The Basics of Balance Disorder

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Are there times where you seem to lose your balance for no reason? Does it get worse when your sinus’ are acting up or when you have a cold? It’s natural to get dizzy and lose your balance once in a while because of how your blood moves throughout your body, it’s not supposed to happen frequently. If they do, chances are you have some form of balance disorder that might need treatment depending on the severity or frequency of your dizzy-spells. Balanced disorders are usually linked to the health of your ear, nose, and throat which is why it could get worse when your sinuses are affected. Here’s what you need to know:

What are the most common balance disorders?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: This is more commonly known as BPPV. It’s associated with vertigo which is the feeling of the room moving or spinning when you move your head to certain positions. It’s from small calcium crystals forming the inner ear. These crystals end up pressing against the nerves that help balance and understand how you’re positioned.

woman holding her head

Labyrinthitis: Inside your ear, there’s a delicate structure known at the labyrinth. Labyrinthitis is inflammation of the labyrinth from an ear infection. This can affect your balance and your hearing.

Neuronitis (Vestibular Neuritis): This condition is an infection of the vestibular nerve that’s in the inner ear. When this nerve becomes inflamed, your sense of balance can be thrown off.

Meniere’s Disease: This is also known as Meniere’s Syndrome. This is a chronic condition and is rarer than others on this list. It’s from a change in the fluids in the tubes of your inner ear. Usually, it only affects one ear causing vertigo, tinnitus, and even hearing loss. At the moment, there’s no known cure, but the symptoms can be treated and managed.

What are the symptoms of a balance disorder?

Vertigo is the main symptom that you’ll find with all of these disorders, but it’s not the only one. Vertigo can be associated with numerous things related to the body. What you need to look out for is additional symptoms such as:

man holding his head due to migraine

● Feeling as if you’re going to fall or are falling even if you’re stationary
● Disorientation or confusion
● Staggering when you try to walk, or randomly losing your balance
● Blurred vision
● Lightheadedness or feeling faint
● Experiencing a “floating” sensation
● Nausea or vomiting
● Diarrhea

Why should you see an ENT doctor?

There are several tests and examinations that our doctors can perform to help narrow down what’s causing your balance disorder. They range from hearing tests and posturography tests, which pinpoint where your balance system is affected the most. We can also order MRI’s and CT scans to get a visual of what’s going on inside. Once we’ve pinpointed the issue, there are four ways we can take the treatment. They are

Medications: If you have some sort of infection in your ear, it’s crucial that it’s taken care of quickly to prevent it from spreading. They can also help combat the effects of vertigo and even nausea associated with it.

Positioning Procedures: This is most commonly seen with BPPV. Our doctors will carefully maneuver your head in positions to help dislodge any of the calcium crystals in your inner ear.

Balance Retaining Exercises: A more common term is vestibular rehabilitation. This program teaches you how to retain and adapt to changes in your balance. In some cases, a cane is used to act as an aid.

Lifestyle Changes: With chronic conditions, like Meniere’s Disease, you can help decrease the fluid in your ear which will ease the symptoms. This is often done by a change in diet and exercise.

If you suspect you have one of these balance disorders don’t hesitate to give our office a call!

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