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Falls are the number one cause of accidental death and the number one reason for hospital admission for people over 65 years old. More than one-third of adults 65 years and older fall each year. Balance is not just an issue for people over 65 years old. It is estimated that over 50% of the entire population will experience dizziness or balance problems during their lifetime. As high as 85% of rear-end motor vehicle accident collision victims will experience chronic vestibular deficits.

Balance is not just an issue for people over 65 years old.  It is estimated that over 50% of the entire population will experience dizziness or balance problems during their lifetime.  As high as 85% of rear-end motor vehicle accident collision victims will experience chronic vestibular deficits.

 Injuries related to falls have reached epidemic proportions. The direct cost related to falls are projected to reach $240 billion a year. Most falls occur because people who have a problem with balance are totally unaware of it.

A balance disorder can cause the feeling of unsteadiness or dizziness. Dizziness is one of the most common complaints in a primary physician’s office. Below is a list of the most common Balance Disorders.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) or Positional Vertigo

A brief, intense episode of vertigo triggered by a specific change in the position of the head. You might feel as if you're spinning when you bend down to look under something, tilt your head to look up or over your shoulder, or roll over in bed. BPPV occurs when loose otoconia tumble into one of the semicircular canals and weigh on the cupula. The cupula doesn't flex properly and sends wrong information about your head’s position, causing vertigo. BPPV can result from a head injury, or can develop just from getting older.

 

Labyrinthitis

An infection or inflammation of the inner ear that causes dizziness and loss of balance. It is often associated with an upper respiratory infection such as the flu.

 

Ménière's Disease

Episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus (TIN-nih-tuss, a ringing or buzzing in the ear), and a feeling of fullness in the ear. It may be associated with a change in fluid volume within parts of the labyrinth, but the cause or causes are still unknown. Read the NIDCD fact sheet Ménière's Disease for more information.

 

Vestibular Neuronitis

An inflammation of the vestibular nerve that can be caused by a virus, and primarily causes vertigo.

Perilymph Fistula

A leakage of inner ear fluid into the middle ear. It causes unsteadiness that usually increases with activity, along with dizziness and nausea. Perilymph fistula can occur after a head injury, dramatic changes in air pressure (such as when scuba diving), physical exertion, ear surgery, or chronic ear infections. Some people are born with perilymph fistula.

 

Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS)

A feeling of continuously rocking or bobbing, typically after an ocean cruise or other sea travel. Usually the symptoms go away a few hours or days after you reach land. Severe cases, however, can last months or even years, and the cause remains unknown.

 

definitions from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/balance-disorders

What is Balance Testing?

 The goal of Balance Testing is to prevent unintentional falls that could lead to life threatening health complications. We will perform diagnostic tests on all aspects of the balance system, identify the cause of a patient's balance disorder and suggest the most effective treatment plan specific to each patient's needs.

 

What are some of the Balance Tests performed?

 

What happens after testing?

After the study is reviewed by an audiologist, a physician that specializes in balance disorders will finalize the report and send it to the ordering physician. Depending on the findings, several corrective options may be recommended to get the patient back to the quality of life they deserve.

 

What are some of the corrective measures that may be recommended?

We put together a comprehensive team of specialists to meet the needs of every aspect of the balance system. Based on the findings of the test, a treatment plan will be recommended that will meet your patient's specific needs.

What can you do in your home to help prevent falls?

Remove throw rugs/Discard clutter that you may trip on

Have grab bars professionally installed in the bathroom

Make sure rooms are well lit

Keep your glasses within reach at night for when you need to get out of bed

Consider night lights in rooms and hallways you may need to use at night

Avoid overreaching by storing everyday items were they can be easily reached

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