Dizziness and vertigo are common complaints. 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 they actually have different meanings. Dizziness is a sensation of light-headedness or unsteadiness, while vertigo typically has a true spinning component or sensation of motion 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 each year.
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 referred to as the cochlea.
Several conditions can cause a vestibular disorder, including Meniere's disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), viral inner ear infections, acoustic neuroma (a benign growth on the balance nerve), injury, or age-related decline in vestibular function. As a result of a vestibular problem, 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.)
How Queen City Can Help
Queen City ENT offers a comprehensive evaluation of the vestibular system within the inner ear called Videonystagmography (VNG). The results of the VNG test for vertigo, along with a hearing evaluation and review of your symptoms, are evaluated to reach an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan.
We have helped thousands of people in the community with their dizziness and vertigo symptoms. We want to help you learn about why it is happening and introduce options available to you based on your unique condition and diagnosis.
If you or a family member is experiencing dizziness or vertigo, you can contact us at Queen City Ear Nose and Throat for a VNG Test at (704) 703-1080 or book an appointment online today.