At Lakeland Hearing we unfortunately do not offer a specific dizzy clinic for people struggling balance disorders. This doesn’t mean we are not interested though. We are always on the look out for ways to help our clients who experience dizziness.
Dizziness occurs when there is a mismatch in the signals reaching the brain from the eyes, the balance organs in the ears and the muscles of the body. Signals from these three areas combine in the brain to create a feeling of steadiness and placement in the environment. If the signal from one of these three systems is not quite right, it can cause an unsteadiness as the brain tries to combine two accurate and one inaccurate signal.
If you are experiencing unsteadiness, please consider your eye sight. Make sure you have the correct prescription glasses and that your eye sight has not altered. Also consider your feet, legs and hips. Do you have diabetes related foot problems, are you waiting for a hip replacement? Could the signals from your musculoskeletal system be iffy? Or could the issue lie within your balance organ in your ears?
The most common cause of vertigo is BPPV (Benign positional paroxysmal vertigo) It happens when the crystals (otoconia) from the balance organs of the inner ear move into the wrong place. Vertigo lasts for a few seconds and occurs when you move your head in a certain way. This can be when rolling over in bed, when bending down or looking up. There is no hearing loss associated with this condition and can resolve on its own although often recovery is quicker with treatment.
Inflammation and infection can cause the semi circular canals (balance organ) to swell, leading to vertigo. This can be as a result of a viral infection and when associated with hearing loss is called Labyrinthitis. Vertigo can last hours or days. This may require vestibular rehabilitation for a complete recovery.
Meniere’s disease is uncommon, however it is identified by four main factors including vertigo. Vertigo attacks, fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus or ringing in the ear and a feeling of fullness in the ear are all key symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
Vestibular compensation allows the brain to cope with differing signals from the inner ears by relying more on alternative signals from the eyes, ankles legs and feet. Strengthening these other systems allows you to compensate for faults in the balance organ and recover from the vertigo. If BPPV is diagnosed there are a series of manoeuvres that can be performed to reposition the crystals and improve symptoms.
If you are looking for exercises to rehabilitate the balance system, there is an online resource that is available from the University of Southampton. It takes you through a course of vestibular rehabilitation that you can do at home. These exercises can be found by following this link to Balance Retraining.
Please always seek an assessment by a trained professional when investigating the cause of your dizziness.