The inner ear's vestibular organs and the associated nerves and brain centers form a complex system that serve many functions and can be affected by a number of outside systems, such as vision and proprioception (i.e. your muscles and joints). A thorough evaluation of your vestibular function may involve:
Many people with dizziness, imbalance, or vertigo have trouble obtaining a diagnosis. Many different types of disorders can cause dizziness. The signs of vestibular disorders are often hard to recognize. Patients have a difficult time describing their symptoms. Vestibular disorders may stem from the inner ear or the brain, and can therefore require multiple specialists to evaluate. Becoming educated about vestibular disorders can help you become a better advocate for your own healthcare.
Getting an accurate diagnosis is often dependent on being prepared for your doctor visit. VeDA offers tools to help you gather the information your will need to make the most of your limited time with your doctor, including questions that will help you understand your condition and what you can do about it.
Keeping track of your symptoms, activities, triggers, and medications can help you and your doctor identify the cause of your problem, which may lead to a diagnosis.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for vestibular dysfunction. Treatments vary depending on diagnosis, as well as individual factors. Treatments may be aimed at correcting the problem, minimizing symptoms, and/or promoting overall wellness. Some treatments include:
“Vestibular disorder” is an umbrella term used to encompass many different conditions that affect the inner ear and those parts of the central nervous system involved in maintaining balance. There are more than twenty-five known vestibular disorders. Each is unique, but many share common diagnostic traits, which can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to easily differentiate them.
The most commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, Ménière’s disease, and secondary endolymphatic hydrops. Vestibular disorders also include superior semicircular canal dehiscence, acoustic neuroma, perilymph fistula, ototoxicity, enlarged vestibular aqueduct, migraine-associated vertigo, and Mal de Sébarquement. Other problems related to vestibular dysfunction include complications from aging, autoimmune disorders, and allergies.
Our vision tells us where we are in space and plays an important role in helping us maintain our balance. When our eyes are not functioning correctly and/or are not working together, vestibular symptoms can arise.
Some vestibular disorders may result in hearing problems, such as hearing loss, tinnitus (the perception of a constant ringing or other sound) and hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound).
Managing vision and hearing problems appropriately is part of an effective vestibular treatment plan.
If you are just starting your vestibular journey, this toolkit will guide you step-by-step to diagnosis, treatment and recovery.