Balance involves the cooperation of several systems within your body. The inner ear is intrinsically involved in maintaining your balance. Organs of the inner ear (i.e. vestibular system) are uniquely tuned to spinning motion (angular acceleration) and changes in position relative to gravity (linear acceleration). The inner ear in turns communicate with the eyes (vestibulo-ocular reflex), the brain, and the body (vestibulo-collic reflex and vestibulospinal reflex) to maintain visual focus and balance. In short, symptoms of dizziness arise when there is a disruption in the communication between the inner ears and the different components of the balance system.
Overview of Balance Testing
Audiologists are part of the neurodiagnostic team who are professionally trained to tease out what could be causing that disruption and help you on the path to regaining your balance and recovery. Audiologists achieve this through comprehensive balance testing that includes the following:
- Rotary Chair: Rotary Chair testing is a precise, repeatable, evaluation of the inner ear’s function as it proximate natural day to day head movement
- Videonystagmography (VNG): VNG is a test of the inner’s ear communication with the eyes as the person is sitting still or put into different positions.
- Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP): VEMP is a test of the inner ear’s sensitivity to changes in gravity.
Common Causes of Dizziness
As mentioned previously, balance involves the collaboration of several systems in the body. Therefore, any diseases that weakens communication between these systems can in turn impact balance and cause dizziness.
Age-related and/or neurodegenerative diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
Lesions impacting vision
- Vision impairment
Lesions impacting the inner ear:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Vestibular Migraines
- Vestibular Neuritis
- Meniere’s Disease
- Mal de debarquement Syndrome
- Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)
- Changes in hearing/Hearing loss
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)