Balance/Fall Risk Assessment
What is Dizziness?
Nearly 20% of adults will experience significant dizziness at some point in their lives. Vertigo and dizziness are the 2nd most common complaint after headache. Dizziness can be described as a sensation of lightheadedness, floating, unsteadiness, giddiness or faintness. In contrast to dizziness, vertigo is described as a sensation of movement of either self or the environment moving around the person in a rotational or spinning manner. Human vestibular system is extremely important in a person’s core functioning, affecting our ability to perform day-to-day tasks. The sense of equilibrium is sustained by a complex interaction of the subsequent parts of the nervous system:
- The inner ear – monitors directions of movement (side to side, up/down, forward/backward)
- Muscle and joint receptors – relay information about which part of the body is moving
- The eyes – monitor the position of the body in space
- Pressure sensors in our feet and spinal cord – tell the brain what body part is on the ground
- The central nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord – help to sort out information relayed from the above four.
Causes of Dizziness
There are many possible origins of dizziness, however some of the most common are:
- Inner ear disease
- Migraine associated Vertigo
- BPPV – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (this is also the most common cause of vertigo)
- Superior semicircular canal dehiscencence syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Meniere’s disease
- Ototoxicity – poisoning by certain medications
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Mal de debarquement
Evaluation of a patient that complains of dizziness can often be challenging. However, with a directed history and an extensive evaluation, the cause of the patient’s symptoms can almost always be identified. The goal of the balance evaluation is to find the underlying cause and site of the problem, as well as to rule out life threatening disease. Audiology Island offers the latest diagnostic tests with the use of the state-of-the-art equipment. Proper diagnosis will determine the effective medical or surgical treatment. Dr. Fulman and Dr. Shapiro use a multi-disciplinary approach to investigation and management and will always make an appropriate referral based on the evaluation results.
At Audiology Island our highly qualified doctors of audiology, know how to diagnose the etiology of dizziness and implement appropriate treatment. Treatment depends upon symptoms, medical history and proper diagnosis. It can include:
- Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)
- Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers
- Dietary Adjustments
- Home exercises
For more information on vestibular causes of dizziness see the excellent and informative website of the Vestibular Disorders Association www.vestibular.org
Audiologists provide balance risk assessment, identify, diagnose, and provide treatment options for patients with vestibular disorders that lead to dizziness and imbalance. Audiologists can provide Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy, however in most cases it is not covered by insurance.
Human vestibular system is very complicated. There are many causes of dizziness. If you feel dizzy contact your doctor or visit an emergency room to rule out any life threatening problems. Once you are cleared, it is important to get the right diagnosis in order to receive appropriate treatment. Audiologists are professionals that specialize in the diagnosis of vestibular problems, therefore it would be advisable to schedule an appointment for a vestibular evaluation.
During the vestibular testing you will be asked multiple questions regarding your health including chronic vestibular migraine, and hearing history. You will have to wear video goggles that will show us the movement of your eyes, based on which we will be able to determine what exactly is causing your dizziness. If you have back pain and dizziness, you would have to notify your doctor, as you would have to be laid down in certain positions that might trigger your dizziness, which is very important in the diagnosis process. Our doctors will make everything possible to make you feel comfortable during the testing.
Ask the Experts
Request Your Appointment
Dizziness is the 2nd most common complaint to medical doctors. 50% of adults complain of dizziness sometime in their life. Dizziness, vertigo and imbalance can have major effects on quality of life. At Audiology Island we use the latest, specialised equipment to conduct balance tests, looking not only at the vestibular system (in the ear) but also responses from the eyes, the muscles and the central nervous system which make up the wider balance system. If you experience imbalance, vertigo or dizziness, please call us and our experienced doctors of audiology will be able to help you with the diagnosis and finding of the right treatment for your vestibular problem.