It’s the sensation that you or the environment you are in is spinning or moving. It is different from dizziness in that it is an illusion of movement. Vertigo can affect anyone but it becomes more prevalent as we age. The reason is that younger people can compensate for the dizziness by changing their activities or working through the dizziness. As we age, it gets more difficult to make adjustments as our brain loses its plasticity and its ability to compensate for the dizziness.
Vertigo is usually associated with the inner ear or the brain and can be caused by an inner ear infection, a traumatic brain injury or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It can also be a symptom of an underlying problem such as migraine headaches.
The treatment depends on the cause of your vertigo. If you have vertigo due to migraines, a change of diet often helps to alleviate the migraines and the vertigo. Anti-seizure medication, physical therapy, exercise and lifestyle changes can also help depending on where the vertigo is originating from. Make an appointment to see one of our Broward ENT specialists so they can determine the cause of your vertigo.
In cases where benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is diagnosed (link to Evaluations), our audiologists are trained to treat this condition. BPPV occurs when tiny particles call otoconia in one part of your inner ear break loose and fall into the canals of your inner ear. The Canalith Repositioning procedure can move the otoconia to a part of your ear where they won’t cause dizziness. This procedure consists of several simple head maneuvers. The procedure is quite effective, relieving vertigo in 80% or more of individuals after one or two treatments. However, the problem may recur.
Balance and Dizziness
If you are experiencing lightheadedness, a sensation of losing your balance, or a sense of feeling unsteady, you may be one of the millions of Americans who experience dizziness. Dizziness is one of the most common complaints and affects 20% – 30% of the general population. In fact, dizziness is a common reason that adults seek medical attention
When your vestibular system is impaired, you may feel unsteady, woozy, or disoriented. You may have blurred vision or experience a sensation of movement. It may seem that the room is spinning (vertigo). You may not be able to walk without staggering, or you may not even be able to get up. Sometimes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, faintness, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, fear and anxiety accompany the dizziness and balance problems.
Types of Balance Disorders
Conditions of the inner ear that can cause dizziness (unsteadiness) and vertigo (spinning sensation) are:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo– calcium crystals in the inner ear
- Vestibular neuritis/neuronitis– viral infection of the inner ear
- Labrynthitis– an inflammation in the inner ear
- Meniere’s disease– an abnormality in the flow of fluids in the inner ear
- Perilymph fistula– an abnormal opening between the middle ear and the inner ear
- Bilateral vestibular disorders– balance disturbance in both inner ears
Adequate Assessments and the Best Treatment
Our Audiologist performs audiologic and balance assessment in order to gather information on your hearing and balance function. Test results help determine the possible causes of dizziness. Results of these assessments, in combination with medical findings, will provide diagnostic information and what the best treatment for your dizziness and balance difficulties are.
Some patients may be referred to Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) if the results of the VNG indicate that they may benefit from it. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy aims to reduce the effects of vestibular system impairment, and is typically performed by a licensed physical or occupational therapist. VRT is comprised of a series of customized exercises for each patient based on their specific problem.