Everything You Need to Know About Balance Disorders

Everyone feels dizzy from time to time. Whether you have stood up too quickly or you are feeling under the weather, dizziness is a natural response our body produces.

Everything You Need to Know About Balance Disorders

While dizziness is a common sensation — just like anything — there’s a fine line between a regular bout of dizziness and one that’s a cause for concern.

Understanding the difference between the two is essential in helping you to find a solution, both short term and long term.

What Causes Balance Disorders?

With your ears playing a key role in maintaining balance, hearing loss puts you at a higher risk of looseness on your feet.

Simply said, canals in your inner ear contain fluid and hair-like sensors that help to maintain your balance. If these are damaged, they can present uncomfortable sensations.

With that said, many factors may cause balance disorders, including:

  • Viral infections

  • Stress

  • Head traumas

  • Medications

  • Head movements

  • Radical movements

Sometimes, your inner ear canals become loose, which causes “crystals” to float around. To combat this, we conduct a procedure called the Epley maneuver, which is a quick simple head maneuver that can be conducted in our office.

For some people, the Epley maneuver provides immediate relief. Whereas, for others, it can sometimes take weeks – it all depends.

How Does A Doctor Check For Balance Disorders?

At American Hearing & Balance Center, we perform a test called a videonystagmography (VNG), which involves monitoring your eyes on a screen.

It’s a 45-minute test that includes following different lights or objects and your reaction to the stimulus. Then, we will put your head in different movements and follow your eyes on a computer screen.

Finally, we will conduct air calorics, which involves stimulating your inner ear canals with air four times for 60 seconds.

Usually, your eyes will have nystagmus, which is where they will twitch back and forth. Based on this, we will measure the symmetry between your eyes and analyze whether these waves are at the same height.

What Should Someone Do If They’re Concerned About A Balance Disorder?

If you or a loved one has recently been experiencing dizziness for a long period, then it’s likely that you’re suffering from a balance disorder.

But don’t panic; the best thing you can do is visit a doctor of audiology.

From there, they perform a hearing test to make sure your hearing is symmetrical and then either a videonystagmography (VNG) or an electronystagmography (ENG).

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. If you have any questions about anything in this article, then give us a call and we will be happy to tell you the next steps.



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If you are experiencing unexplained bouts of dizziness or a lack of balance, ears may be to blame. Your ears not only give you the ability to hear, but they also play a pivotal role in balance. Diagnosing a balance-related disorder is no easy task. It requires the expertise of a licensed audiologist. Our staff has several diagnostic tests that can help get to the bottom of your balance disorder.


General balance tests involve a physical exam. Our staff will guide you through a series of positions that will check for a balance disorder. If a disorder presents during general tests, more specific diagnostics will usually be recommended.

Hearing loss or damage is usually linked to a balance disorder. In order to check for this causal factor, our team will perform one or more hearing tests. These tests are non-invasive and can provide our staff with immediate feedback on your condition.

An ENG records the movement of your eyes. These movements play a role in balance and vestibular function. Irregularities with involuntary eye movements can lead to a balance disorder.

ENG records these movements with tiny electrodes. The electrodes are positioned just beneath, beside, and above your eyes. This test can take up to 90 minutes, depending on the specifics of your condition.

The VEMP (vestibular evoked myogenic potentials) test will measure how specific muscles react to sound. During the test, you will sit in a reclined chair and put on earphones. Our staff members will place a sensor pad on your forehead, under your eyes, and on your neck. These pads will record muscular movements when sounds are played through the headphones. Periodically, you will be asked to lift your eyes or head for brief moments.


Our staff will use one or more of the above tests to determine the source of your balance disorder. The appropriate treatment will depend largely on the results of these diagnostic tests. Your treatment may include:

Minor balance disorders can sometimes be treated with therapist-guided exercise. This therapy teaches you to compensate for imbalances and maintain an active lifestyle.

A serious cause of balance disorder is known as Meniere’s disease. Chronic migraines can also cause balance disorders. Dietary and lifestyle changes can sometimes ease symptoms.

Some prescription medications can curb the symptoms of vertigo. These medications do not cure the ailment, but they can control your dizziness and vomiting.

Surgical intervention may be recommended for Meniere’s disease. If you are diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, surgery may also be necessary.

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