According to the American Medical Association and the Vestibular Disorders Association, dizziness or balance problems affect greater than 40% of all adults aged sixty-five (65) and older. It also affects many young people. The complaint of dizziness or vertigo is complex. Some people describe it as a swimming feeling in the head, feeling generally off balance or faint, or a true spinning sensation.
The feeling of dizziness can occur suddenly. It can occur in any situation or position, including when laying flat in bed or when driving your car. The source or site of the abnormality, which is the cause of your episodes, depends on your symptoms. In order to help you understand the condition and develop the proper treatment plan, learning about the balance system and what can go wrong is helpful.
Vertigo, or true spinning, is often caused by an inner ear problem. Fainting could be due to blood pressure problems. Dizziness could be related to medication side effects and neurologic problems including spinal cord and/or head injuries. Other health conditions can exacerbate your symptoms.
These may include visual loss, inner ear conditions, large joint arthritis, and previous spinal cord and back surgery. To assist in identifying the underlying condition, various tests based on your medical history and physical examination may be ordered. These include a complete hearing evaluation and a detailed balance test, including video electronystagmography (VENG). Once these tests are performed, additional evaluation including a brain MRI scan and carotid ultrasound testing may be warranted. When the complete diagnosis has been determined a treatment protocol will be discussed.
Certain medications may be prescribed to help reduce dizziness. These include a behind-the-ear patch called Scopolamine. Valium, which acts as a neurologic suppressant and/or Antivert, otherwise known as Meclizine, may help reduce the sensation of dizziness. Other conditions warrant different types of treatment. These include Meniere’s disease, which very often is managed by the use of diet modifications including the elimination of salt and the utilization of diuretics such as Lasix or Dyazide. Other conditions such as benign positional vertigo can be treated with specific vestibular (inner ear) exercises, which are part of a physical therapy treatment regimen. Additionally, at-home exercise instructions may be provided in specific circumstances so you can decrease dizziness through simple lifestyle changes.
Keep in mind medicine is an art and not an exact science. There is no specific pathway that fits every individual’s complaints. Your diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment will be tailored according to your condition and specific needs. Rest assured that we are committed to getting you back on your feet.
Please click on the link below for our Balance Questionnaire. Remember to bring this form completed to give to the audiologist on the day of your testing.
About our Audiologists
Donna L. Taylor, M.A., FAAA
Ms. Taylor completed her training at the University of Iowa and has over twenty years of experience in the hearing industry. Donna possesses extensive knowledge of a variety of hearing solutions and is committed to meeting the needs of her patients. She has served in various capacities from Clinical Audiology to executive-level management with a large hearing care company.
Elizabeth A. Royer, M.A., CCC-A
Elizabeth Royer received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Processes and Disorders and her Master’s Degree in Audiology, from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Ms. Royer has over fifteen (15) years of clinical experience on the Treasure Coast. She has a special interest in the early detection of hearing loss in children and the evaluation and fitting of hearing aids for adults.
All of our offices are equipped with state-of-the-art hearing booths and audiometrics for the evaluation of hearing loss.
Our highly trained certified audiologists also perform hearing aid evaluations and fittings, using only the latest state-of-the-art hearing instruments that are best suited for the patient’s hearing loss and lifestyle. We are affiliated with several hearing aid manufacturers, allowing access to a better selection of technologies. Our team of audiologists routinely continues their clinical education on the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders and the latest technologies available in state-of-the-art hearing aid devices. The hearing aids of today allow for a more accurate and comfortable fit to ensure that the patient can communicate with confidence.