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Vestibular

What is Dizziness?

Nearly 20% of adults will experience significant dizziness at some point in their lives. Vertigo and dizziness are the 2nd most common complaint after headache.

Dizziness can be described as a sensation of lightheadedness, floating, unsteadiness, giddiness or faintness. In contrast to dizziness, vertigo is described as a sensation of movement of either self or the environment moving around the person in a rotational or spinning manner.

Human vestibular system is extremely important in a person’s core functioning, affecting our ability to perform day-to-day tasks. The sense of equilibrium is sustained by a complex interaction of the subsequent parts of the nervous system:

  • The inner ear – monitors directions of movement (side to side, up/down, forward/backward)
  • Muscle and joint receptors – relay information about which part of the body is moving
  • The eyes – monitor the position of the body in space
  • Pressure sensors in our feet and spinal cord – tell the brain what body part is on the ground
  • The central nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord – help to sort out information relayed from the above four.

Causes of Dizziness

There are many possible origins of dizziness, however some of the most common are:

  • Inner ear disease
  • Migraine associated Vertigo
  • BPPV – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (this is also the most common cause of vertigo)
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscencence syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Ototoxicity – poisoning by certain medications
  • Acoustic Neuroma
  • Mal de debarquement
  • Anxiety
  • Aging

Diagnosis

Evaluation of a patient that complains of dizziness can often be challenging. However, with a directed history and an extensive evaluation, the cause of the patient’s symptoms can almost always be identified. The goal of the balance evaluation is to find the underlying cause and site of the problem, as well as to rule out life threatening disease. Audiology Island offers the latest diagnostic tests with the use of the state-of-the-art equipment. Proper diagnosis will determine the effective medical or surgical treatment. Dr. Fulman and Dr. Shapiro use a multi-disciplinary approach to investigation and management and will always make an appropriate referral based on the evaluation results.

Treatment

At Audiology Island our highly qualified doctors of audiology, know how to diagnose the etiology of dizziness and implement appropriate treatment. Treatment depends upon symptoms, medical history and proper diagnosis.

It can include:

  • Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)
  • Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers
  • Dietary Adjustments
  • Counseling
  • Home exercises
  • Medication
  • Surgery

For more information on vestibular causes of dizziness see the excellent and informative website of the Vestibular Disorders Association www.vestibular.org