How do balance issues affect us?
Chronic balance problems and dizziness can be a significant problem in people’s everyday lives. Normal daily activities are often avoided for fear of bringing on an attack of their symptoms. Symptoms include disorientation, light-headedness, swaying, and a spinning sensation accompanied by nausea.
The human balance system is the coordinated effort of several systems. The vestibular system is the balance portion of the inner ear. This system tells the brain where the head is in space. The visual system, the body, and the sense of touch give the brain information about the movement and stability of the world around us. Our central nervous system then processes the information. When these systems provide conflicting information dizziness or balance problems result. The appropriate coordination of all these systems provides us with normal equilibrium.
How are balance issues tested?
Balance is tested using a videonystagmography, or VNG test. Considered the gold standard for balance testing, during a VNG test goggles are placed on the patient with cameras above each eye. These cameras record all eye movements throughout testing. In the first VNG test the camera tracks and measures the eye reflexes in both active and resting states. In the second test you will be moved into different positions to test for dizziness caused by movement or motion. In the third test a caloric evaluation will be completed in both the right and left ears. In this test, warm and cool water will be put into the ear canal to stimulate responses of the inner ear system. The resulting eye movements are then measured. Each ear is evaluated separately.
These tests will help determine what may be causing your dizziness. Because there are many different causes of dizziness, there are many different medical treatments. Each one depends on the cause and should be decided by a medical professional.
“The key to a solution for the dizzy patient is accurate diagnosis followed by careful adherence to the appropriate treatment plan,” CEENTA Audiologists Vicki Miller, MS, FAAA, and Tracy Swanson, AuD, FAAA, said.
There are a few things you can do at home to prevent falling from dizziness. To prevent symptoms you should have plenty to drink, eat regular meals, and get plenty of rest. If you do get dizzy, lie down, and then stand up slowly. You can also make your home safer by securing rugs so you don’t trip over them if you have a dizzy spell. You can put bath mats in your tub. Banisters are also good for support. Adequate lighting is also very helpful.
Audiology services are available in offices across North and South Carolina. Make an appointment today and let us help treat your dizziness concerns.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment for a balance test, call 704-295-3000.
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