Evaluating Balance Function￼
Do you feel like your balance isn’t what it used to be? Maintaining balance is an incredibly complex skill that draws upon numerous bodily systems at once. A little bit of imbalance at times is completely normal, such as when you stand up too quickly or if you bend over. The imbalance may also be due to certain medications or brought on by troubles with your feet or knees, such as diabetes or recent knee replacements. Your primary care physician is the person with whom you should discuss your imbalance as a first step. If your doctor feels your dizziness is something that an otolaryngologist can help you with, he/she can make a referral for you to see one of our physicians.
Evaluating the dizzy patient requires a comprehensive visit, which includes obtaining a thorough history, performing a physical exam, and completing a hearing test. Physicians use this information to establish whether the patient’s dizziness arises from an inner-ear source or a disorder of a different part of the balance system, such as the brain, eyes, spine, or the extremities. If a patient is having dizziness, and it appears to be ear-related, then videonystagmography testing may be ordered to help evaluate the vestibular system function.
The vestibular system provides sensory information about equilibrium, motion, and spatial orientation. The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and includes the utricle, saccule, and three semicircular canals.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common types of inner-ear related dizziness. BPPV occurs as a result of displaced otoliths or otoconia, which are small crystals of calcium carbonate (also referred to as “canaliths”). The otoliths move in response to head movement and provoke brief episodes of spinning vertigo.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) Treatment
The Canalith Repositioning Procedure, also known as the “Epley maneuver”, moves the otoliths to a more appropriate area within your inner ear and stops the dizzy spells. This treatment is painless, fast, and effective, but must be performed EXACTLY right, or it may make the symptoms even worse. The audiologists at Otolaryngology Specialists of North Texas have a wealth of experience in treating BPPV with canalith repositioning.
Your otolaryngologist May recommend videonystagmography testing which provides an objective measure of the vestibular system by evaluating eye movements during different conditions. An audiologist will administer the test with the patient wearing special goggles. The test takes approximately 1-½ hours and consists of three parts. The first part requires you to follow a series of lights with your eyes. The second part includes changes in your body position. In the third part, warm or cool water will be placed in your ear canals to stimulate the inner ear. The results are analyzed and compared to normative data so conclusions may be drawn about the patient’s vestibular status.
Audiologists and otolaryngologists, Dr. Rohn, Dr. Gamble, and Dr. Kubala of Otolaryngology Specialists of North Texas are highly experienced and uniquely qualified to identify a wide variety of pathology and underlying medical conditions of the hearing and balance systems. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our office, please call our Plano office at 972-378-0633 or Dallas office at 214-239-1641.