Over 10 million Americans experience chronic issues resulting from balance disorders or dizziness. Once you reach the age of 65, there’s a four in five chance you’ll experience dizziness at some point. Virtually all problems with balance and dizziness involve your ears, since the organs that establish your orientation are located within the inner ear.
The first step in resolving balance issues evaluates the condition of your ears. When you begin to experience more than occasional dizziness or balance disruptions, make an appointment with Hearing & Balance Services of Reston. Our team specialize in ear tests and screening for balance disorders.
Balance and your ears
The vestibular system involves your brain, eyes, and ears for spatial processing, as well as your musculoskeletal system to orient your body based on that processing. The primary organs in your body for sensing position are located within the inner ear, so the function of your ears is the first place that medical professionals look to determine the cause behind your balance disorder.
In particular, there are three semicircular canals that detect the motion of fluid within them to establish the direction of your head’s movement, and two otolith organs that sense movements like acceleration or vertical changes. The otoliths are responsible for your ability to detect when an elevator is going up or down, for example.
Because of the importance of the ears within the vestibular system, and because hearing issues are often associated with balance problems, audiologists are typically the first line of diagnosis.
Common tests for balance disorders
Along with conventional tests for hearing and ear function, audiologists who also specialize in balance disorders may have additional tests and equipment that go beyond typical hearing evaluation. Additional tests you may encounter as part of a balance disorder diagnosis can include some of the following.
A manual test involving head movements and eye responses, this maneuver can reveal irregularities in your ability to sense movement.
As you stand on a moving platform, the way your body responds can show the parts of your balance system upon which you rely.
Specialized eye tests
As with the Dix-Hallpike maneuver, cameras or electrodes can measure fine eye reflex movements that reveal clues about your sense of balance.
If testing with your audiologist reveals no irregularities with the vestibular system, you may require additional medical testing, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography imaging (CT scan), or blood pressure and heart rate testing. Your balance disorder and dizziness may stem from reasons unrelated to ear function.
Contact Hearing & Balance Services of Reston to schedule your balance evaluation today. It’s the best place to start when balance disorders affect you.