Dizziness and vertigo are common complaints reported to our physicians. As many as 35% of adults 40 years or older (about 69 million) in the United States have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. The terms dizziness and vertigo are often used interchangeably by mistake but actually have different meanings. Dizziness is a sensation of light-headedness or unsteadiness while vertigo has a true, spinning component that is perceived as either self movement or movement of the room/environment around you.
Walking across a sandy beach, stepping out of a boat onto a pier without stumbling, or transitioning to walking down stairs are things that are often taken for granted. Our bodies maintain balance by using sensory information from three systems: proprioception (touch), vision, and vestibular (the inner ear balance system). When our balance is impaired, it can affect our ability to perform even the smallest day to day activities and increase the risk of falls. Each year, over one in four adults who are 65 years or older will fall. Falls are the number one cause of injury among older adults resulting in 3 million visits to the emergency room.
Symptoms of a Vestibular Disorder
The vestibular system is a complex sensory system that detects motion, spatial orientation, and head position. This allows us to keep our balance, maintain posture, and stabilize our body and head during movement. The vestibular system is found within the inner ear in a system called the vestibular labyrinth which is connected to the hearing organ, the cochlea. When disease or disorder, injury, or aging damages the vestibular system, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Vertigo and/or dizziness
- Imbalance or unsteadiness
- Spatial disorientation (difficulties walking straight or turning)
- Changes in hearing
- Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, roaring, etc. in the ears)
- Cognitive changes (forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, mental fatigue, etc.)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Ear pain or fullness
- Vision disturbances (trouble focusing, sensitivity to light, etc.)
Queen City ENT offers a comprehensive evaluation of the vestibular system within the inner ear called Videonystagmography (VNG). The results of the testing along with a hearing evaluation and review of your personal symptoms are evaluated to reach an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan.
We have helped 1000’s of people in the community with their dizziness and vertigo symptoms. We would like the opportunity to help you learn about why it is happening, and options available to you. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to meet with our doctors and let them help diagnose your specific issues with these difficult episodes.