At least 50% of the U.S. population will develop a balance issue at some point in their lives. Balance disorders are common in the aging population, between 50 and 75, and are usually related to disruptions in the inner ear.
Patients suffering from vestibular related disorders frequently experience vertigo, dizziness, nausea, migraines, gait issues issues (walking) and imbalance. In addition, many patients complain of fatigue, mood changes, and cognitive impairment. There are numerous potential causes for dizziness, making it difficult to diagnose. But the most common cause stems from disruptions in the inner ear. More than 69 million Americans have experienced some form of vestibular problems in their lifetime, and that number is on the rise.
The most common vestibular complication is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.
• Benign – Not life-threatening
• Paroxysmal – Brief spells that come and go
• Positional – Triggered by certain head positions or movements
• Vertigo – A false sense of rotational movement
In BPPV, tiny calcium crystals called otoconia break loose from a membrane and float around in one of the three semi-circular canals. As head orientation moves into a provoking position for the implicated canal, the otoconia moves through the fluid to the most gravity dependent position. Thus, sensory cells are stimulated and send an “error message” causing the sensation of vertigo. Patients with BPPV often report that their vertigo lasts 10-20 seconds, typically occurring when they lie down, roll over in bed, or rise quickly from bed. BPPV can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and constant dizziness or unsteadiness while ambulating. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can be effectively treated via one of several manual therapies that move the crystals through the system and back into the proper organ. These maneuvers have a high success rate for alleviating vertigo and the sensation of dizziness.
At Professional Speech and Hearing Specialists, we have seen how hearing loss and balance issues can severely impact one’s quality of life. We evaluate for BPPV and provide treatment maneuvers that enable patients to return to their desired lifestyle. It is dangerous to leave vestibular disorders untreated. Though not as common, some causes of dizziness and/or vertigo can be serious or life-threatening. If you have balance issues, your likelihood of suffering a fall with possible complications is much higher. With proper identification of the problem, you can get back to enjoying all that life has to offer.
To find out more, please contact Professional Speech and Hearing Specialists at (352) 351-3977.
Emily Gaines, Audiologist and Vestibular and Balance Specialist
Dr. Emily Gaines diagnoses her patient with BPPV based on their medical history, physical examination, and through vestibular and auditory testing. Emily Gaines attended the University of Florida, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and then a Doctorate in Audiology. Dr. Gaines is Board Certified in Audiology and is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders, as well as hearing aid fittings and tinnitus management.
At Professional Speech & Hearing Specialists, we know how important your balance and your hearing is to your life and relationships. That’s why our audiologists are much more than just experts on the latest hearing technology. We take the time to get to know you and your specific listening challenges so that they can create a better-hearing plan customized to your needs.
• Credentialed experienced audiologists who stay up-to-date with the latest in hearing care research
• Recommendations that put our patients’ interests first
• Access to the latest hearing technology – not “new” technology that was only new three years ago
• A comprehensive, collaborative approach to helping you hear better
• Free follow-up adjustments and hearing retraining programs that are included as an integral part of your investment in better hearing
Professional Speech & Hearing Specialists offer the expertise, professional service, and continuing support that it takes to truly experience success with better hearing and to relieve your balance issues.
To find out more, please contact Professional Speech & Hearing at (352) 351-3977.