Three Things You Should Know About Dizziness and Imbalance

by | Dec 29, 2020 | Balance/Dizziness

1. Dizziness, feelings of imbalance, and vertigo can often be associated with issues occurring deep in your body’s inner ear

Dizziness, which is often associated with feelings of lightheadedness, can generally be attributed to problems in the inner ear; adverse effects of certain medications; hyperventilation associated with rapid breathing caused by anxiety disorders; and certain psychiatric disorders, including depression. 

At Colorado Ear Care, one of our specialities is treating patients who are having balance and dizziness issues associated with inner ear disorders. The inner ear is a crucial part of our body’s overall sense of balance, as it contains what is called the vestibular system.

The vestibular system sends our brains information about spatial relationships and motion, while also helping us process information related to large motor movements, balance, and the stabilization of our body during movement. 

Sometimes, small crystals which are located in the otolith organs deep in your body’s vestibular labyrinth can come loose and fall into another part of your body’s inner ear, called the semicircular canals. These crystals help your brain process gravity. When they fall into these very sensitive semicircular canals, your body becomes confused and it can cause mild to severe sensations of dizziness that can last from a few seconds to a minute in length. 

While these feelings of dizziness associated with inner ear issues aren’t generally considered to be a major health concern, they are most definitely disruptive and can lead to feelings of nausea, vomiting, and can greatly increase your risk of falling.

2. Falls are one of the greatest threats to the health of older adults

Millions of Americans suffer falls every year. In fact, one quarter of Americans who are 65 or older will experience an episode of falling annually. There are a number of reasons falls can occur, including hazards in the home such as clutter, unsecure rugs or carpeting, or general disrepair; vision issues; the effects of prescription medication; and dizziness and balance issues. 

Experts believe that many people who suffer falls do so because they are susceptible to more than one of the above risks, and that when someone falls once, they are very likely to fall again. 

More facts about falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one-fifth of all falls reported result in head injuries and/or broken bones, with over 800,000 people undergoing hospitalization and some 3,000,000 having to go to the emergency room for treatment. 

The most common injuries include fractures to the hip, wrists, arms, and ankles. It is reported that 95% of all hip fractures are related to a fall. Studies also show that the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries are associated with falling. Seniors who are taking medications like blood thinners should be extremely careful if they have suffered a fall by seeking medical attention right away. Many times this combination of medication and falling can result in a serious brain injury. 

Quite understandably, experiencing a fall that results in a broken bone or head injury can cause a person to become fearful of certain activities. Unfortunately, limiting one’s activity can have a negative impact on the body, leading to a loss of muscle tone and weakness, and causing an increased risk of falling. 

Luckily, for many symptoms associated with the dizziness that can lead to a fall, there are tests and treatment options available to you. 

3. There are a variety of testing and treatment options available to you if you’re experiencing dizziness or imbalance issues

Colorado Ear Care wanted to create a practice that went beyond the average hearing care clinic. We believe that by extending our services to include testing and treatment for balance and dizziness issues, that we can better help the folks in our community experience better overall ear health. 

Bottom line, if you’re having feelings of dizziness, you should contact our team of experts. With the proper testing, we may discover you’re experiencing an equilibrium or balance disorder, Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), or symptoms associated with concussions. 

In most of these instances, there are treatments that can be prescribed that will help get your life back in order. For many inner ear issues, we recommend canalith repositioning or vestibular retraining therapy.

Canalith repositioning is a common treatment for BPPV. We can do it in our offices and the treatment portion of the appointment usually takes no more than 15 minutes to undertake. This technique is used to help move the otoconia (the crystals in your inner) back to your inner ear’s otolith. Patients will lie down on their backs on a comfortable examination table while one of our balance and dizziness experts carefully and gently maneuvers their head at specific angles to move the otoconia out of the problem area and back into proper position. 

We do warn folks not to attempt these maneuvers on their own, as an incorrect movement could cause the crystals to move to an incorrect area of the inner ear that could cause even more extreme feelings of dizziness. 

Vestibular retraining therapy (VRT) is yet another technique for helping people deal with their dizziness issues. It’s an “exercise”-based form of therapy designed to promote vestibular adaptation by emphasizing the relationships between vision, positional awareness, and the vestibular system. 

Though Colorado Ear Care does not offer VRT, we do have relationships with experts who can provide this therapy and would be happy to help you get the help you need from the experts who can best provide it. 

Dizziness? Imbalance? You DON’T have to live with it!
Colorado Ear Care has devoted itself to providing our community with the best testing, diagnostics, and treatment recommendations available.
If you’re concerned about a dizziness issue that you or a loved one are experiencing, don’t delay!
Call Contact Colorado Ear Care today!

Talk with one of our friendly hearing and balance professionals today.