Balance disorders are a common health concern that affects a large part of the population, leading to symptoms such as dizziness and an increased risk of falling. Healthcare professionals, such as audiologists, can provide valuable insights into balance systems, the problems that can occur, and the treatment options available.
Balance Disorders and Dizziness: An Overview
Our brain depends on the messages it receives from our eyes, ears, and other body parts to help us maintain our balance. A balance disorder can negatively impact your life, making you more likely to fall, and cause bothersome symptoms such as dizziness and unsteadiness. Dizziness can refer to a range of symptoms, including lightheadedness and vertigo (a sensation of moving or spinning).
The Role of the Ear in Balance
Audiologists, who have specialized training in assessing and treating the auditory and balance systems, explain that our ear can be described in three parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. Each of these parts plays a crucial role in helping us determine the direction of sound and send signals to our brain. The inner ear is home to the cochlea and the main parts of the vestibular system - one of the sensory systems that provide our brain with information about balance, motion, and the location of our head and body in relation to our surroundings.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
Balance disorders come with varying symptoms. These may occur constantly or just occasionally, and they may come about suddenly or be triggered by something (e.g., position change, head movement, visual or sound stimulation). Symptoms of balance problems include difficulty walking and moving around, dizziness, falling, headaches, lightheadedness, motion sickness, nausea, unsteadiness, vertigo, and visual problems.
Uncovering the Causes of Balance Disorders
Understanding the cause of your dizziness and balance problems is vital. A variety of underlying conditions or issues may cause balance problems and dizziness. These can range from cardiovascular or circulation problems, head injury, damage to the ear or vestibular system, inner ear disorders, sudden hearing loss, sudden vision changes, surgeries, tumors on the acoustic nerve, to viruses and other infections.
Seeking Professional Help: Testing and Treatment Options
Balance problems and dizziness may be symptoms of a larger health issue. It's important to see a doctor for any concerning symptoms. Further balance testing and care can be provided by an audiologist who specializes in balance disorders. Some balance tests require specialized equipment, and based on the results, the audiologist can make recommendations for treatment.
Treatment Approaches for Balance Disorders and Dizziness
Sometimes, balance problems require medical management, such as surgery or medication. You may also benefit from balance treatment called vestibular rehabilitation. Audiologists and other rehabilitation professionals can help improve your balance and reduce dizziness and bothersome symptoms.
Balance Rehabilitation Services at Maze Hearing & Balance
At Maze Hearing & Balance, we offer Balance Treatment as part of our comprehensive audiology services. We are committed to helping our patients regain their confidence and stability, allowing them to live a fulfilling, active lifestyle. Reach out to us today for a consultation and let us help you navigate the maze of balance disorders.