Now in its 23rd year, Balance Awareness Week is an annual awareness campaign to broaden the public’s understanding of balance-related vestibular disorders, such as Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraine, and symptoms ranging from dizziness and imbalance, to vertigo and tinnitus. While many of these conditions are incurable, faster and more accurate diagnosis, along with effective coping strategies, can greatly improve patients’ quality of life.
Balance-related disorders affect more than 69 million Americans — that’s nearly 1 in 5 people who suffer from vestibular dysfunction. Yet despite the widespread occurrence of vestibular disorders, the word “vestibular” is not commonly understood. Few know that “vestibular” refers to the inner ear and brain — the complex, mysterious human system that controls our sense of balance.
The theme of this year’s Balance Awareness Week is “Uncovering the Mystery” of vestibular diagnosis. So many people go for so long trying to figure out what is going on with them that they have to become sleuths to advocate for their own healthcare.
The overarching goal of Balance Awareness Week is to raise awareness of balance-related disorders by making “vestibular” a household word that everyone can easily understand, so that people who lose their balance can be more rapidly diagnosed, effectively treated, and gain the empathetic support they need from friends, family, and co-workers.
By working together, VeDA and our Community of Support can advance the funding, research, and policy-making needed to positively impact the lives of millions of people struggling with the confounding, devastating impacts of vestibular dysfunction.
VeDA will host its first Virtual Vestibular Conference in conjunction with this year’s Balance Awareness Week activities. Taking place Sept. 14-18, 2020, this online conference will bring together vestibular experts and patients from around the world to explore the mystery of the vestibular patient experience.
Every day there will be a presentation by a healthcare provider with a question-and-answer period, followed by a patient panel. Topics include:
Inviting friends, family members, co-workers, and other connections to participate in and financially support fundraising challenges will help raise awareness of balance-related disorders. Additionally, healthcare professionals across a range of balanced-related fields are encouraged to promote Balance Awareness Week at their office, hospital, within their community, and online. Other ways to raise awareness include:
Flamingos are masters of balance - something vestibular patients strive for! Celebrate Balance Awareness Week by decorating your home or office with flamingos! Post your photos on social media using the hashtag #FionaFlamingo and email then to VeDA to be entered into the Fiona Flamingo Photo Contest.
A member of VeDA’s international Community of Support, Laura Cala of Perth, Australia, will serve as the 2020 Balance Awareness Week Ambassador.
Laura lives with vestibular migraine, which developed from chronic migraines that began in her early teens. She is an accountant working within the education industry and co-owns two businesses. Her passion for raising awareness and advocating for those who live with migraine disorders inspired her to create her blog, The Dizzy Diaries. Laura also serves as a board member for Migraine Australia Ltd.