The body maintains balance with sensory information from three systems – vision, somatosensory/proprioception (muscles and joints), and vestibular (inner ear). Damage or impairment of any of those systems can lead to dizziness and imbalance.
Dizziness is a broad general term that can be used to describe vertigo (spinning sensation), lightheadedness, tilting, floating, or the feeling that you will faint. A person can have dizziness without significant balance issues, or balance issues without significant dizziness. Evaluation of dizziness often involves assessments from multiple specialties because dizziness can be caused by several different systems in the body.
Vestibular Disorders: An Overview
The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. Vestibular disorders may results when these areas are damaged.
35% of adults aged 40 or older in the United States have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. Vestibular causes of dizziness/vertigo can be due to head injuries, aging, sudden or significant changes in pressure, viral or bacterial infections, or high-doses or long-term use of certain medications.
Symptoms of inner ear issues can include unsteadiness, dizziness, blurred or bouncing vision, nausea, hearing changes/tinnitus, lack of coordination, or problems with memory and thinking. Those symptoms can range from mild to severe, lasting from a matter of seconds to being constant.
Testing for a vestibular disorder can include a physical exam, hearing test, CT or MRI scan, functional balance testing, and more. Treatment of dizziness may include vestibular rehabilitation therapy, vision therapy, medications, surgery, or diet/lifestyle changes.
Our dizziness management team includes otolaryngology, audiology, and physical therapy to evaluate symptoms of dizziness and appropriately recommend next steps.
For more information, please visit our website at PeoriaENT.com or call (309) 589-5900.