Acadian Hearing: Your Balance Specialists In Lake Charles
Over 90 million Americans experience vertigo, dizziness, and balance problems at some point during their lifetimes, and over 9 million people seek help for these or related issues from an audiology specialist on an annual basis.
Imbalance can be more than just an inconvenience. For many, it poses a significant risk to their health. More than half of the accidental deaths in the elderly population and over 300,000 hip fractures for individuals over the age of 65 each year are the result of balance-related falls.
It is likely that you’ve arrived at this page looking for solutions to your dizziness and balance problems. You’ve come to the right place because Acadian Hearing Services has been Louisiana’s leading balance specialists in Lake Charles for over 30 years, specializing in vertigo, dizziness, and balance treatment.
Using our expertise and state-of-the-art technology to conduct simple, non-invasive tests, our doctors of audiology are able to diagnose your condition and provide personalized solutions to address them.
Common Balance Disorder Symptoms
Dizziness and vertigo sometimes occur after rapid head movements or turning too quickly. These symptoms can be of brief duration or continue for several hours at a time.
Imbalance or Unsteadiness:
Difficulty walking or issues of imbalance or unsteadiness associated with any form of upright movement are included in this category of balance disorder symptoms.
How Is Imbalance Related To Your Ears?
Maintaining your balance requires coordination between three of your body’s systems: cues from your visual system, orientation information from your vestibular system, and your proprioceptive system, which involves sensory input from our muscles and joints.
An imbalance or balance disorder results from any disturbance or malfunction in these systems.
Your ears enter into the balance equation because the vestibular system is located in the inner ear, detecting movement and changes to the positioning of your head. Similar to a carpenter’s level, your inner ear has three semicircular canals that contain fluid, each of which detects up, down, or side-to-side movement.
As the fluid moves, it interacts with hair-like cells, which send signals to the brain regarding the positioning or orientation of your body.
When the vestibular system becomes damaged, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and imbalance may cause a variety of serious problems due to your inner ear balance issues. Damage to the vestibular system is not restricted to the elderly but can affect people of any age due to disease, syndromes, toxins, or trauma.
The Three Most Common Balance Disorder Causes And Their Treatments
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV occurs when calcium carbonate, called otoconia, breaks off and migrates into one of the semicircular canals from the utricle. The misplaced otoconia cause false signals to be sent to the brain as they begin to interrupt the normal movement of fluid inside the semicircular canal, leading to vertigo.
A major feature of vertigo is a sensation of external spinning provoked by a change in your head or body position, which can include rolling over in bed, lying down, getting up, bending over, or looking upward. Though BPPV is more common in adults, it can also affect younger individuals, especially after a head injury.
BPPV is usually treated using a specialized type of physical therapy for balance called Canalith Repositioning, which helps to remove the otoconia from the semicircular canal and return them to the utricle where they belong. Each treatment takes only minutes and is successful in treating 95% of patients with no more than 3-4 treatments.
Motion Sickness Or Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS)
MdDS or an over-sensitivity to motion is a neurological disorder related to your vestibular system that leaves you feeling as if you are rocking, swaying, or continuing to move after riding in a car, boat, plane, or even after exercising on a treadmill. Because your brain becomes confused by this sensation of motion, it overacts to the stimuli, leading to dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance.
VRT, or vestibular rehabilitation therapy, is the most common form of balance therapy used to treat MdDS or motion sickness. VRT involves manual head maneuvers and/or a progressive program of exercises designed to decrease the symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, and visual issues to protect patients against falls related to imbalance.
Migraines, which are usually associated with an intense headache, are classified as a neurological disorder that is strongly hereditary, affecting 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men, according to the American Academy of Neurology. Not all migraines cause a headache, but about 66% of people with a history of migraines are also prone to dizziness, vertigo, nausea, eye pain, changes to vision, and balance disorders.
Among the causes of vestibular migraines are BPPV, Méniére’s disease (an increased pressure in the inner ear), and Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – also called a “mini-stroke.” VRT is a common treatment to help individuals cope with vertigo and balance issues that come with each episode. Moreover, changes to your diet, lifestyle, and activities also help prevent or limit the number or intensity of migraine episodes.
Medications, such as Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers, Tricyclic antidepressants, Serotonin or serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs or SNRIs), Topiramate, and others may also be prescribed. High-flow oxygen therapy (10-15 liters per min) is another non-pharmaceutical option that helps rapidly reduce symptoms in most patients with migraines.
Preparing For Your Assessment
In order to get the best result from your balance assessment, there are certain guidelines we ask our patients to follow before their appointment, including:
● Refrain from drinking alcohol during the immediate 24 hours before your balance assessment.
● Do not wear mascara, eyeliner, or facial lotion when you come to the clinic.
● Arrive 15-minutes before your appointment time, so you can settle in and be at ease before testing begins.
Balance And Vestibular Tests
There are several advanced technology tests used during a balance and vertigo assessment. Though your audiologist might not use all of them, here is a brief description of each one and what they are designed to measure.
ENG and VNG Tests
Electronystagmography (ENG) and videonystagmography (VNG) tests record your eye movements, which play a critical role in vestibular function and balance. ENG uses electrodes to record eye movements, while VNG uses small cameras to record eye movements.
Rotary Chair Test
During this test, you’ll be seated in a motorized chair that swivels from side to side and rotates at a controlled rate. The rotating chair test measures the severity of your dizziness and the amount of dizziness caused by the viewing of moving stripes, as well as nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) during rotation.
Computerized Dynamic Posturography
We use computerized dynamic posturography (CDP) testing to assess how well your inner ears, eyes, and the body’s muscles and joints coordinate to help maintain your balance. Standing on a force-sensing surface with the support of a harness, CDP tests which parts of your body’s balance system you rely on most while being subjected to a movable visual surround.
Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) tests involve attaching sensor pads to your neck, forehead, and under your eyes in order to measure each minute muscle contraction as you react to sounds. VEMP testing is used to identify vestibular lesions, which might contribute to balance issues.
Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT)
What To Expect During Your Balance Assessment
Schedule A Balance Assessment
Not only does dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance severely affect your quality of life, or that of a loved one, but they can also lead to a range of fall-related, critical injuries if left untreated. Getting help for these issues before the problem worsens is critical to your overall health and wellbeing.
The expert assistance available from Acadian Hearing can be yours right away by completing and submitting the adjacent form, which alerts one of our specialists to call you back and help you schedule a balance assessment.
You Might Also Be Interested In
Your body is a unique system that is designed to work together in perfect equilibrium. And though you may use your ears every day, you may not realize how important they are to maintain balance.
Although you may not have heard of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), it is actually extremely common. In fact, by the time you are 70 years old, there is a 50% chance that it will be something you have to deal with.