Some physicians at the UC Neuroscience Institute (including specialists in otolaryngology, otology and neurology) focus on the diagnosis and treatment of a number of balance disorders. These disorders can profoundly affect a patient’s ability to move properly and, as a result, they can be distressing, frustrating and potentially dangerous.
Patients coping with a balance disorder generally experience one or more familiar symptoms. Following a complete physical examination and medical history, the patient and his or her physician will discuss specific treatment options.
Diseases of the inner ear can affect hearing and balance. Balance disorders treated by UCNI specialists include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a brief, intense sensation of vertigo that occurs because of a specific positional change of the head. An individual can experience BPPV when rolling over to the left or right, upon getting out of bed in the morning, or when looking up for an object on a high shelf. BPPV is thought to result from the abnormal location of calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear. This abnormality can be caused by an inner ear infection, a head injury or aging.
- Labyrinthitis is an infection or inflammation of the inner ear that can cause hearing loss, dizziness and loss of balance.
- Ménière’s disease is a balance disorder involving inner-ear fluid that causes episodes of vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing or roaring in the ears), and the sensation of fullness in the ear. This complex group of symptoms is thought to result from increased fluid pressure in the inner ear.
- Vestibular neuronitis is a viral infection of the vestibular nerve.
- Perilymph fistula is a leakage of inner-ear fluid to the middle ear. It can occur after a head injury or physical exertion. In rare cases, it can occur without a known cause.