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Agent Corner

Daily Sun Column – Senior Moments

Dr. Al Turri talks about the relationship between memory loss and dementia

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Dr. Turri – Senior Moments – 02.09.22



The Villages Health Audiology Department is your hometown resource for help with dizziness, balance & vertigo. We have partnered with the American Institute of Balance (AIB) to provide you with the most effective solutions to this area of specialized care.

We can perform the following tests to determine if you are affected by balance disorders:

  • Dizziness Evaluation & Treatment
  • Balance & Fall Risk Assessment
  • Imbalance & Disequilibrium
  • Concussion (mTBI)

To schedule, give us a call: 352-320-4797


Fall Risk and Prevention



  • Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as a head trauma or fracture.
  • An older adult falls every second of every day. But less than half talk to their doctor about their fall.
  • More than 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year.
  • Costs for fall injuries total over $31 billion annually. Hospital costs account for two-thirds of this total.

Many people believe that loss of balance and falls are a natural result of aging. In fact, fear of falling is the number one health concern of individuals in their later years. Below are some common myths associated with falls:

MYTH #1: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older

FACT: Falling is not a normal part of the aging process. However, as we age, certain risk factors can contribute to loss of balance and falls. Effective clinical and community interventions exist for these risk factors. Talk openly with your healthcare provider about fall risks and prevention today!

MYTH #2: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling

FACT: Statistics show that individuals taking multiple medications have an increased risk of falling. Talk to your medical doctor about reviewing and managing your medications.

MYTH #3: If I limit my activity, I can avoid falling

FACT: Limiting physical activity results in muscle weakness which can increase your chance of falling. Muscle weakness and balance can improve across the lifespan for most individuals.  Ask your healthcare provider how an individualized exercise program can help!

MYTH #4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling

FACT: Isolation and limited mobility are linked to symptoms of depression, which have shown to increase your risk of falling. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of depression such as feeling down or alone.

MYTH #5: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent

FACT: The use of the appropriate assistive device can improve your independence and quality of life by promoting safer walking within the home and community. This results in improved strength, balance, and endurance, all of which reduce one’s fall risk significantly.

MYTH #6: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year

FACT: Your vision plays a large role in maintaining your balance! It’s very important to have your vision checked annually to ensure you have the appropriate eyewear prescript ion, if necessary.

MYTH #7: I don’t need to talk to my family or healthcare provider if I’m concerned with falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence

FACT: Having an open conversation with both your family and health care provider can increase safety, decrease risk of injury, and prolong your independence! A team approach can minimize fall risk and increase peace of mind for all involved!

To identify your personal fall risk profile, please take the Patient Self Quiz.

AIB Patient Self Quiz

y              N

□             □             1. Do you or your loved one suffer from any of the following conditions?

□             □             2. History of fall in the past year?

□             □             3. Vertigo and/or dizziness?

□             □             4. Poor balance?

□             □             5. Fear/anxiety of falling?

□             □             5. Difficulty walking?

□             □             6. Use of assistive device such as a cane to walk?

□             □             7. Peripheral neuropathy?

□             □             8. Vitamin D insufficiency?

□             □             9. Multiple medication prescriptions?

□             □             10. Blood Pressure and/or Cardiovascular problems?

□             □             11. Vision impairment?

□             □             12. Muscle weakness?

□             □             13. Orthopedic concerns, including arthritis or total joint replacement?

□             □             14. History of Stroke or Neurological disease (example: Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis)?

If you answered yes to any of the conditions above, now is the time to talk to your healthcare provider about preventative measures to minimize your risk of falls and injury. Your medical doctor can work closely together with a physical therapist to establish a fall prevention plan specific to your individual needs. Through proper diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, many of which are non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical, older adults can reduce their risk of falls and enjoy safer, more independent lives.



Vertigo, Imbalance, and Motion Sickness


  • Dizziness or loss of balance will affect 90 million Americans sometime during their lifetime and is the #1 complaint reported to medical providers in adults 70 years of age or older.
  • Balance-related falls account for more than one-half of accidental deaths in the elderly and cause over 300,000 hip fractures in individuals over 65 years of age
  • Inner ear disorders or ear infections can result imbalance and vertigo affecting a person’s ability to walk, roll over in bed, see or think clearly, or to read or watch television.
  • Many times, disorders of the inner ear are misdiagnosed as a more severe neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis, or as clinical depression.
  • Children can also be affected by inner ear disorders and are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as learning disabled, dyslexic, or psychologically disturbed
  • Illness, infections, disease, head injuries and whiplash are frequent causes of imbalance, dizziness, and vertigo.
  • Inner ear disturbances account for 85% of dizzy disorders


The first is dizziness, vertigo, or motion intolerance. This condition may be caused or worsened by rapid head movement, turning too quickly, walking, or riding in a car. These symptoms can be acute or sharp attacks lasting for seconds or sometimes for several hours.

The second is a persistent sense of imbalance or unsteadiness. Some people refer to this as a loss of surefootedness.

There can be many causes of dizziness and imbalance, with the largest percentage coming from the vestibular system. The vestibular system is an organ located in the inner ear which relays information to the brain about balance and orientation of the body and head.

Balance is a complex interaction which requires input from our vestibular system, in addition to our vision and the sensation from our feet, muscles, and joints. If any one of these systems are not working properly, the patient will suffer loss of balance.

Although very common, problems with equilibrium may indicate serious health risks, or limit a person’s everyday living. The great news is that diagnostic and treatment options have become more effective and can now identify 90% of all causes of dizziness. There is now hope for many who once thought there might not be relief. With proper diagnosis, treatment techniques, and therapeutic exercises, many older adults can return to more active lives.


1. A feeling of motion, spinning or falling when moving your head quickly or changing your position? (Ex. Getting in and out of bed).

2. Uncomfortable trying to get around in the dark?

3. Walking down the grocery store aisles or through the mall is upsetting?

4. Your feet just won’t go where you want them to?

5. A sense of unsteadiness? A feeling you are not surefooted?

6. A fear of falling or stumbling?

7. Looking at moving objects such as escalators or looking out the side window of a car makes you queasy?

8. Difficulty keeping your balance as you walk on different surfaces? (Ex. Tile to carpet)

9. A feeling like you are drifting or being pulled to one side when walking?

10. No one really understands how frustrating this is?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, a vestibular and equilibrium evaluation should be considered.


Vestibular Migraine


1. Migraine affects one out of every 4 females and one of every 6 males. Because it is more often seen in females, increased symptoms and severity may accompany hormonal changes e.g. menses, oral contraceptives, pregnancy, menopause etc.

2. Although quite common, migraine is classified by the American Academy of Neurology as a neurological disorder and is strongly hereditary.

3. 50% of people with migraine never receive a diagnosis, as they believe that this is “just the way we are in our family” or “doesn’t everyone et headaches?”

4. Many people believe that their headaches or other symptoms are due to food allergies from chocolate, red wine, or coffee or they have a “sinus” headache.

5. There is not be a specific “test” which diagnoses migraine, it is usually a diagnosis based on family history and pattern of symptoms.

6. According to the International Headache Society, there are 6 major categories of migraine and many variations within those divisions.

7. Many types of migraine DO NOT cause a headache at all, but instead cause, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, or eye pain and changes in vision.

8. Children, as young as one-year-old, may be have a form of vestibular migraine, called Benign Paroxysmal Vertigo of Childhood (BPV-Childhood), causing them to stagger, have dizziness-vertigo and vomiting.

9. Most people (66%) with a history of migraine, also are prone to motion sickness. Vertigo can be more upsetting and difficult for patients who experience migraine.


1. Discuss this with your physician or healthcare practitioner. He or she may recommend medications or managing symptoms through changes in diet, lifestyle, or activities.

2. In some cases, your healthcare practitioner may refer you, if you are a female, to your ob-gyn to check status of hormone levels, or to a neurologist for further consultation.

3. Maintain a daily diary to look for specific triggers, e.g. food, activities etc.

4. People with migraine tend to do better if they keep to a regular schedule of sleep, eating meals and stress management. So, if you are traveling or away from home, be mindful that disruption of your regular schedule may be a trigger.

The Good News…

1. If you have experienced dizziness or vertigo because of vestibular migraine, help may be in the form of vestibular rehabilitation, medication, management of lifestyle triggers and monitoring of hormonal status.

2. New advances in understanding the causes and best treatments for the many forms of migraine are being published every year.

3. Understanding your specific triggers, will help you avoid those things, and keep you on track to having more good days.


Migraine Research Foundation:

National Headache Foundation:

Association of Migraine Disorders:

What Is An Audiologist?

What Is An Audiologist?

An audiologist is a licensed healthcare professional who specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus, and vestibular (balance) related disorders. Audiologists have the ability to treat patients across the entire age spectrum, from infancy to late adulthood. Audiologists are most commonly known for their ability to prescribe and fit hearing devices, thanks to their extensive knowledge on the auditory system and its associated vestibular components. Patients looking into the use of a hearing device, cochlear implant, or hearing-related surgical monitoring will need to work closely with audiologists to ensure proper treatment and maintenance.

The Importance of Education and Licensure

Audiologists are required to obtain licensure and registration in every US state, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These stringent licensure regulations are complemented by extensive training and schooling – which results in a doctoral degree. In your search for an audiologist, you will most likely encounter a credential called the AuD, or doctor of audiology. This designation is a promise that your audiologist has undergone training from an accredited university graduate program in anatomy and physiology, hearing device and implantable technologies, vestibular function and processes, balance disorders, hearing loss, and the diagnosis of all other hearing related afflictions.

Audiologists are becoming more prevalent in the healthcare field, as hearing loss has become the number one sensory deficit among older adults   Hearing loss, a progressive degenerative disorder is pervasive problem amongst the aging population, one that is now found to be closely associated with early onset dementia. Audiologists can now be found working in hospitals, clinics, private practices, ENT (Ear Nose Throat physicians) offices, schools, and government or military medical facilities. Even though the demand for audiologists is still on the rise, the profession needs some demystifying from a patient perspective. Audiologists are commonly associated with their colleagues, ENTs.

Audiologists and ENTs

While audiologists and ENTs work together through referrals and consultations – there are distinctive differences between the two types of care providers. The simplest way to recall their differences is to keep in mind that audiologists are highly focused on the auditory system and hearing loss, while ENTs specialize in diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. If an audiology patient at The Villages Health is found to be suffering from a condition outside the scope of audiology services, our audiologists will partner with you to get you a referral and seamless care coordination.

An ENT will diagnose your chronic ear infection, but an audiologist will assess your hearing and suggest a treatment plan. If you’re struggling to hear your loved one talk to you , it’s time to see an audiologist. Their expertise doesn’t stop once the hearing devices are prescribed and fitted. Audiologists are qualified to diagnose and treat hearing loss, dizziness, balance problems, tinnitus, central auditory processing disorders and earwax removal.  Additionally, they are qualified to screen and refer for other conditions like autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), cognitive decline, punctured ear drums, sudden deafness, and acute ear infections. A good audiologist will also employ Real Ear Measurements (REM) analysis to assess a hearing device’s efficacy and gain levels for optimal hearing, as well as performing preliminary hearing screenings to determine the severity of your hearing loss.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of hearing loss such as a ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing the telephone or television and trouble understanding others – The Villages Health Audiology can help. Many people wait too long to address their hearing problems – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Get the hearing health care you deserve. The Villages Health Audiology will partner with you to deliver first-class compassionate care to suit your personal needs and help you achieve total hearing health.








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I think the thing that was the biggest selling point for me was just the whole idea of everything being under one healthcare facility.

Diane Kupchak, Patient at Creekside Care Center & Specialty Care Center