ages.
Tinnitus (a form of ringing or buzzing in the ear) is a big problem for some patients. Often coming on suddenly and sometimes associated with sudden hearing loss. Dr. Slaughter will perform a microscopic ear exam to identify correctable causes of hearing loss.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The following conditions can cause tinnitus:
- Eustachian tube dysfunction
- Middle ear fluid
- Hearing loss
Many other causes of ringing also need to be evaluated including medicines, Ménière’s disease, and increased CSF pressure. Comprehensive hearing testing will also be performed to evaluate the inner ear function.
How is Tinnitus Treated?
Sudden hearing loss and tinnitus are considered an emergency as this viral infection can permanently damage your hearing. A simple office procedure, trans-tympanic dexamethasone perfusion, has the potential to reverse this hearing loss and treat the ringing.
Dr. Slaughter provides a thorough evaluation and has many options for therapy including medical therapy, trans-tympanic dexamethasone perfusion, among other treatments, One option is “Tone Therapy” which uses a unique form of sound therapy to reduce or eliminate the patient’s tinnitus.
Hearing Aid Services
Seems like there is a hearing aid available for purchase on every corner. The difference is in the detailed evaluation by a Board Certified ear, nose, and throat physician at the time of your hearing aid appointment.
Ear wax, middle ear fluid, allergy issues can all mask as the traditional hearing loss. If it is nerve hearing loss are there treatments that can restore the nerve hearing? Leaving this evaluation to a hearing aid sales shop can leave you with inadequate care.
Dr. Slaughter will thoroughly evaluate all the medical issues in combination with his audiologist performing the most sophisticated hearing testing.
For those that can benefit from a hearing aid, we offer the latest in digital hearing aid technology for the best hearing performance for our patients. We provide a patient-centered approach that allows us to tailor the device to your lifestyle needs.
Ear Wax Removal
It’s the simple things that can mean so much to patients. Having a blocked ear canal from wax can cause pain, hearing loss, outer ear infections, tinnitus, and dizziness. Dr. Slaughter personally treats this condition with gentle removal using an operating microscope to safely remove the wax on the day of your visit.
Hole in the eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation)
Adults and kids may develop a hole in the eardrum after recurring ear infections, trauma, or from small tumors called cholesteatoma. Tympanoplasty (repair of eardrum) is a simple outpatient procedure that Dr. Slaughter can perform to repair the drum and restore the hearing.
Cholesteatoma (a small benign skin tumor) in the middle ear can erode the middle ear bones and cause a hole in the eardrum. Dr. Slaughter can perform mastoidectomy to remove this tumor and also can repair the middle ear bones (ossiculoplasty) to improve the hearing.
vertigo, Dizziness, and Ménière’s disease
Patients with dizziness have many causes but one complaint. I feel dizzy. Dr. Slaughter and his staff provide a comprehensive evaluation of this complaint to offer the right treatment. Our advanced balance lab with VNG (video-nystagmogram) testing, hearing testing services, office CT scanner, and microscopic ear evaluation can help Dr. Slaughter determine the exact cause of your dizziness.
BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). This common condition causes a brief rotational spinning sensation with head position change. It is a condition where the inner ear crystals become loose and free-floating. The Epley maneuver can be performed in our office to correct this condition on the day of your visit.
Ménière’s disease and viral labyrinthitis are also common causes. Fortunately, medical therapy and trans-tympanic dexamethasone perfusion as an office procedure can be very successful to relieve the symptoms in these conditions. Most importantly, evaluation soon after the complaint begins is critical in many cases for successful treatment.