To understand how we diagnose dizziness or poor balance, you must know how our human balance system works. The three systems responsible for balance are: the inner ear, which houses the vestibular nerve that is responsible for balance; eye movements; and, sensory input from the muscles and joints called proprioception. Proprioception is responsible for informing the brain about interactions with the environment, like walking on rough concrete and transitioning to dewy grass. If any of these three systems are off, it can cause dizziness or imbalance.
Dizziness and balance difficulties often result from problems in the vestibular system, which is linked to the hearing system in the inner ear. However, it is important to examine a patient’s medical history to identify any past conditions or medications that may cause imbalance or dizziness. A series of balance tests designed to identify the source a person’s dizziness allows an audiologist to identify which parts of the hearing or vestibular system are not functioning normally.
Dizziness, vertigo and balance problems result from a variety of factors. However, the two most common causes are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or vestibulopathy.
BPPV is a complex condition in which you have brief, but intense, episodes of dizziness that occur when you move your head in a certain position or hold it at a particular angle. There are several variants of BPPV, but it commonly occurs when tiny particles in your balance system called, “otoconia,” break loose and fall into the canals of your inner ear. Visit Balance Treatment, to learn about treating BPPV.
Vestibulopathy is a condition wherein there is a reduction in the output of one of both of the vestibular portions of the inner ear. Oftentimes, the onset of vestibulopathy begins with a severe vertigo attack, accompanied by nausea that lasts several days. Symptoms may include: dizziness with head or body movement; motion sickness; or an uneasiness with certain visual stimuli, such as flickering lights down an escalator.
While these are more common conditions, everyone reacts and feels differently, which is why it’s important to undergo testing. Contact HES today and let our specialists help you diagnosis and treat your imbalance or dizziness.
Dizziness and balance problems often result from problems in the vestibular system, part of which is located in the inner ear. Therefore, balance tests, such as VNG Testing and VEMP Testing can evaluate the integrity of the vestibular system. Balance testing allows your audiologist to localize the source of imbalance or dizziness by identifying which components are not functioning properly.
At HES, we believe that everyone experiences their dizziness differently. Therefore, treatment should be custom-fit to meet the individual needs of each patient. Though treatment will vary from person to person, two of the more commonly used treatments are vestibular rehabilitation and the Canalith Repositioning Treatment (Epley Maneuver). Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based therapy program designed to improve balance and minimize dizziness symptoms. Canalith Repositioning Treatment, commonly referred to as the Epley maneuver, can help relieve vertigo associated with a positive diagnosis of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Visit Balance Treatment for more information, and Contact HES to learn how balance treatment can help you.
You should have your balance evaluated if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Experience a feeling of motion with certain movements, such as quick head turns or getting out of bed
- Have difficulty getting around in the dark
- Feel uneasy walking down an aisle in the store or walking in a shopping mall
- Sometimes feel like you have no control of your feet
- Feel unsteady or need to touch something while walking
- Have a fear of falling
- Feel uneasy looking out of the window of a moving car
- Have trouble walking from one surface to another, such as tile to carpet
- Feel as though you are swaying or leaning toward one direction while you are walking