Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery

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The Hearing & Balance Center
Sam J. Marzo, MD, Director
Michael Raffin, PhD, Laboratory Director

Experience Matters
At the Hearing & Balance Center of Loyola University Health System, you will find an experienced group of specialty physicians who are focused on one task: managing the medical and surgical treatment of balance disorders. Whether you are a referring physician seeking the best treatment for a patient, or a patient looking for help with a balance disorder, we want you to consider us your ‘primary care doctors of balance.’

What is a Balance Disorder?
Dizziness, unsteadiness, vertigo (a feeling of motion, often a sense of rotation), buzzing in the ears and hearing loss can be symptoms of a balance disorder.

Many people will experience a balance disorder at some point in their lives. In fact, dizziness is the third most commonly reported complaint to physicians, exceeded only by headaches and lower back pain. It is the most common reason for a visit to a physician in patients over the age of 65; and as the population ages, the number of patients with dizziness is increasing.

Fact: Thirty percent of the population has experienced dizziness by the age of 65.

A balance disorder can be caused by a number of conditions that affect a wide variety of our body’s systems - abnormalities in the inner ear, decreased blood circulation in the brain, trauma, or infection. As a result, balance disorders are best treated by a group of collaborating physicians from a range of specialties. That’s just what you’ll find at Loyola’s Hearing & Balance Center.

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Comprehensive Management of Balance Disorders
As part of Loyola’s Department of Otolaryngology, the Hearing & Balance Center provides a complete range of services, personnel and facilities for the comprehensive treatment of balance difficulties. Because the center is structured to deal with every balance problem, patients are more likely to get complete care.

Diseases routinely treated are:

Acoustic neuroma - ringing, hear loss, benign growth in inner ear
Acute vertigo - caused by a head injury, whiplash, or concussion
Cholesteatoma -- skin cyst, which involves the middle ear
Labyrinthitis - inner ear infection with vertigo
Benign positional vertigo - balance disorder that results in a suden onset of dizziness, spinning, or vertigo ythat occurs when suddenly moving the head from on position to another.
Meniere’s disease - Recurrent episodes of ringing (tinnitus), hearing loss, vertigo. If left untreated hearing loss regresses with time. Treatment starts with diet and may sometimes need surgery.

Quote: “Balance disorders are a silent sickness - people who have them may appear normal and healthy, but in reality they cannot make common movements or complete simple tasks such as bending, exercising or doing simple housework.” - Sam Marzo, MD, Medical Director, Hearing & Balance Center

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Core Competencies and Services
Through the numerous services of the Hearing & Balance Center, our professionals can treat the special needs of patients with balance disorders. The center incorporates an array of customized features including:

Auditory Brainstem Response Testing (ABR)
Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP)
CT scan of temporal bone
Electronystagmography (ENG)
MRI of the head
Otoacoustic Emission Testing (OAE)
Rotatory Chair Testing (RCT)
Same-day hearing testing
Specialized audiological tests
The data from these and other tests are analyzed, and the results are correlated with the history and physical examination. Once a patient has been diagnosed, all medical options are exhausted before pursuing surgical treatment. Treatment options include:

Medical Treatments
Particle repositioning maneuvers
Intratympanic gentamicin perfusion
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy

Surgical Treatments
Acoustic neuroma resection
Endolymphatic sac decompression
Mastoid surgery for cholesteatoma
Vestibular nerve section

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Team Approach to Quality Care
Our team of balance disorder specialists is dedicated to providing quality care. To meet this commitment, the center relies on doctors and nurses from many medical departments, including specialists in ear, nose and throat, cranial base surgery, audiology, physical therapy and neurology.

At Loyola, we want our patients to be satisfied, and our physicians spend as much time as necessary with patients until their questions have all been answered and they fully understand their diagnosis and treatment.

Quote: “Our patients often come to us after being seen by multiple health care providers without success. Some of them think nothing can be done. Often, something truly can be done.” - John P. Leonetti, MD, Director, Cranial Base Surgery Center

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The Latest Treatments
Physicians at the Hearing & Balance Center use the latest diagnostic techniques and treatments. For example, the center is pioneering a new treatment for benign positional vertigo, a type of dizziness that occurs when patients lay down and roll their head to either side. This condition is being treated with particle repositioning maneuvers, which are done on an outpatient basis. Through a series of head movements to reposition the particles in the inner ear, the condition is corrected after one or two treatments in 80 percent to 90 percent of cases.

Physicians at the center also have begun performing intratympanic middle ear injections for patients with refractory vertigo. This non-surgical option for patients with vertigo caused by Meniere’s Disease, which is characterized by ear ringing, pressure, hearing loss, and vertigo, is treated by injections given on outpatient basis.

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Partners in Health
Loyola’s team of health care professionals seeks to treat the whole person - body, mind and spirit. And, we consider ourselves a partner with the patient and referring physician.

Family members are considered partners in the patient’s care, and referring physicians receive regular progress reports and copies of all test results. Our physicians encourage referring physicians to consult with them about their patient’s condition at any time.

Contacting the Hearing & Balance Center
The Hearing & Balance Center
Loyola University Health System
Oakbrook Terrace Medical Center
One South Summit Avenue
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181

Special Thank You to Cecil Hart, M.D.
All of the personnel of the Hearing & Balance Center at Loyola extend their gratitude to Dr. Cecil Hart, Clinical Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, for his efforts and expertise in the Center's creation.

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Last Reviewed: Jul. 7, 2010

Department: (708) 216-1676
Appointments: (708) 216-8563

Experience Matters

What is a Balance Disorder

Comprehensive Management of Balance Disorders

Core Compentencies and Services


Medical Treatments

Surgical Treatments

Team Approach to Quality Care

The Latest Treatments

Partners in Health

Schedule an Appointment

Special Thank You to Cecil Hart, M.D.

For More Information:
(708) 216-7985

To Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Marzo:
(708) 216-3835

Innovation drives us.
Experience guides us.
Compassion unites us.

Hearing & Balance Center Brochure