Q: I’m having trouble hearing but could it be my ears [just] need checking before I go to get hearing aid? I’m so reluctant to get them checked because I have so little faith in the medical industry. I know they will tell me I need a hearing aid whether I do or not, as things have become so commercial. There must be a reason why so many people get them and never use them! Who can I trust with this problem and what are the best models available?
A: If you are having problems with hearing, it is vital you have this checked. The commonest cause of hearing loss is some damage to the auditory nerves but there are other potential causes and a full assessment is always a good idea. I can detect your cynicism about this aspect of the medical industry but many people are benefited by having hearing aids. The realistic answer to your question as to which is the best type of hearing aid is the most expensive one you can afford. It’s like anything in life, typically the more expensive, the better the quality.
Q: I am 66 years old and have been suffering rare faints over the past three years. The last one was more intense and lasted longer. I have supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and atrial fibrillation (AF) but it’s not serious enough to warrant medication. My cardiologist said I should have a vasovagal syncope. It’s very worrying not knowing if and when a faint will reoccur. I was fitted with a device in my chest to record my heart activity, but two months in, and there’s nothing significant to report. There has been suggestion of a tilt table test after normal bloods and urines tests. Should this be pursued?
A: If you have had episodes with the loop recorder in place, it certainly points more to vasovagal syncope. I would very much endorse the need for a tilt table test. There is significant research being performed all over the world around vagus nerve function, the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. Please do not hesitate to send me the results of the tilt table test which will help confirm the diagnosis of vasovagal syncope.
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