Many patients who come to Hudson ENT need to have a hearing test (c.f. Blog from 2/18). Sometimes, those hearing tests show discrepancies in one ear versus the other. Meaning one ear has better hearing than the other. If there is a significant difference in hearing between the ears, the standard of care is to order special imaging test called MRI (which is magnetic resonance imaging). Many times people wonder if this has radiation, but it does not. This test is a specialized test that will allow the doctor to see the structures of the inner ear. Because any provider cannot "see the inner ear", this is the best test to use to rule out any problems there. More specifically, we are looking to make sure a person does not have a benign growth called an acoustic neuroma. There is a structure in the inner ear that carries nerve input back and to the cochlea and semicircular canals and the brain and this conduit is called the internal auditory canal. Within that canal, four nerves travel and these nerves are surrounded by cells which helped the impulses get to the brain faster. In fact, it is those cells that can make a benign growth which, if not found, could create great problems such as a balance problems, further hearing problems and if not cared for, deeper brain problems. Otolaryngologists order MRI tests frequently, since many patients have a significant discrepancy in hearing between the ears, tinnitus in one ear, and sometimes the sensation or sound of a heartbeat in the ear. Do you have any such symptoms? Give us a call.